Your sales team is one of the most important touchpoints of your brand. On the front lines each day, they are powerful tools for selling success. They make real and lasting connections with those who are making important decisions about their business. However, they’re often sent out to represent your brand with less-than-ideal sales tools. Whether you need to update your brochures, are relying on stale catalogs, or are getting by with old sales presentations – irrelevant or out-of-date marketing collateral can do more harm than good. As we welcome the new year, it’s the perfect time to make sure that your marketing materials are ready to help your 2023 sales team seal the deal.
- Why Update Your Marketing Collateral?
- How Often Should You Audit?
- What Marketing Materials Matter?
- How to Take Inventory
- Keep It All Together
Why Update Your Marketing Collateral?
It’s important for your marketing to consistently reflect your brand. As your brand evolves, your messaging needs to stay aligned. A disconnect between the two is confusing and off-putting to customers. Nowhere is this more critical than with the team that is taking your message to these customers. Not only do outdated materials undermine the sales teams’ feelings of competency, but they are often left behind to circulate at the customer business. A poor impression (or worse yet, first impression) can have repercussions felt throughout the organization. Even something as simple as an outdated sales sheet can negatively impact the perception of your company. That’s why it’s important to conduct a regular marketing collateral audit—so that both marketing and sales teams are aware of what is being shared, and what is available to be shared.
How Often Should You Audit?
How often you conduct an audit of this scope is based on several factors. If your marketing collateral needs to be updated quarterly to keep up with your products and services (and the market), then a quarterly audit is imperative. Many companies benefit from an audit every three to six months. However, if the need for a message update isn’t as frequent, they can conduct one annually. Once you have a system in place, it’s easy to keep your sales team outfitted with your most up-to-date marketing collateral. Whether you use a document management system (DMS), e-commerce marketing portal, or some other asset management tool, you can keep all print and digital material organized, searchable, safe, and consistent.
When conducting an audit, cast as wide a net as possible. If a digital or print piece is something that your sales team can use in their process, it should be included in the audit. Here are some examples (including some you might not traditionally consider):
- Sales Decks
- White Papers
- Case Studies
- Product Data Sheets
- Pricing Sheets
- Tradeshow Collateral and Signage
- Business Cards
- Marketing Emails
- Social Media Templates
- Website Content
How to Take Inventory
You can follow a simple set of steps to review your assets and determine which need to be replaced. Much like when generating these assets, it’s important to start at the beginning with fresh eyes. This means knowing your customer above all else. Here’s how to audit:
- Revisit Your Buyer Personas: Ideally, your marketing assets were all constructed with your specific personas in mind, the “target audiences” that you created based on your ideal customer. Sometimes named with titles like “Store Manager Melanie,” they include demographics like age, gender, and even how many children they might have. They also include information like job title, job experience, income, pain points, and what they are looking for in a product. More robust descriptions help your teams better envision and speak to these audiences. If you don’t have personas, you can create them. If you have them, make sure to check in with your sales team to ensure that they are still accurate.
- Gather the Goods: Much like Marie Kondo does in her fascinating The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, the only way to know what you truly have on hand is to get it all in one place. So if you have marketing collateral living on different desktops, in hard drives, in online repositories, on the website, on paper, and more, try to pull them all together so you can evaluate everything at once. Check with your sales and marketing teams so you don’t miss any.
- Build a Spreadsheet to Track Collateral: This will help you identify and evaluate all assets. You might include the following headers:
- Type of Asset
- Asset Name
- Link to Asset
- Title Tags / Search Keywords
- Buyer Persona or Target Audience
- Creation or Update Date
- Priority (High or Low)
- Date Met Compliance or Legal Approval
- Status (Needs to be Updated or Archived - or Ready)
- Notes and Updates
- Review with the Sales Team: Discuss the spreadsheet with your sales team. They are your first customer and they know the customer well. What materials are they using and what isn’t working for them? Find out why in both instances and then decide if these assets need to be updated or archived. Find out which pieces would benefit them even more in the future.
- Pull Reports: If your software can pull reports on which assets are being used most often, that is valuable information to include in the spreadsheet too.
- Get in the Persona Mindset: Become your personas. Think about how you’d view the assets in a sales setting. Here’s where you can find gaps and fill them in on the spreadsheet. Do you need an e-book? Or perhaps an updated brochure? Is everything aligned with your current branding?
- Complete Spreadsheet with Feedback: Use your insights from getting in the mindset, along with reports and the sales teams feedback, to update the spreadsheet. Then set a schedule for implementing updates.
- Keep the Sales Team Looped In: Think of audits as an ongoing conversation with the sales team. Keep them apprised of updated materials and check in often for their feedback. Plan your next audit date.
Keep It All Together
Now that you have a system to track your most important and up-to-date marketing collateral, it’s essential to store them in one place for the future. We have helped numerous clients customize one for their needs. With an online repository for all print and digital assets, you’ll save money, time, and headaches. You’ll stay compliant, manage permissions, always have the most updated file available, enjoy protection against fires, floods, and IT issues, and support your sales team easily and efficiently. Any future audits will be a breeze to conduct. Talk to us today about making your marketing collateral sales ready—and your sales audits simple.