Reaching potential customers with the right message and materials at the right time throughout the sales process is critical to winning business. Fact is, we are in a very competitive business environment, and your buyer’s attention span is getting shorter, which makes figuring out the exact timing and message very important to success.
On average, 70 percent of the buying decision is made before a prospect even talks to a company. That means content, its placement, and timing of when it is consumed is extremely important to the sales process.
Many companies use some version of a sales funnel process designed to attract, convert, close, and delight leads, turning them into paying – and hopefully repeat – customers. Companies also invest in developing sales collateral to help boost the sales process. The goal is to make sure your sales materials are serving a specific function in the sales funnel and are aligned with your buyer’s journey. With an intentional plan, your sales collateral can keep potential buyers informed and engaged as you lead them through their journey effectively.
Below is an example of how sales collateral and content can be aligned with each stage of the buyer’s journey in order to successfully communicate with prospects and increase your chance for a successful conversion.
Stage #1 – Problem/Need Awareness (Top of funnel)
People make purchases when they recognize they have a need or a problem to solve. The goal of your sales collateral in this awareness stage is to capture the attention of your prospects and compel them to learn more about your solution. This can be in the form of advertisements, articles, and brochures.
Stage #2 – Information Search (Middle of funnel)
Recognizing a problem or need triggers a search for more information. The majority of buyers turn to an online search during their information gathering to find out more about potential solutions and relevant businesses. This is a good time to position your company as an industry expert with helpful and educational content on your website, in social media, product brochures, and newsletters.
Stage #3 – Alternatives Evaluation (Middle of funnel)
Following the search for information — or sometimes happening concurrently — potential customers start comparing the alternatives that will solve their problem. It’s important to deliver a strong value proposition and communicate how your product/service is the best solution to the prospect’s pain points. Relevant content and sales materials include a product (or service) “one-pager,” online demonstrations, product fact/data sheets, product brochures, microsites, white papers, and FAQs.
Stage #4 – Purchase Decision (Bottom of funnel)
The purchase decision is the natural next step. By this stage, the prospect has determined that they have a problem/need, investigated their options, decided which solution is best, and are ready to make their purchase decision. Bottom of the funnel content should help your potential customers feel confident in their decision to purchase your product/service. Materials that help with this include tailored client presentations, testimonials, and case studies that reflect various customer profiles or verticals.
Stage #5 – Post-Purchase Evaluation (Bottom of the funnel)
Sales collateral can be valuable even after the deal is closed. This is because the process doesn’t end with the sale. What happens after the sale can be just as important. Greet your customers with a thoughtful onboarding process, personal attention, and the resources they need to use your product/service successfully. Relevant materials include product use instructions, product support materials, onboarding documents, customer appreciation materials, and feedback forms to evaluate the buying process.
Need assistance defining your buyer’s journey or conveying meaningful messages in your sales collateral? Contact Cheryl Irwin-Bass at