How effective will your sales tools be long-term?

When selling a product, it’s important to create effective sales tools that demonstrate the qualities that set your product apart and make it the best option for your customers. But it’s not simply a matter of having samples of your product to show them. Good sales tools weave an entire scenario that demonstrates why the customer needs your product. So how do you know how your customer will respond to that scenario? When you’re designing your sales tools, how can you tell how effective they’ll actually be? You can’t. That’s why testing them is so important.

Testing Presentation

Once you have a prototype for a particular sales tool, you need to test it in the field before you mass produce it. Remember, what you’ve created represents your brand to the customer. The message it conveys reflects on your company and your products. Of course, you’re going to design it to look as good as possible. But there are other factors in play. Does it do what it was designed to do? Is it durable and high quality? How long will the sample last? If you give a client a sample of your product and it falls apart a week later, that reflects very badly on your company. Test them to make sure they hold up. This applies to the packaging as well. A high quality sample boxed in cheap cardboard will send the wrong message.

Presentation is perhaps even more important when sending out samples in the mail. You need to know how they’ll fare on the journey. Send a test sample to yourself, exactly the same way you plan on sending it to customers. Send another to a trusted friend across the country. If it falls apart, you need to know. Do you need a stronger sample? Do you need to ship it more securely? The more you test, the better control you have over the message you’re sending to your customers.

Testing Customer Reactions

Presentation is only half the battle. You also need to test your sales tools in the field, to see how well they actually convince customers to buy. Arm a few of your most trusted salespeople with prototypes of your new sales tool and have them deliver the proposed new presentation to customers. Then gauge their reactions. Is the presentation easy to understand? Does it show the customer what you want to show them? And, most importantly, what effect does it have on sales?

Using this information, go back and redesign your sales tools, ironing out the bugs and making them more effective. Then, test them again. Repeat the process until you have the sales tool you want, which delivers the results you want. Then, finally, you can mass produce it.

Testing your sales tools in the field reduces risk by letting you see how they work before you invest a lot of money in them, and allowing you to tailor them for the best results. What message do your sales tools send to your customers?