For 8 years at the beginning of my working life, I sold radio advertising. The place was Denver which was, at the time, the second-most competitive radio market in the nation. It was beat out only by Phoenix which had more radio stations per capita than any other city. It was hard work.
I figured out which businesses might be trying to reach the demographics of the station I worked for, made cold calls, showed up on the businesses’ doorsteps, hoped I’d get a few minutes with the decision-maker and made my pitch. I had a business card, a rate card and a page of the latest ratings results.
Unlike most B2B companies today, there was no marketing department generating leads and then nurturing those leads until they were ready to be turned over to sales. I generated the leads, and the nurturing was me showing up over and over until the sale was made or I was told to go away.
I’m not saying that salespeople in companies with marketing departments have it easy. Just the opposite. The station I started at was selling radio spots for $12 each. That’s a huge difference from selling $100,000+ enterprisewide software to companies that often take as many as 18 months to make a buying decision. It’s a tough job, and today’s B2B salespeople need all the help they can get.
So besides generating the lead and nurturing it, there is one thing marketing can do to help in the sales process. That is to arm sales with one-sheets targeted at overcoming common buying objections. Why? Because it’s not practical for a salesperson to personally speak to every influencer and decision-maker in a given company. When a strong objection arises and sales feels they are at a barrier in the process, they can send the appropriate one-sheet to their primary contact via email. Then this contact can be encouraged to distribute it to others involved in the decision.
Here are the simple steps for getting these sales sheets done:
- Call a meeting with sales reps so they can tell you the main objections they hear in the sales process.
- Ask sales what they typically say to overcome these objections.
- Have a front-only or front-and-back 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheet written that addresses the specific challenge in the opening copy, then clearly present the product benefits that overcome that particular objection.
- Include highlights of the full sales story in case the document gets into the hands of someone unfamiliar with your product and company.
- Be sure to include a strong call to action at the end.
- Run the copy by sales to make sure it’s on target before taking it to design.
- Use your company logo and graphic standards in the design, but it’s not necessary to make the piece fancy, as it should look like an informational piece and not like a brochure.
In the scope of marketing materials these sales sheets should be fast and easy to create — and sales will thank you for them.