A business is as much dependent on its sales and marketing as it is dependent on product, delivery, and services. Sales team is supported by sales support teams like, inside sales, PreSales, and marketing and communications. Services, delivery, and implementation contribute to the image of a product or an organization, essentially through word-of-mouth. Additionally, pitching a product or service in the marketplace is as important as dressing up a bride for the wedding.
Marketing and Communications, or MarkComm, plays a vital role in placing a product or a service in the marketplace. Sales, and sales support, like inside sales and PreSales, are also dependent on the marketing team. MarkComm may receive various requests to create flyers, brochures, to spruce up presentations, and to create press releases. MarkComm, in turn, is dependent on the delivery team or the production floor to provide the write-ups and other material information for the mentioned requests. At times, sales and sales support may demand custom-made material for their pitches, presentations, and/or campaigns. However, there could be a mismatch between expectations and reality. The intent and the need may not be as clearly articulated or understood, and the sales team may experience a resistance from the MarkComm in deviating from the standards of a marketing tool. A brochure and a presentation will serve different purposes, whereas, a four-in-one marketing tool would be the BDMs’ expectation. A quick review of some marketing tools is presented below. Please note that the mentioned standards apply to both, printed and digital marketing tools.
Also called a leaflet or a handbill, the standard size of a flyer is 8.5 inches by 11 inches or A4 size. This single page tool is handed out or hung at public locations. A flyer is typically used for event announcements, promoting a new product, a service, or opening of a new place, campaigning, local advertisements, and/or factsheets at a conference or shows. A flyer is also distributed with the newspapers or magazines as an insert. The intent is to grab prospective client or customer’s attention. Flyers act as teasers and get the people interested in your product or service. When creating a flyer, the focus should be on the headline to attract the reader and elicit interest. A coloured flyer with a better design and quality is called a leaflet.
A pamphlet is a multi-sheet booklet with pages stapled or stitched together. A pamphlet will not be hardbound. It can be a single sheet printed on both sides or multipage or multi-sheet. Pamphlets can be either a bunch of flyers, or brochures depending upon your marketing requirements. A pamphlet may be used for providing a product or service catalogue, reference material, or manuals.
A brochure is different from a flyer where, a single sheet of paper is folded two times (bi-fold) to create four panels or three times (tri-fold) to create six sections. The information is printed on both sides of a better quality paper, with graphics added to it. Brochures are printed in colour. Unlike flyers, brochures are not disposed of after one read and are kept for future reference, as they contain vital information about the organization. Each section of the brochure should present a specific information and describe it briefly. Include some graphics, vital information about your organization listing the key differentiators, awards and recognitions, if any, clientele, if approved, testimonials, and most important, company USP. Brochures should be used only when a prospect shows interest in your services or product and wants more information before making up their mind. Sell the benefits of your product or service to the customer instead of jamming them with the information about your company. A customer may not be as interested in your achievements and will be looking to know how you can serve their interest with your products or services.
For getting a client interested, the first reference material shared should be flyers and not brochures.
Some of the types of folds in brochures are illustrated below:
A white paper is a complete report on a subject or a problem statement, with statistics, that helps to educate the reader about the topic, its merits and demerits, and its impact on the reader and/or their organization. A white paper should be used to educate the reader and not to promote your organization. A white paper can also reflect an organization’s philosophy or position on a challenge, product, or service and may discuss the types of solution. A white paper should have the following headers: introduction, problem statement, background (advertise your skills to solve the problem), solution, and conclusion. It is a great marketing tool and adds value to your prospecting when shared with the client who needs educating. White papers play a very important role in digital marketing and are a crucial part of an effective organizational website.
Case studies are stories of the work done by an organization. Case studies present the documented proof of handling a problem for a client. It highlights the expertise used in resolving a situation through custom solution. A case study is different from a white paper as it only covers the problem presented, solution provided, and benefits measured. A white paper may not be as contextual and may talk about the philosophy or the perceived solution. However, a case study would present the real-time scenarios of a situation handled. Primarily, the case study will have the project name, client detail, business need, solution, highlights, benefits, screen grabs, and client testimonials. Case studies can be shared with the client independently, added to a proposal, or inserted in the presentations for prospecting.
In sales and marketing, a presentation is the backbone of any prospecting. A business development manager (BDM) depends on a good presentation or a slide deck to sell its organizational services and product. A presentation ideally begins by introducing the organization, followed by services offered, verticals serviced, key differentiators, clientele, awards and recognitions, and then drills down to specifics on various products and services, including the models adopted, solutions applied, and case studies. A presentation should follow all the rules of creation and should not end up becoming a thesis. A presentation should always remain an aid, limiting the information to key points. A presentation speaks volumes if represented graphically.
Tips for Good Writing
Decide the topic of importance: In corporate scenario, a repository will have some pre-designed topics and their collaterals. However, many papers will be written as per the requirements received from various prospects.
Write succinctly: It is not an exam paper where marking may be dependent on the number of sheets filled. Redundancies are, at times, important. However, do not overkill. It appears good to present same set of information differently, and under different heads, giving the impression of addressing each point in client’s RFP. Nonetheless, client can identify repetitions. Use brevity to prevent your writing from looking unprofessional.
Executive summary: Introduction or executive summary can set the ball rolling. Use this first section cleverly to make a point.
Emphasize your USP: Instead of beating around the bush, be upfront and present your strengths.
Be honest: Do not try to fib. Use real data. Mention your capabilities and own up your lack of experience. Show your skills, and mention the lack of opportunity for using those skills. Use the forum/writing space to inform how you can make a difference, if given a chance.
Write in a flow: Write the entire paper at a go so as not to lose the flow, connect, effective transitions, and important thought process.
Proofread: Read, re-read, and then re-re-read whatever you write for professional consumption. Avoid Indian-ness by translating your vernacular idioms or language into English. Use the appropriate idioms and phrases as per the language. Edit your paper carefully and stick to all grammar standards. Your writing should never be informal, and if you are a writer, your SMS will be formal too.J
Use in-built proofreading tool: MS Word has a great tool for proofreading your document. It can identify spelling errors, subject-verb disagreements, and much more. Turn the features on and use them optimally.
Use graphics: Charts, graphics, tables, and figures are more effective and help break the monotony of a paper. Use graphics smartly.
It makes sense to be as professional in your presentations as you would be in the delivery of your services. If we are in a business of writing, like content development and eLearning, let us exude the same in our initial collaterals that are shared with the client. Use expert help for creating graphics and sprucing our presenting material. Do not clutter each communication with the same amount of information. Each document shared should add to the information and pique client’s interest to ask for more. Make each communication tool look absolutely crisp and professional. If the prospect shows no interest after the first campaign, it may not be because of too little information, but for lack of need. An interested candidate can be scared off by too much information, and an uninterested client cannot be won with information overload. Choose your communication tool wisely when prospecting.
||Sarvam Sri Krishna Arpanamastu||