Today, we live in an informed economy. Anybody looking for any product/service can do a proper evaluation before he makes a purchase even without getting in touch with any sales person from that company. He does this through the collateral available at the company website and at independent forums. I really classify collateral into 2 parts,
- tactical collateral, without which your sales team/website is entirely ineffective Examples are web copy, brochure, case studies, presentations on offerings
- Strategic collateral that helps others form opinions about your product/service in a subtle way. Examples are white papers, article posts, webinars, PR
While companies can make a choice about when they would like to launch into strategic collateral, they just have to get their tactical collateral in place before they define their go-to-market.
How does one go about generating this, then in a structured form. Here are some simple steps that will ensure that you can get your collateral up and ready for sales engagement in less than 2 weeks.
1) Define primary and secondary level messaging – Assemble your major stakeholders, management, sales of your company and conduct a workshop on what the company/solution messaging should be. A good idea is to find out why some of your top clients decided to and continue to work with you. Primary messaging levers will include max 1 to 2 items, while secondary messaging levers could be another 3-4 items. Try and restrict your total messaging areas to less than 6-7.
2) Customer engagements audit – Having identified the messaging levers, identify a few of your valued customer engagements and try to find out if the messaging levers played a part in winning these deals. You can use a weighted average system to come up with refined scores during this audit. This will help validate your findings from step 1
3) Brochure & Case studies theme – Focus on the messaging elements that you have shortlisted as a result of the above steps and make sure that you highlight them through the case studies that you create for your customer engagements. you may be tempted to highlight a variety of issues, but make sure that the focus is on the messaging elements identified. Univocal messaging across different artifacts will help carry the message further.
4) Web copy replication – Avoid having an entirely different theme and messaging for the website. Replicate what you have identified as themes in your brochure/case studies and make sure that you harp on it further through your web-copy. Today, we are in the world of dynamic websites, but what you define as core elements of your product/solution could have a shelf life of about 12-18 months.
5) Engage an expert – Engaging an expert brings in a very important third party opinion to this whole exercise and also identifies this as a project with firm deadlines. Also running these moderated workshops and audits becomes a lot more structured.
If you need help in getting your collateral up, do visit our services page. Let me know if this was useful and any more ideas/thoughts.
Twitter – @xeniaconsulting
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