With remote meetings the new normal and more firms looking to go paperless, conventional sales materials are increasingly being overshadowed by their customisable digital counterparts. More flexible and interactive than PDFs, and unsusceptible to the rogue user editing of slide presentations; digital sales tools really can transform customer experience and sales through clever use of data. Here are seven reasons why they have the edge:
1) Increased engagement
Unlike the linear, page-by-page approach of traditional sales tools, digital sales aids allow for customised story paths and interactivity. While PowerPoint presentations are great for large audiences, they fail to make best use of on-to-one engagement on a small screen. When material is enhanced with interactive elements, it improves message retention. Simple actions such as moving a slider, entering information to make a calculation, or just clicking a link it provides the user with some control and involvement. You don’t have to make the whole presentation interactive – just a few simple interactions at important points can increase engagement and capture data on what matters most to you.
2) Data capture for customer understanding
Because digital sales tools can track interactions, they provide data that helps you better understand the customer. Even simple interactions will highlight most-viewed parts of the presentation to let you see what interests them. With more sophisticated data gathering, you can see whether you have raised their interest in the product, and discover specific issues they have that you can help them overcome. Most digital sales aids will have two kinds of data collection: tracking message delivery (quantitative) and message response (qualitative). Where quantitative message tracking tells you ‘what’, qualitative customer response data tells you ‘why’ by measuring users’ opinions and understanding. With a combination of the two, you can build up a detailed picture of user needs and motivations.
3) Highly-targeted communications
One of the challenges of B2B marketing is communicating with different audiences that have different drivers and needs. In healthcare, for example, procurement are more interested in a product’s cost and time efficiencies in management, whereas nurses and doctors would be more interested in the health benefits, benefits to end patients and time efficiencies in treatment. E-detailing allows for different UX for various audiences. This saves them time and enhances engagement by showing only the product benefits and information that relates to their needs. Company reps can also work at an individual level with health care providers, providing ‘just-for-you’ communications that deepen their relationship with the brand
4) Video and moving graphics for more impact
Digital sales aids allow marketers and sales reps to break out of dry, linear formats, and bring messages to life with embedded video and moving graphics. Rather than ploughing through lists of benefits in a PDF, the user is presented with useful content that shows rather than tells. Moving image can present and appealing visual tour of the product, showing how it works, and its ease of use. Punctuating written content with more dynamic content types allows marketers to build a stronger brand narrative for increased engagement.
5) High quality, consistent customer experience
Digital sales aids help sales representatives deliver a high-quality, consistent customer experience, building trust and brand affinity. As marketing tools, they keep teams focused and on-message. They are pre-populated with content for use in the field, based on your marketing strategies. Yet if the customer wants to follow a different path through the information, other approved content can be quickly accessed. Content can be updated and made more effective with data insights, while being centrally controlled.
6) They can connect with your CRM system
By connecting your digital sales aid to your customer relationship management system, you can automise follow up for a personalised experience and better sales processes. The email can refer to customer responses in the demo, and flag up automised communication to the sales team to prompt them to re-engage. The data stored can provide relevant information for the sales team to draw on in future conversations.
7) Controlled content that is easy to update by central marketing
Central control of content means it can be ‘retired’ when needed, so there are no old copies circulating – which is crucial in highly regulatory industries such as a healthcare and finance. Material can be regularly updated with fresh content that applies the lessons learned from customer data – even being updated while sales representatives are on the road. Well-designed digital sales material allows you to quickly assess its effectiveness in the field, so you don’t have to wait months to find out if a campaign worked or not. You can respond swiftly, updating messaging and going back with new information, saving valuable time.
Data-driven communications don’t have to be complicated. Just starting small with one product and KPIs for your first marketing project will demonstrate the benefits. Creating a presentation with two different story paths and a couple interactive elements will provide valuable insights and prove the concept. And each step builds digital competencies for a paperless future that is arriving fast.
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