Using your sales materials to build the pipeline

It’s not good enough just to create sales materials or tools and expect all your sales channels to use them effectively. A carefully planned and executed roll out program will motivate your sales people and enhance your sales success. Here’s how ….

Managing the roll out

Every company is different, but there are some common management practices that will help ensure that the roll out to your sales channels of newly-created sales materials and tools is both timely and effective. Important questions to be considered and answered include:

• Is there a major sales-oriented event already planned at which the sales materials and tools could be launched (e.g. a new product introduction)?
• In what format should the launch event take place (e.g. workshop, presentation, training), and should it be ‘face-to-face’ or online?
• Who should attend the event, and why?
• How can we encourage invited persons to attend?
• What preparation is required pre-event, and how should we follow up afterwards?

Managing the roll out of new sales materials and tools as a project, with clear objectives, agreed timescales and appropriate allocated resources, results in a much better attended launch event and higher participation rates in related post-event activities, such as sales pipeline generation.

The launch event agenda

It is important to get the content of the launch event right. The correct balance must be struck between describing the market opportunity and explaining how the sales materials and related tools will help your sales people to be successful. The best events include elements of team work, during which genuinely new sales opportunities can emerge. ‘Must have’ agenda items include:

• An overview of the business opportunity that you want to help the sales teams exploit
• An explanation of how the content of the materials was derived (to establish credibility)
• A demonstration of how the sales materials can be used in conjunction with any existing or new sales tools
• Examples (preferably personal testimonials) of how the information in the materials has helped a salesperson to achieve success
• A call to action that drives improvement in the quality of sales opportunity entering the sales pipeline

Teamwork sessions should include some active use of the materials that generates actions for attendees to pursue after the event.

Common mistakes

When rolling out newly-created sales materials and tools for a product or service, failure to give sufficient attention to some important related activities often results in poor take up and under-utilisation of the materials or tools. This in turn means that the resulting impact on sales from your investment is not what it could be. Examples of common mistakes are:

• Choosing the wrong environment for sharing information: web broadcasts, for example, are ‘one way only’ and create difficulties in judging participation and message uptake
• Not engaging with senior sales management and explaining the importance of invited sales staff attending the launch event
• Inadequate communication with invited personnel both before and after the launch event
• Using terms such as ‘sales training’ or ‘product training’: sales people believe they are already trained, so will ignore any invitation to ‘sales training’; while calling the launch event ‘product training’ may encourage them to send their product specialist. Either way you get the wrong audience attending
• Poorly coordinated or no follow up to ensure actions are implemented
• Neglecting to prove to sales people the value of the opportunity in their territory
• Failing to put in place measures to incentivise appropriate use of the sales materials and tools

Getting related activities such as these right is just as, and often even more important, when selling through partners.

What can be done?

Sales people will use sales materials and tools that help them sell effectively, but only if they are made aware of how these materials and tools will help them, shown how to make the best use of them, and given incentives to try them out.

Planning and implementing a Roll Out program that motivates your sales people will grow your pipeline and contribute to sales success.

To find out how the proven RVWL Roll Out Program could help you deliver sales materials and tools to your channels in a way that contributes to sales success, click here.

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