- September 25, 2017
- Posted by: Eric Dinkins
- Category: Sales Enablement
At some point, anyone who has ever started a business has asked themselves the following question: how do I get potential clients to take me seriously?
There’s no simple answer to that question, but there are a few key components you can have in order to bolster your business’s credibility. These components fall under what is considered “marketing collateral,” which are essentially sales support tools. Simply put: they help sell your business, which – in turn – helps your business make sales.
Below are five pieces of marketing collateral that you need for your business because they will help generate leads and eventually revenue.
Case Studies and Testimonials
Case studies are extremely valuable; it’s essentially a client’s way of vouching for your company and your work, and the fact they’re willing to do that says a lot about your relationship with your clients. Think about it; they’re giving up their time to help you grow you business. And they’re not doing it because they’ll benefit from it; they’re doing it because they value the relationship.
But possibly the biggest benefit of a case study is that it includes hard, measurable facts that back what your company actually accomplished for a client. For example, a digital marketing company may say it increased web traffic on a client’s website by 50 percent. That number shows that your company is results driven, and that it accomplished what it set out to do.
Most case studies include a few specific components, including:
- A title that draws readers in
- Some information about the client
- A description of the problem(s) the client was experiencing
- Your company’s solution to the problem
- Supporting evidence that you were successful in solving it and a “next steps” section
This list is not all-inclusive, nor is it necessary that everything on this list be included in your case study, but it at least provides an overview of what should be considered for your case studies. Check out this example of a case study done by DocuSign demonstrating how it helped Salesforce increase its closing rate.
Testimonials serve a very similar purpose to case studies, but aren’t in-depth and require less effort to create. That being said, there are a couple of things to keep in mind if you want your testimonials to be effective.
For one, a testimonial isn’t going to do your business any good if it’s too vague. “Business X did a great job for us,” isn’t exactly the most convincing endorsement. What would help is if it mentioned exactly what your business did that made it a “great job.” It could say, “Business X was able to increase our number of opt-ins for our monthly newsletter by 75 percent in only three months,” which clearly explains the value your business was able to provide.
Another way to increase a testimonial’s effectiveness is to highlight what makes you different from your competitors. “Business X gives ‘return on investment’ a whole new meaning. We’ve worked with plenty of other companies who’ve said they could increase our sales, but Business X was able to provide results that were above and beyond what we were expecting,” is a great example of a testimonial pinpointing what makes your company special.
There are several benefits to having proposal templates for your business. First and foremost, it makes your company look legitimate and professional. You can’t expect a client to take you seriously if you’re sending them a badly formatted proposal in an email or an editable Word document. They should be receiving a professionally designed, well-written business proposal in a PDF that includes a few key components, including:
- Your objectives: this is what we will accomplish.
- Your recommended solutions: this is how we will accomplish it.
- Your cost of services: this is how much it will cost you.
- A timeline: this is how long it will take us to complete the objectives.
- Some proof of credibility: we can do it because we’ve done it before; here’s how.
- A dotted line: this is where they sign.
All proposals should have the same design and general layout. Your company’s logo and full name should be at the top of the proposal, and the colors and fonts should align with your company’s brand. These may sound like little things, but they all help build the image of your company, and the more professional your company looks, the more likely you are to bring in new business. Plus, if you offer a variety of services, having a proposal template for each one will cut down on the amount of time it takes to create them – a huge plus for any business.
The biggest thing to consider when it comes to your company’s presentations is that – a lot of the time – it’s the first thing that represents your company that someone else is exposed to. It could be at a presentation pitching a potential new client, for example. It also could be at a meeting with an existing client, but an employee who’s attending the meeting has not met with you before. How’s it going to look if your business card doesn’t align with your presentation, or if your PowerPoint doesn’t match the layout of the hard copy that was passed out to everyone at the meeting?
Whether you’re pitching new business or providing a client a simple project status update, you need to be sure your presentations align with any branding whether it’s your business cards, or your company’s logo or website. Consistency across all your business’s materials, both print and digital, instills confidence in you and your company, and will solidify in others’ minds exactly who you are and what you’ve said.
Business Cards and Email Signatures
These two items may be the most obvious ones on the list, but that doesn’t make either one any less important. The last situation you want to find yourself in is encountering a lead and not having a business card to give them when you part ways. They’ll immediately question your ability to provide them the services they need, and it doesn’t look very professional to jot down on a scrap piece of paper your name and contact information.
Email signatures carry weight as well. They show that you take your position at your company seriously, and that you expect others to do the same, regardless of how high up you are on the totem pole. Email signatures make it easier for the person you’re emailing to store and find your contact information. They help reinforce what you do, just like a physical business card. The last thing you want is someone calling or emailing you asking to talk to a different person because they forgot your position.
The main purpose of a white paper is to provide solutions to solving problems related to your industry. A diner may do a white paper on how to build the perfect diner menu, for example. That white paper could go into plenty of detail about which menu items sell the best, what times certain items are most popular, which items are the most cost effective and more.
One thing to consider is that white papers are typically much longer than blog posts or articles; most are several pages. The main reason white papers are lengthier than other types of content is because they involve lots of research and include supportive facts and figures. An outline of a white paper may include the following:
- A heading
- An executive Summary
- An introduction
- Subheadings with body copy
- Sidebars with additional details (optional)
- A conclusion
Ultimately, white papers will help prove that you or your business has a certain level of expertise about a specific topic within your field, and should provide enough credibility to encourage a lead to reach out.