There is a short answer to this question, but I’m not going to give it to you right now. Why? Because without context, it might not make a lot of sense. We will get there though, I promise.
You do need to know this now: when I say sales collateral, I am talking about a wide range of content that fits under the sales collateral umbrella. This includes one pagers, spec sheets, product videos, FAQ sheets, case studies, and more.
The first step is to look at the framework of content marketing: the Buyer’s Journey. Once you understand how the Buyer’s Journey works, you will better understand where sales collateral fits into your content marketing strategy.
The Buyer’s Journey
The Buyer’s Journey is an important, yet simple, framework for marketing strategy. It tells you the the different stages a buyer is at and how to create content that helps you get them to a justified purchase decision. But what does it look like?
Let’s take a look at each stage of the Buyer’s Journey.
At the beginning of the Buyer’s Journey, your buyer is most likely unaware of two things: a need they have and your company. At this stage, buyers are just beginning to realize they have the symptoms of a problem. You need to create a problem so that buyers will look for a solution. Here, your content should be focused on your buyer’s pain points.
Once buyers understand that they have a problem, they begin to look for a solution. They’re researching their options and they begin to narrow choices down to a few companies. Educational content, like white papers, research, and slideshows, is critical at this stage. While you can begin to look more at your company, you still need to remain heavily focused on your buyer.
Here is where your buyers are actively looking to make a purchase. They have the necessary buy-in and are in the process of selecting a product, but they may not have decided to buy from you just yet. Your content needs to convince them to purchase your product or service.
Content Marketing and Sales Collateral
Now that we’ve looked at the Buyer’s Journey, we can finally answer the question, “Where does sales collateral fit into your content marketing strategy?”
The answer is: in the decision phase of the Buyer’s Journey.
As people enter the decision stage of their journey, they need content that helps them choose your product and reinforce that decision.
Decision phase prospects need information about equipment and product specs. They don’t want to read an article about how to improve fuel efficiency. Instead, they need one pagers, spec sheets, and other sales collateral. This is what will help them decide which product is the best solution for their problem.
Additionally, you need to reinforce your prospect’s decision to buy from you. Providing them with FAQ sheets and product videos can give them continued understanding of your product’s capabilities. It can also help them justify their decision logically.
Your prospects need to have a seamless experience with your content marketing strategy. Creating content that aligns with each phase of the Buyer’s Journey is critical for moving prospects from awareness to purchase. If you ignore sales collateral, you could be losing prospects as they make a decision to purchase.