Do you have questions about the effectiveness of your sales collateral?
If you’re like most marketers, you probably do.
If that’s the case, you owe it to yourself, your sales team and the business you work for to conduct a sales collateral audit.
What is a sales collateral audit?
It’s a process that helps you understand what content you have and what you need to develop. It also helps you figure out which pieces are effective, and which are not working and should be fixed or eliminated.
What kind of collateral should be audited?
Include any materials used to move prospects through the sales process or to deepen client relationships, such as:
- Product sheets
- Sales presentations
- Education papers
- Pricing documents
- Case studies
- Systematic emails
- Web content.
How do I conduct an audit?
1. Start by reviewing your target market personas.
Before you determine whether your content resonates with your target consumers, you must understand who they are and what they respond to. Review the personas used by your business. Make sure they’re up-to-date and accurate. If not, work with your salespeople to revise or replace them.
If you don’t have company personas, what are you waiting for? Develop them! You can’t create meaningful sales content unless you have a clear picture of who you’re delivering it to.
2. Find ALL your sales content.
Check your shared drives, website and talk to your co-workers in sales and marketing. You’ll be surprised how many pieces you’re unaware of or have forgotten about.
3. Create an audit spreadsheet.
Develop a spreadsheet or database that captures critical information about your collateral, including:
- Date created and /or updated
- Name of piece
- Type of piece (presentation, web page, brochure, etc.)
- Date and results of compliance or legal review
- Target audience / persona
- Meeting notes and comments
- Status (good to go / needs updating / to be developed / eliminate)
4. Interview members of your sales team.
Start by asking which pieces they use and which they don’t. Check to see if they have things they’ve created themselves.
For the collateral pieces they use, find out what makes them effective. For those they don’t, ask questions to find out why. Work together to figure out if they’re fixable or should be eliminated completely.
As a final step, brainstorm ideas for sales pieces they don’t have but would find valuable.
Tip: Conduct some interviews one-on-one and others in groups. You’ll gain different insights when people can share honest feedback in a more confidential setting and when they’re allowed to bounce ideas off each other in a public forum.
5. Review content against personas.
Take the pieces you are keeping or revising and read or experience them as if you were a member of your company’s target audience. Also, consider when in the sales process the piece is used, and put yourself in that mindset. It will help you better understand what works and identify areas for improvement.
Tip: One of the biggest issues in the collateral development process is that marketers forget to leave their personal biases and preferences behind and focus instead on the mindset and needs of their clients and prospects.
6. Identify and document issues and gaps.
Use the spreadsheet or database you created to document all the information you’ve pulled together in your interviews and reviews against personas. Having all this in one place will help you:
- Determine which pieces to keep
- Figure out which need updating
- Decide what content to eliminate, combine or streamline
- Come up with a list of materials that need to be developed
- Set priorities and timing.
Once you’ve completed this step, the audit process is technically finished. Now it’s time to start updating your collateral and developing new materials.
Is that it?
It’s important to communicate the results of the audit and the next steps to your sales department. Make this an ongoing process, providing regular updates about when new and updated collateral will be delivered.
If you go radio silent after your audit, the salespeople who participated in it will feel that their time was wasted and nothing will come of it.
Tip: Regularly attend internal sales meetings. It will keep you aligned with sales goals and aware of challenges. These meetings provide good opportunities to introduce and explain how to use new and updated collateral.
Invest in a sales enablement system, like Mobile Locker. It’s a simple way to ensure your salespeople use the right collateral in the most effective ways possible. It will also help you to gather real-time data about the effectiveness of the materials. It’s almost like an ongoing collateral audit you’re able to respond to in real time.
It’s a small investment in taking how you manage and audit content to the ULTIMATE level.