Design has separated from production in the development of most B2B sales tools and samples. This separation has resulted in a very tactical application of design to the production process. The results are often sub-par performance and even failure of those tools and samples to convert sales leads into customers.

Why design is important

Design is highly strategic and involves far more than just figuring out what you want something to look like. How you present your product and/or service in your marketing materials can go a long way in influencing your customer to buy. For example, are your most popular products highlighted in your sales material? Does the piece do everything it can to focus on the product and not the layout, the color or the piece itself?

Why design and production of sales tools and samples need to be fully integrated

There’s no way to separate design and production when it comes to sales tools and samples. To focus solely on design often leads to a sales piece that is beautiful to look at, but does little to motivate a customer to buy your products. Equally, a totally sales-oriented piece can look harsh and unappealing, sending the wrong message to your customers. The best B2B sales tools combine both style and function.

How to design B2B sales tools for success

According to the American Marketing Association (AMA), as much as 90 percent of sales collateral material is never used by the sales force. That’s an astounding number. One reason cited in the AMA study is the ineffectiveness of such sales tools. You certainly don’t want to spend the money on marketing tools that no one is going to use. To avoid such waste, consider the following before investing in another sales or marketing piece:

1. Focus on customer needs. Too much text can mean that your brochure or product description will languish on a customer’s desk unread. Instead of listing all of the features of your product, focus instead on how your product can solve your customer’s problem.

2. Break out of the past. If your past sales pieces have been ineffective, avoid relying on the same, “that’s the way we’ve always done it” design mentality. Instead, oft for a fresh approach, new logo and new presentation.

3. Consider something unusual. If all of the sales tools in your industry are shaped 8″x 10″ or are tri-fold brochures, consider making your design something that will stand out among your competitors. This can also be done with color. If all of your competitors’ material is printed in black and white, use something bright to stand out.

4. Don’t forget the call to action. Sometimes we get to caught up in describing our terrific product or service that we forget to ask for the sale. Don’t ever forget the purpose of the marketing piece you’re designing.

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