Sales teams often look for that one special piece of collateral to convince buyers to change the status quo, select their solution and sign on the dotted line. This is especially true in outbound prospecting. When finally reaching a prospective buyer on the phone who says, “Send me something to read,” the sales rep often sends a product data sheet. In an ideal world, reps wish for an information-dense asset that answers any possible questions the prospect may have.
This rarely produces the desired outcome. A high-tech client shared an incident where a prospect was interested in understanding options to address a specific problem. The sales rep responded by providing the client with a data sheet containing a detailed list of all the product features. A financial services client, who sells funds to brokers, disclosed the challenge of a prospective broker wanting to understand how a new fund would fit into their portfolio, only to be given a detailed prospectus of the fund.
The reliance on the one-size-fits-all asset can be the result of training gaps or a lack of confidence in the sales process. It can also come from the failure of sales to understand buyers well enough to provide prescriptive, tailored information based on where they are in their buying journeys. Both cases are a failure of portfolio marketing to transfer buyer knowledge to sales and to train sales reps on how to apply it.
The product data sheet can be a valuable asset when used in the right stage of the buying cycle. Here are some key considerations when defining the proper use of data sheets in your sales enablement plan:
Clients of SiriusDecisions’ portfolio marketing service have access to the brief “The SiriusDecisions B-to-B Buying Decision Process Framework,” that provides guidance on content strategy to enable buying decisions. This will help organizations understand the buying process as well as relevant content asset types across the journey. Non-clients can access summary details about the buying cycle by downloading The SiriusDecisions B-to-B Buying Decision Process Framework. Spoiler alert: There is no “one-size-fits-all” asset.
Suzy Meriwether is a Research Director, Portfolio Marketing, at SiriusDecisions. She has more than 20 years of experience in product and solution marketing, sales enablement and demand generation. Follow her on Twitter @SuzyMeriwether.