Under the Surface—Managing Your Sales Content

  • Wikings Machado Partner, Go-To-Market, Next47
  • Alex Aharonov Global Engagement Manager, Next47
  • Kevin O’Donnell Head of Sales, BuildOps

It takes more than a great product or service to captivate an audience. You need to build compelling content around your offering to catch the eye of prospective and current customers. In this article, we focus on the importance of sales content.

Effective sales content goes beyond brand awareness—it must focus on communicating value propositions. This is done by showcasing how technical features alleviate customer pains. While this helps promote your product, it also provides an opportunity for prospecting, as practitioners might use your material as a source of education.     

Beyond customer engagement, sales collateral also has a vital role in driving consistency throughout your go-to-market team. It enables them to address customer questions, enhance engagement, and clinch deals. Regular feedback loops with sales representatives and customers can help refine your collateral, keeping it effective and relevant.

Crafting Your Collateral: Topics to Consider

The first step to designing good sales collateral is to define your content strategy in partnership with Marketing. They own the process of crafting communication materials and can provide key insight to get you started. This is the case at BuildOps, a Next47 portfolio company that focuses on software for commercial contractors. Their Marketing team is in constant alignment with Sales to understand their target audience and the core messages of the company’s business objectives.   

It is also essential to consider ownership and quality control. Assigning an owner to each piece of content ensures accuracy and consistency in the messaging. These tend to be split among organizations such as Sales Ops, Sales Engineers, Marketing, or Sales Enablement. More mature organizations might centralize this ownership, and even use software solutions to manage content.

But producing and updating content is only half the battle—making it discoverable is just as challenging. Here, once more, Marketing and Sales must work together, leveraging content for both inbound and outbound sales motions. In the marketing sphere, this involves topics such as metadata, tagging, and SEO. For Inside Sales, good collateral is an intrinsic part of outreach cadences, nurturing contacts long before they turn into qualified opportunities. 

Below is a list of some of the sales content that we normally see being leveraged by tech startups.

Collateral Types and Best Practices

One-Pagers: A one-pager serves as a crisp, at-a-glance overview of your product or service. Designed with both precision and aesthetic appeal in mind, it aims to capture the essence of your offering in a single page. It should include a clear call to action, whether that’s reaching out for more information, making a purchase, or setting up a consultation. They are usually deployed in the early stages of the sales or marketing funnels.

Case Studies: These are powerful testimonials of the practical utility and success of your offerings in real-world scenarios. They go beyond anecdotal evidence by leveraging quantifiable data and metrics. Integrating client testimonials allows prospects to see tangible benefits from credible industry peers. Oftentimes prospects want to speak with references early in the sales process. While you might prefer to save this as a final step, case studies can satisfy this need without having to provide a reference right away. 

Videos: When executed correctly, videos can resonate emotionally with audiences, turning abstract concepts into relatable stories. While brevity ensures audience retention, the content within should be captivating. In an age of excessive noise in social media, videos are a great way to stand out and continually get engagement and reshares. 

Catalogs and Datasheets: Think of these as comprehensive visual directories of your offerings. They dive into the details, providing organized and aesthetically pleasing layouts of products or services. The goal of these is to inform prospects, while also piquing their interest. A best practice here is to gear information toward the potential return on investment that clients typically see. 

Battle Cards: These are strategic arsenals for your internal teams, particularly Sales and Marketing. They present a distilled view of competitor offerings compared to your own, highlighting strengths and underscoring unique selling propositions. They offer quick, actionable insights to inform strategy and customer pitches. Some of our portfolio companies such as BuildOps offer battle cards alongside “How to Buy” guides. As many customers are not professional software evaluators, offering an unbiased guide to help them make the best decisions is a great way to bring more visibility. 

Whitepapers: More than just lengthy articles, whitepapers are meticulously researched and deeply analytical explorations of industry challenges, trends, or innovations. By publishing them, you’re not just sharing information but are staking a claim as a thought leader in your domain, signaling both expertise and a commitment to advancing the field. The more technical your sales, the more important they become.

Sales Presentations: These are dynamic tools designed for interactive sessions, be it face-to-face meetings, webinars, or virtual pitches. They bring together the best of visuals, narratives, and data to present a compelling case for your offerings, emphasizing key features, benefits, and differentiators. 

Demos: Demos offer prospects a tangible, first-hand experience of what it feels like to use your product. Whether interactive software or illustrative videos, demos allow potential clients to visualize how your offering fits into their worlds. 

BuildOps has a very creative and effective approach to this kind of content. Customized demos are vital to their sales process, but prospects tend to be timid about signing up for one for fear of being hounded by salespeople. Therefore, the company created a weekly live group demo series that has resulted in strong engagement. There, prospects can simply learn about the product, and end up coming up with questions that are best answered by having a tailored, personalized demo with an Account Executive.

FAQs: By preemptively addressing common questions and concerns, FAQs serve as both a resource and a reassurance. They demonstrate that you understand and anticipate your customer’s needs, and they streamline the decision-making process by removing potential roadblocks or uncertainties. These tend to work well alongside other materials, such as catalogs and product landing pages.

Conclusion

In the pursuit of business growth and customer acquisition, sales content stands out as an essential tool. Whether it’s a meticulously crafted one-pager, a compelling case study, or an engaging product demo, effective collateral not only informs but also engages customers and helps guide them through the sales process smoothly.