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Collateral in Sales

Definition: Collateral in Sales is a variety of supportive materials that help explain and promote products or services to the potential customers in the course of marketing and sales. These are diverse materials in terms of mediums that are used to support and expand on the products or services being marketed and sold to the potential customers.

Detailed Explanation

Sales collateral is an integral part of an overall marketing and sales plan. It is basically designed to educate, inform, and persuade prospective buyers with enough information to be able to make a purchase decision. Key types of sales collateral can be:

  • Brochures and Flyers: Printed or digital booklets providing the details of the product or service with most persuasive designs and storytelling.
  • White Papers and E-books: It’s a detailed guide or report aimed at enlightening the audience on given aspects related to products or industry. They are often used for lead generation.
  • Case Studies: Real-world examples of how a product or service has successfully solved a problem for other customers.
  • Videos: Product testimonials and demonstrations in multimedia format with detailed explanations of product features.
  • Infographics: Graphic visual representations of information, data, or knowledge intended to present information quickly and clearly.
  • Presentation Decks: Slideshows designed to support verbal or written presentations with key points and visuals.

Importance in the Sales Process

Sales collateral does not only provide information; it tells a story that should resonate with the needs and values of the customer. The effective collateral supports the selling process in ways such as these:

  • Improving Understanding: This helps break down complex products or services into palatable chunks, in turn helping potential customers understand how a solution might fit into their context.
  • Building Trust: Success stories and evidence-based results through collateral that can be used as a way of building trust with potential buyers.
  • Supporting Sales Conversations: Collateral provides the sales team with the right answers to most common questions and objections, thus reducing variance and keeping the conversation productive.
  • Facilitates the Decision-Making: Good collaterals can help the buyers make a decision sooner by furnishing all the details in a readily usable form.

Real-World Example

A software company desiring to sell a high-end Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution provides its sales people with a number of sales tools. Their first step is to send a high-gloss, appealing brochure which lists the major features and advantages of the software. If the customer shows some interest, they then provide a white paper that describes in detail how their CRM works with the systems already in place at a company to better track sales and customer interaction. They also provided case studies of companies in the same or similar industry to illustrate the impact the CRM had on sales growth and customer satisfaction. Finally, demonstration videos can allow potential customers to see the product in action, answering common questions, and seeing for themselves how easy it is to use.

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