How to Create Sales Materials the Team Will Actually Use
When we talk about building sales materials for the sales team, whether it be presentations or collateral, we’re usually pulling out key benefits for the decision maker. We try to think of all the things that the decision maker is going to care about. But according to IBG, there are now 26 people involved in technology buying decisions. Each one of those people have a different filter on why that piece of technology is going to be important in their company, and if you don’t speak uniquely to each one of those people, you’re going to lose somebody. I’m going to give you a three step process of how to build the sales tools so that you only have to build them one time.
Let me tell you about the first step, it’s called Process Mapping. In this step, you’re going to get together with the sales team to collectively talk about all of the people who are involved with the sale. You’re going to picture the personas that are involved in the buying cycle and what they care about. By doing this, you are also forging alignment. You’re hearing from the sales team, who may or may not have communicated with each other, as to who they think the buyers are. You’re getting them all on the same page, and you’re getting on to the same page with them. You’re going to talk about the personas — what drives them, what affects the buying decision for them — and you’re going to map it out so that it’s clear who you need to talk to, what they need to hear, and what obstacles might be at play when the sales process is happening.
The next step is called Win/Loss Analysis. This is where you verify the truths in what you have gathered with your sales team. To do this, you need to reach out to people who have been through the buying process with your company; some that have been Wins (people who bought) and some that have been Losses (people who didn’t buy). Email them a short email that says, “Can I have 10-15 minutes of your time? I am not going to sell you anything, I just want to talk to you about your experience purchasing with us, or not purchasing with us!” You’ll be amazed at how many people say, “Sure!” When you get that 10 minutes of time, you are going to call them, and they are going to take your call. On this call, you’re looking to understand what happened during that buying process: Why did they buy? Why didn’t they buy? Who was involved in the purchase process? Who didn’t want to buy, or did want to buy, and why? Essentially, you’re looking to verify the truths of what you gathered with your Process Mapping. You’re going to find that if you make 10 to 15 of these types of calls, you’re going to get a really good picture of the commonalities. And now you have market data to bring to the discussion with the sales team.
Step 3 is called Tools Evaluation, and this is the fun part. You’re going to take everything you just learned, and you’re going to look at the tools that exist for the sales team: Which one of these tools are solving the problems that you heard from those buyers? Which ones don’t you have? Which ones do you have, but if you tweaked them a little bit, they’re going to work really effectively to overcome an obstacle that you heard while talking to these people who almost bought or did buy?
What you’re looking to do is consider content in a consumable format. Imagine you find that one of your decision makers is financially oriented. You are probably going to want to give them something that is more like a spreadsheet or ROI calculator, so that it’s in the world that they live in and the type of content they can consume. But you’re going to do something very different if there’s a concern from a different type of persona, maybe someone at an executive level, that just wants a high level look at what they need to know. What you’re really doing is building tools that address all of the objections and stall points in your buying process by the people that might stall or stop them when people buy. Don’t get me wrong — you’re not going to have to build a whole new set of tools. You probably have a lot of this already! But you have to consider the audience for each of these people and build these tools, or adjust them, accordingly.
Sometimes there will be new tools that you need to build. Do that with the sales team. Tell them what you’re doing, and bring them into the process right at this point. This is a great conversation to have with the team because you’re bringing data to the table now. You have customer data! These are the people that you talked to! And if you have done this well, you’re going to find that more of the sales team want to get in the room when you’re talking about this, you’re going to find the executive leadership wants to hear this too.
Benefits to You and the Sales Team
So what is the net effect of this exercise? It sounds easy for me to describe, but I realize that there’s work hre. But, if you think about the benefits of this, there’s really 3 big ones. The first one is obvious, you and the sales team are going to be on the same page. You’re going to be aligned all the way through that buying process. You’re going to be clear on the tools that they need because you talked to the aggregate of the team, and together you have determined who is in that buying process, and what they care about.
The second good thing for you is that you are not going to have that long list of things to do anymore. Instead, you’re going to have 6 or 7 tools that you’re going to update, and watch, and redo this process on to make sure you keep those tools sharp.
The third thing, which your sales team is going to love, is that they are actually going to become an advocate for your buyer. Because now, they understand that process intrinsically. And when they’re on the phone with a new buyer, they’re going to be able to coach that internal champion through the buying process by saying, “Hey I know you’re going to have to go talk to your financial guy, here’s a great tool to give them to help explain the value of what we do.”
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