Buyers today are coming to the purchasing table much more prepared, with the average B2B buyer nearly 60% through the purchasing process before even engaging with sales. As interaction between buyer and sales becomes less frequent, a well-positioned visual communication strategy that quickly and succinctly explains your brand’s value can jet you to the top of the buyer’s list.
Let’s take a look at 3 key pieces of sales collateral that can boost your effectiveness by harnessing the power of visual content to engage potential customers.
The Visual Case Study
Case studies are a must-have tool for every organization. They provide clear evidence that your product or service actually works and produces favorable results. But the problem with many case studies is that they can be quite verbose, leading potential buyers to just skim the content. This can lead them to misinterpret your message and your results. It can prevent them from understanding your organization’s value.
Enter the visual case study, where moving through content quickly is actually recommended. The layout is similar to the standard case study format, and may include the following details:
- The challenge your client had prior to implementing your solution
- The client’s goal for implementing your solution
- How your solution was developed and implemented
- The results of your solution
The main difference is that a visual case study’s content contains as many charts, graphs, icons, and illustrations as necessary to drive the story. The most successful visual communication strategies let the visuals — not the text — do the heavy lifting. That’s because audiences’ attention wanes if they feel like you’ve given them a reading assignment.
If you’re not sure whether your visuals are doing enough work to engage your audience, try removing all the text from the case study. Then remove any visuals that don’t add to the 4 sections bulleted above.
Speaking of text — keep it brief! Any written content you have should support your visuals, not the other way around. If you can, keep the entire case study’s word count to no more than 600 words, unless the scope or size of the project necessitates a little more.
The Visual Capabilities Presentation
For many companies, especially those providing a service, the capabilities presentation is the most important collateral for closing the deal. That’s because it’s your opportunity to show folks what you can do. It’s also a chance to differentiate yourself from the competition.
Unfortunately, these are often the last pieces of sales collateral that organizations choose to develop as part of their visual communication strategies. What’s more, the presentations many companies do develop are often ineffective, incorporating large blocks of text, stock imagery, incorrectly visualized charts/graphs/diagrams, etc.
You should approach a capabilities presentation in much the same way as a case study — by letting the visuals do the work. In fact, case studies should be included and can be used as a gauge on how to lay out and share all your other information within the presentation.
There are 3 important things to note when laying out your capabilities presentations:
- There is no one-size-fits-all presentation. You can reuse and repurpose various elements, but every presentation should be unique to your potential buyer.
- Show, don’t tell. The more text you put into the presentation, the less likely your audience is paying attention to what you’re saying.
- Consider getting your audience involved. Make it interactive to get your audience actively engaged with you throughout key stages of the presentation.
It’s also worth developing your presentation for both print and digital use, where the print version is a more synoptic version of the digital presentation.
The Product/Service Video
We’re in a world where time — especially a decision-maker’s time — is a hot commodity. So what methods can you use to maximize that time? Videos and motion graphics have a low barrier to entry, and can include ample information without overwhelming viewers. That’s why they’re a perfect tool for helping buyers with their purchasing decisions.
As in the case of the other collateral we’ve listed above, your video should be brief and to the point. Think of it as your elevator pitch, and follow this formula:
- What’s the problem the potential client is having?
- What does your potential client need in order to solve that problem?
- List 3 reasons why your solution is the best way to solve their problem.
If you can keep that under 2 minutes (preferably 60 seconds), you’re primed to catch your audience’s attention.
The format in which you present your video is also key. Consider a portable video device to send to potential leads or bring to a meeting as a leave-behind. Don’t underestimate the impact of something tangible and interactive like that.
Your Sales Team’s Visual Communication Strategy
Chances are you already have the above collateral in your sales toolbox, and that’s great! Now it’s just a matter of a content refresh.
Regardless of the types of sales collateral you choose to use, the best way to close a deal with these materials is to have consistent messaging across a range of unique, relevant content. That’s why you’ll want to make sure your sales collateral aligns with your larger visual communication and marketing strategy.
Bottom line: create collateral that builds trust and shows your value.
What’s your most successful piece of sales collateral? Share in the comments below.