Product Brochures: Sales Aid or Sales Crutch?

Let’s get straight to the point, product brochures, company collateral, case studies, ROI scenarios, white papers and any other type of biased literature are the biggest crutch for sales and […]

Let’s get straight to the point, product brochures, company collateral, case studies, ROI scenarios, white papers and any other type of biased literature are the biggest crutch for sales and for a company’s brand, they simply do NOT sell products or build brand equity in a company. Yet almost every sales rep I have come across makes this mistake, thinking or hoping that a sale will happen once the prospect gets the fancy printed brochure or some real compelling ROI. In reality, they end up in the garbage, right next to that 3-month old sandwich left in the coffee room fridge!Product Brochures are Trash

Seriously, in today’s market place, this stuff is just not as effective as people think it is. I mean how many times have you heard a prospect say, “Sounds interesting, do you have a brochure or something you could give me to look over?” and you never hear from them again. Or how many times have you heard sales say “I need some new literature to send to a prospect” or “our collateral is outdated” (which is usually the case). This is all too common and I am here to say that they can hurt sales and it can destroy the brand. They can hurt sales, because instead of having a collaborative dialogue about specific needs and solutions, a prospect is left reading a general description that is not specific and is easy to toss aside. They can destroy a company’s brand by not providing a brand experience. A logo, some colors, cool pictures and graphs and some text describing the features of a product is not a brand experience and certainly not different than every other company out there.

Let’s face it, powerful brands were not created on the merits of its collateral and I can assure you that top performing sales reps, did not become #1, by handing out cool, fancy product brochures to everyone that they came in contact with.

However, at the end of the day, this is not only a sales problem; it is a marketing problem and a companywide problem. Marketing plans and budgets always seem to have a line item for this kind of stuff, which are a huge waste of time and money for the Marketing team. These resources can be much more effectively utilized for programs that can help to increase sales and build a strong brand.

So if this stuff is really a waste of time, what can the marketing department do, when company or sales team believes that product brochures are needed to effectively sell?

In short, the answer is to enable, not disable sales! To start, marketing teams can:

  • Focus marketing resources on educating prospects through interactive real-time social media dialogue, web casts and virtual forums
  • Define and deploy a complete brand experience that enable sales reps and company executives to be a human version of company collateral

Thanks for reading.

Doug

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