Tag Archives: Graphic Design

Targeting The Three Buying Phases

My previous post Diversify Your Materials for Sales Success focused on asking the question “Are you putting out materials and touching clients for each of the three buying phases?”

So, if you’ve sat and determined there is a gap, then what?

Strategy is key

First, I always recommend a strong sales and marketing plan – time and money spent on these strategic documents provide the road maps businesses need to plan for success and growth, not to mention make jobs like mine much easier. No ESP needed, simply follow the plan. It saves guessing, multiple revisions and in the end money.

For this post though, let’s assume you have one. Here is a breakdown of the three buying phases and some of the tools businesses can use.

My little disclaimer: Please keep in mind there are hundreds of different tools you can use, it would take many posts to cover them all. This is simply meant as an overview to get people thinking about possibilities.

Phase 1: Education

This phase is characterized by clients thinking of changing their status quo and committing to change. While you are always looking for new clients, many of your existing clients are ideal for these materials since they already trust you. Keep top of mind for when they are ready – Like sales blogger Anthony Iannorino says, Sell from in front.

Tools:  Networking, events and trade shows, websites with downloadable resources and information, soft touch online tools such as social media channels with online education like slideshows, idea/inspiration catalogs and epub/tablet publications, advertising and direct mail. Each industry is a little different, but the need to get your company and product in front of them before they want to buy is important to all of them.

Phase 2: Active Buying

Clients are generally exploring possibilities in this phase and finding solutions to meet their needs. Your materials need to be speaking to the right audience and answering their questions and needs in both print and accessible online digitally.

Tools: Data/tear sheets, presentations on computer or tablets, promotional flyers, catalogs, product demos, white papers, case studies and of course the sales kit with the company information are just a few options available, all of them should be available digitally. Potential clients will be interacting with your staff and possibly your environment, so well branded signage, literature, company stationary and product/service information are important to keep you top of mind.

The danger during this phase is advertising for the competition, so you want to make sure you don’t look like everyone else, that your materials project your company authentically and encourage them to keep coming back with valuable information that will help them make their decision.

Phase 3: Closing

Here clients are justifying a solution and making a decision. The key is to know who the decision maker is and provide what’s needed to them and the people influencing the sale in order to close it.

Tools: A consistent brand from internal documents such as stationary, cover sheets and such are important here for a professional and credible image. Proposals, quotes and presentations are usually at the management level. Client lists and testimonials help to reinforce credibility. Testing samples and supporting data/spec sheets are usually the base for the engineer decisions, the buying process and customer service touch points will affect the outcome during and after the delivery. So making sure that you are consistent throughout is critical for client retention and loyalty.

Moving forward

As mentioned above, these are just a few tools, the big heavy hitters. For real buy in from your sales team I often recommend that companies have a team brainstorming session. Your staff are in front of your clients and prospects daily, they often know parts of what is missing and needed. They likely have a number of these tools half done for proposals and pitches they’ve done before. Decide what’s usable and refine it, why reinvent the wheel?

With a strategic plan and direction from your sales team getting a set of sales tools designed to help move your sales forward in a measurable way through all three phases is achievable.

If you have tools that have worked for you are welcomed to share, please post them in the comment section. Needless to say, please refrain from selling products here.


Outsourcing Your Design Headache

“I hate doing flyers. I’d like to have an idea for a product flyer and a few days later have a sample for me to approve.
That would be great…Is that possible?”

Yes it is.
For many companies the answer is outsourcing.

I got into this business because I love what I do. Many entrepreneurs do the same, the trouble is we can’t be good at everything and the things we aren’t strong at drain our time and energy.

Creatives like me hire book-keepers because they can do the books three times faster, it’s right the first time and we are free to work on billable work. Outsourcing work to a graphic designer is no different.

You know your business

You know your market and likely have a sales manager or business development person who comes up with great ideas to go after those sales. The gap in growing sales with materials is often design.

Here’s some benefits of outsourcing design:

1. Saving time and money

A good designer creates templates that are used and evolve as your business grows. Templates allow for consistency and quality while keeping your costs predicable and manageable. Turn arounds are faster and with a schedule done in advance, approval schedules are more predicable. All of this without the commitment of hiring a full time designer.

2. Building your brand

With time and repetition your audience gets to know you and your look. They spend less time trying to figure out who is sending them information and more time paying attention to the product sale you want to tell them about. With each new edition they recognize you more. Quality and consistency builds trust and loyalty, a foundation to growing a business and sales.

3. Expand sales initiative

You and your team have the ideas, a graphic designer creates the materials to support it and get it done. Your team works on developing outlines for things like product sheets and catalogs while the design work is done. Your staff now have the time to get the sales you’ve hired them to get.

Outsourcing Communications

There’s so much more to business communications: Marketing, web site design, writing, media relations and photography are just a few categories. There is an abundance of independents out there hungry for your business and wanting to help companies grow.

If you are considering hiring a communications professional I highly recommend checking out the Halton Peel Communications Association, I’m privileged to regularly meet with this group of professionals. Check out the membership directory or post your request.

Of course, should you ever need a consultation for graphic design work, I’d be happy to talk to you 🙂