Think your marketing department has set your sales team up for success? Think again.

According to an oft-cited study conducted by the American Marketing Association, 90% of the sales tools created for sales teams aren’t even touched. And the number one reason noted by sales professionals: Sales tools provided by marketing just aren’t effective.

In fact, sales people often invest up to 30 hours a month creating their own sales tools, such as power points and pdfs, meaning companies are essentially paying for the same work to be done twice!

The average company invests over $43,000 in marketing per salesperson –that’s a lot of money wasted if your sales team isn’t set up for success from the very beginning. Which means avoiding the mistakes that stand to blur your message, slow conversions and hinder your sales team.

Here are 4 common mistakes that cause sales members to dodge your sales tools: 

1. The sales tools aren’t customizable.

In a story told by John Aiello, CEO of software provider SAVO in a newsletter by ITSMA, many members of his sales team weren’t using provided marketing material because it wasn’t customizable; the 1-800 number provided on collateral didn’t provide the opportunity for members of the sales team to hit quota goals. This clearly removed all incentive for the sales team.

By making marketing materials customizable – either by providing space for personalized business cards or editable PDFs – companies can not only incentivize sales to use the materials, but also lend to a greater connection with the sales rep, which often boosts conversions.

2. Your sales tools tout your company, instead of discussing your prospect’s problems and the solutions your products can provide.

This is one of the most common mistakes made by marketing divisions across the board: The marketing materials that are created highlight a company’s values, its accomplishments, its team members and its goals. While the “warm and fuzzies” are great, and perhaps speak to an organization’s dependability – your potential clients don’t care. More than that, in a world of content overload this will certainly not help your message stand out.

Customers want to know how your product will improve their bottom line. They want a direct, no fluff answer to the questions they face every time they sit down at their desk. They need to know how your product will impress execs and help them exceed their goals.

3. There’s no teaser that drives to your website.

The web presents an incredible opportunity to pick up where the sales team left off, and build upon leads and relationships that are being nurtured throughout the sales funnel.

People are busy. Not only do potential clients increasingly prefer quick and easy PDFs over meetings and phone calls, they are distracted by inboxes, fetchback ads and their workload.

So how are your materials grabbing their attention and demanding to be read in full? Well, sometimes they just won’t. Which is why it could prove beneficial to tease them with a piece of content that can only be found on your website; a dynamic video, white paper or special report that promotes intrigue and promises to solve their problems.

4. Your sales tools don’t effectively highlight success stories and case studies.

Testimonials are great, but are they effective? They can be, but only if done correctly. How many times have you seen a generic testimonial that reads, “This Company was fast and easy to work with and I love their product!” While another great warm and fuzzy, it doesn’t answer the question your prospects are asking: What will your product do for my bottom line?

In order to see a lift in conversions, your sales tools should clearly state that a particular product is able to – funny enough – provide a lift in key performance indicators (KPIs). And the more specific the better. Be sure to mention actions taken, time frames and results for KPIs. For example, highlighting a case study could read:

“By strategically adding three specific case studies to trifolds – each one addressing a different customer concern — our client was able to lift conversions by 47% in three months.”

Along the same lines, highlight a testimonial that gets specific. For example:

“Our subscriptions had plateaued, and we weren’t sure how to address this issue. Your Product and its ability to tap a new market was the perfect solution, and helped up see a 32% subscriber increase in just six weeks’.

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