Sales tools are great for educating your target audience
Sales tools help your target audience – whether internal to external to your organization – learn about your product or service offering and are typically tangible in nature. Found in many forms, common sales tools include items such as collateral, product demonstrations/freemiums, videos, presentations, customer testimonials, ROI calculators, analyst reports or third party reviews, and websites. If done well, your sales tools can help you turn a prospect’s interest into a sale, creating revenue for your business.
Based on your organization’s size and objectives set for extending your reach, you may need multiple types of sales tools to roll out your offering to the market. Depending upon which sales tools you pursue, you will likely need the help of one or more of the following:
- Sales representative
- Public relations assistance
- Support personnel and vendors
To increase recall, branding and messaging must be consistent and aligned with other sales tools your company has produced to limit confusion. A style guide will help you achieve this. Of course, the extra help required for execution adds to your costs and complexity with regard to managing how you extend your reach, so selecting the right tools is important.
First, what your objective is for the sales tool? Should the tool educate or convince prospects to try your product? A CD with different collateral options available on it electronically may be appropriate for the prospect who wants to do more research, but if your prospect is further along in the buying cycle, a printed brochure or data sheet with a discount may be more appropriate for closing the sale. The more complex, or different, your offering is to the market, the higher the probability is that you’ll need a variety of sales tools to make a sale. Whenever possible, try to select sales tools that can serve multiple purposes and situations; this will keep your development costs down. As your operations get more sophisticated, developing a core set of sales tools for each product or service offering will become second nature.
To assess which tools to use, ask yourself….
Messaging will depend upon whether you are implementing B2B or B2C marketing tactics and whether the purchasing process is complex or simple. When the purchasing process is complex, the user, influencer, and buyer have different roles. When the purchasing process is simple, the user is the buyer, and there’s limited, if any, influence from others on the decision. The more complex the purchasing process is, the more likely it is that you’ll need various types of tools to target messaging to those roles. For instance, enterprise software products may offer a freemium or product demo to entice users to try their product and include literature focused on business benefits that is targeted to the purchase influencer and buyer, who may be department or company managers responsible for budget allocation and final purchasing approval. A toy manufacturer selling yo-yos for kids, on the other hand, would likely not give product demos away to kids; they might have store demonstrations or a videos showing the use of the product instead, and provide messaging on product packaging that appeals to parents and kids.