Marketing collateral has long been an important part of getting prospective customers to know, understand, and trust your brand enough to buy from you.
However, traditional collateral formats (mostly print materials) don’t necessarily support your digital success. With 79% of the American population now shopping online, digital sales and marketing collateral are more important than ever (and likely more important than traditional formats).
While we certainly appreciate that sales and marketing are very different entities, at Uhuru we’ve implemented a holistic approach to our own agency’s sales and marketing programs.
Our sales team and marketing team work hand in hand to deliver value to our audience, earn trust from our prospective clients, and convert those that represent a good fit for a partnership into mutually beneficial client engagements.
The goal of this article is to help you achieve the same streamlined results from your sales and marketing efforts. As such, we’ll be referring to sales collateral and marketing collateral interchangeably.
Read on and we’ll outline:
- 4 types of effective digital sales and marketing collateral
- How they can be used to deliver better results from both your sales and marketing teams
- How to tie everything together to create a highly effective inbound sales and marketing funnel
What Is Sales and Marketing Collateral?
Before we get into the meat of this article, let’s take a moment to get clear on what we mean when we say, “sales collateral” or “marketing collateral.”
In the traditional use of the word, marketing collateral is the physical assets that support the sales or marketing cycle. Today, the most effective assets are digital resources that help streamline the efforts of the marketing team in warming the attention of their target audience and converting that audience into leads, as well as the sales team’s efforts to convert leads into paying customers.
This guide breaks down some of the most effective resources at your disposal and how to use them to support he customer journey.
4 Types of Sales and Marketing Collateral for the Digital Age
To help you identify the most effective way to support your unique sales and marketing teams, we’ve provided you with a concise list of four proven forms of sales collateral.
1. Blog Posts
If you’re not already proficient in content marketing you may be scratching your head with this one, but hear us out. Blog posts actually represent a very effective form of marketing collateral.
While blog posts are excellent for driving the traffic that fuels inbound lead generation, they can be used to support sales and marketing efforts throughout the buying cycle. While many brands focus on the SEO benefits derived from blogging, just as many miss the opportunities to use them to optimize other initiatives.
Blog posts can (and should) be created about any and all topics that provide value to your prospective customer. Have your marketing team regularly poll the sales team to identify questions that keep coming up in sales conversations. This will help marketing create assets that allow sales to qualify prospects and close deals more effectively.
Consider the benefits of a salesperson answering a question or addressing a pushback on the fly. By sending a prospect a blog post that clearly articulates the information they need, it gives the salesperson the ability to keep the conversation positive and helpful with far less opportunity for the prospect to get “cold feet.”
Even if the salesperson is exceptionally well versed and prepared for every question, blog posts can often help prospects understand the answers to their questions or concerns more thoroughly, especially given that many of them contain visual aids, statistics, and other compelling information to support their point.
Furthermore, the ability to send them a pre-written article to address pushbacks and concerns frees up countless hours of email and phone communication time that could be used far more efficiently.
2. Downloadable Guides
Downloadable guides represent a similar form of marketing collateral to blog posts. That said, they’re typically more comprehensive than blog posts and can be used in ways that blog posts cannot.
For example, at Uhuru we have our Step-by-Step Guide to Building an Inbound Sales Funnel That Converts. This guide loosely outlines the processes involved in our inbound marketing program that we offer to clients. In terms of supporting marketing, this allows us to showcase the complete marketing funnels that we support our clients in creating.
These guides allow marketing to convert new leads as well. By advertising them directly with PPC campaigns or driving existing website traffic to them from optimized blog posts, visitors are prompted to exchange their contact information in order to continue learning about how to optimize their inbound marketing.
Sales certainly appreciates the new leads, but these guides also benefit the sales team in that they can be used to demonstrate the concepts of our program to a prospect that doesn’t yet understand the intricacies involved in creating these marketing funnels.
Furthermore, if our sales team determines that their prospect is more sophisticated and ready to understand our process even further, they could then send them our guide on How to Build a Full Inbound Funnel, which demonstrates the level of sophistication we’re able to provide to clients that are ready establish a more comprehensive inbound marketing program.
The point is that these guides allow both marketing and sales to operate at a higher level and achieve more with their existing resources.
Marketing can drive more traffic to the website by advertising these guides directly and convert their website traffic into leads that can be passed off to sales. Sales gets better-qualified, better-educated leads that are more likely to close, and a way to provide considerable value throughout the sales process.
These are just a few examples of the way downloadable guides can be used as marketing collateral to support both sales and marketing.
3. Case Studies
Case studies are another powerful form of marketing collateral. They help to demonstrate exactly what you’ve done to help other clients or customers achieve their goals.
For example, as we are ecommerce marketing experts, we create a lot of blog content around the topic of ecommerce marketing. It’s great for getting ecommerce marketers to the site and providing value early on in their buying cycle.
However, after an ecommerce brand consumes our blog content and download offers like our Ultimate Guide to Developing an Effective Ecommerce Marketing Strategy, they may be ready for more.
Specifically, they may be interested in understanding how Uhuru can help them grow their online store, but not be ready to talk directly to sales. More specifically, they may be interested in seeing what Uhuru has been able to achieve for similar ecommerce brands.
That’s when case studies become highly effective marketing collateral.
In this case, we would provide our case study about how we helped Italian fashion brand Mazuum nearly double their sales and 12X their ROI, and then the prospective brand can make a more informed decision about the appropriate next step.
The case study could confirm that they’re ready to move forward with Uhuru and prompt them to schedule a strategy session with one of our strategists. On the other hand, it may help them understand that Uhuru is not a good fit for their brand and that they should continue to look for support elsewhere.
It may even allow them to identify that their brand couldn’t support the results a Business Advantage Attack engagement could produce and that they’d be interested in a follow-up once they have the appropriate infrastructure and systems in place to meet such growth.
In a situation where sales has reached out to a prospect via an outbound approach, they could still use case studies to support them through their buying cycle. Continuing to use Uhuru as an example, prospects often question the experience we have working with a company like theirs or within a particular vertical.
Rather than simply telling the prospect about our experience and the results we’ve delivered, having case studies prepared allows our sales team to hand off an easy-to-consume overview of what they could expect from an engagement with our team.
With the appropriate sales collateral ready to be sent over at a moment’s notice, our sales team is able to stay in front of the prospect’s concerns and keep the sales conversation moving forward.
4. Product Guides and Informational Materials
The final marketing collateral format that we’ll be covering in this article is more of a category than a clearly defined type of material. It’s the product guide, or the types of informational materials that take your service or product and expand on them in ways that you typically would not do on an optimized website.
These product guides outline the intricacies of your product or service in a detailed, but easily digestible format.
We have then created highly detailed documents that explain exactly what each program consists of. Whereas on the website having excessive copy can hurt the user experience, these documents allow our prospective clients to consume all of the nitty-gritty details about what we do and how we do it—when they’re ready for it.
If though, you sell a physical product rather than a service like ours, your product guide would instead describe that product in detail. This would be the place for you to expand on all of the details a potential customer would ever want to know. Showcase the individual features and expand on the unique benefits of each, but remember that someone still has to read through this document. It can be comprehensive, but work to avoid overwhelm or boredom from your reader.
These product guides can then be used as sales collateral to help educate prospective clients. Rather than the salesperson needing to educate every single prospect so thoroughly, they can instead send them the document and then be prepared to support the information by answering questions and offering further insight where needed.
marketing and sales are often challenging, time-consuming aspects of business growth. Fortunately, marketing collateral (and sales collateral) like the items above can help streamline both, allowing for more predictable and scalable growth.
Marketing collateral is just one facet of a successful marketing program—as sales collateral is only one piece of the sales puzzle—but they can be powerful tools that have a dramatic impact on your bottom line.
Be sure to explore the resources mentioned in this guide as inspiration for creating your own collateral, and explore our blog to see how we create content that supports all cycles of the buyer’s journey (marketing) and every step of the sales cycle.