Why having marketing materials that are updated and consistent with the brand image is so important
Multiple factors are required to be successful in sales. A good product, an excellent seller, but you also need alignment between marketing and sales, something that is not always so smooth or easy to put in practice. But you have to try, because it can have a decisive impact on the end result. To achieve this goal, digital marketing materials are extremely important: catalogues, photo galleries, case studies, presentations and videos play a key role in ‘winning over’ the customer, because they encapsulate the company’s professional standards and soundness, and the seller’s experience.
But beware the boomerang effect: if the sales manager goes to the customer with obsolete materials, that feeling of confidence that is so essential to strike a deal will instantly disappear. At least for one reason: when he deals with the customer, the sales manager is of course the ‘clincher’ of the operation but there and then he is, above all, the company’s face and the epitome of its efficiency. In other words, if showing up with paper catalogues and books has an unpleasantly vintage feel, building a sale on obsolete digital materials is even worse. A boomerang, as we said: first and foremost for the company’s reputation but also because of the damage that may result from trying to sell discontinued goods or goods that do not meet the specifications (maybe because they have been updated in the meantime).
The importance of being ‘consistent’
Not only do the digital marketing materials used in the sales process have to be updated, they also need to be consistent with the sales techniques. For instance, nowadays the most efficient sales manager is the self-styled “proactive” one: customers have no time to waste, they don’t want to hear the thousands of versions of the product they already know, they want to choose the right solution between 2 or 3 options, at most. They want certainty, reliability and a quick sale, confiding in the company’s ultimate ability to deliver.
Now, supposing the sales manager is behaving really well, he knows the customer’s needs, the strengths of his products, he provides a couple of consistent solutions, then (thinking that is the right thing to do) he shows a video to the customer with an extensive description of the dozens of versions of the product, the potential customisation options, the advantages of each one, and the potential mixes of complementary products. In 90% of the cases, the customer, who 5 minutes earlier was ready to close the deal, is not so sure any more: among all those options, there may be one that is even better for his needs, and maybe he should keep on enquiring. But regrettably now all proactivity has gone, and doubts begin to creep into the customer’s mind that maybe the perfect solution is not that one, or, even worse, that a different company may have it.
Ok, maybe we went a bit overboard with this example, but the alignment between the digital marketing materials and the corporate communication strategy, its mission and even the sales management technique is not an option, it is a real need, as it has a remarkable impact on the actual results. That’s why it is essential to boost dialogue between the marketing and sales processes (aptly named smarketing in the last few years) and – likewise – having the technical tools that enable the marketing process to give the sales network constantly updated materials. The “interaction” between the two processes can produce contents that, far from being a mere description of the product, are aligned with the techniques used by the sales network, effectively helping it hit the target. Creating (slightly) different contents depending on the type of customer is not rocket science, because, as there are people who want a quick fix, so there are people who want to know everything about the range of options at their disposal, not to mention those who want to peruse market statistics, case studies and so on.
What matters is not the bulk of materials you have with you – incidentally, if they are digital, they won’t weigh much – what matters is that these materials are aligned with the technique you intend to use, with the needs and type of customer you are dealing with. And this is another point where coordination between the marketing and sales processes is essential: if it’s there, fine; if it’s not there, then you have to get to work and build it.