Corporate collateral is foundational to making sure all salespeople (and any other employees who have contact with current and potential customers) communicate your company’s brand in a consistent way.
Although a larger percentage of individuals find their information about companies online these days, there are still plenty of opportunities that need good old-fashioned “leave-behind” pieces. For example:
- Trade shows
- Networking events
- Initial face-to-face meetings
Since your brand is conveyed through every aspect of your day-to-day interaction with your audience, it is imperative that all collateral—fact sheets, technical sheets, Q&A sheets, overview brochures, packaging, etc.—have a cohesive look, feel and message.
Scenario: Your five-salesperson staff is representing your company at a national tradeshow, but are all handing out their own “versions” of promotional collateral to interested individuals stopping by the booth (i.e. potential clients!). At the end of the day, some trade show visitors are gathered around a table for dinner, and your company’s name comes up. Three people whip out the overview sheets they received, but lo and behold, they all look different, have different (and conflicting) messaging, and have no consistent branding between them. Because of this, you just decreased:
- Brand recognition
- Professional representation
This problem could have easily been avoided by your salespeople handing out the same branded collateral.
Many times, salespeople are not provided with consistent corporate collateral because either:
- there is no supportive marketing department to produce those materials for them, or
- they are left to their own devices to create that collateral.
The mindset of “we need to cut budgets, so we’ll cut marketing first” can be extremely damaging to your business, resulting in:
- Decreased exposure ( = decreased sales)
- Perception that you’ve “vanished from the marketplace”
- New products, services are not promoted
- Salespeople are left with nothing to sell with
The mentality when deciding to cut, or do away with your company’s marketing budget with the thought, “if people want to find out about us, they can look up our website…” is tempting. After all, your website was a one-time cost, and corporate collateral, to be successful, needs to be revised, refreshed and revamped from time to time—which costs money. And why can’t the sales team wear marketing hats, too? After all, we’re a small company, and can’t afford a marketing team.
Yes, the roles of marketing and sales teams are “blending” more and more, and if your company can’t justify an experienced marketing person on the payroll, the next best thing you can do for your company and your sales team is to hire an outside marketing firm to help you solidify the message you want to convey to both your internal and external audiences (the old “elevator speech”) across all mediums.
Plan out your tradeshow and conference schedule calendar well in advance, so appropriate collateral can be designed, developed and available for your salespeople without scrambling at the last minute (which inevitably always costs more in the long run).
Corporate collateral is an extension of your all-important brand. Make sure it’s reflecting the message you want.