Seth Godin has written another great article which highlighted the difference in purpose between letters, brochures and email that I think is worth further illustration/expansion with an example.
A few weeks ago I had reason to focus on what should be the purpose and intent of a brochure. I was asked to assist with tweaking a sales plan for a New Zealand software company who are selling their own software package. They had invited me in as a result of one of their staff attending a SalesFish CSP workshop. While on the workshop we had got into a fuitful discussion on selling product through reseller channels. (I gained considerable experience working with and selling through reseller channels at my last company, LAN 1 N.Z. Ltd.)
When selling through a reseller channel, the quality of your sales and marketing collateral takes on a higher priority. One of the things we did at the first meeting was re examine their existing sales collateral.
One of the core fundamentals of CSP selling is an acknowledgement that selling is a step by step process and in order to move from one step to the next requires a value exchange.
A race car can't go from standstill to 100 mph in an instant because you can't accelerate faster than you can gain traction. Traction is also a limiting factor in the sales process. It is the value exchange that takes place at each step of the sales process that gives you the traction required to be able move on to the next step with the client.
Traction is a real problem with brochures (and nearly impossible to achieve in company profile documents - which is why company profiles make very poor sale collateral) because it is very difficult to provide much of value to the client through these devices.
Understanding that you can't get much traction with brochures allows us to recognise and accept that you can't accelerate from standstill to the close of the sale with a double sided glossy A4. The best you can hope to achieve:
- Very limited brand imprinting.
- A brief product functionality description
- Very limited solution value development
- Some curiosity
In reviewing this company's marketing collateral I got the feeling that they were trying to take their customer from standstill to purchase in two A4 pages. I also noted that the brochure prompted no questions in the readers mind and consequently created no curiosity.
Instead of trying to be all steps in the sales process and failing in all things, we decided to redevelop the brochure with the sole intent of using it to assist them in the task of going from marketing monologue to the initial dialogue.
A well developed brochure can create sales enquiries which can in turn be developed into a sales lead.
Liam Venter: Author of the popular sales training manual
'The Consultative Sales Professional'
You can obtain a copy here