5 Tips for Creating Sales Aids that Sell — Simply

What is the difference between a brochure and a sales aid? Quite a bit.

Unlike a brochure, a sales aid (as the name literally indicates) is meant as a presentation tool for a sales person. The sales person presents it during face-to-face meetings. It is highly visual, succinct and has shorter copy points – basically, it’s simple.

What’s not simple is how to create an effective sales aid, especially in complex health care or business-to-business industries.

Here are five insider tips for making the sales aid (and sales aid development process) simpler:

1) Have a well-defined sales strategy
You’re not just pushing out a new product. The key to success will be identifying your opening and knowing where you are better, or at least different, than competitors. Hopefully, you will achieve a truly strong product superiority angle, but many successful strategies are borne of parity products with price, service or “overall value” benefits. Be honest about where you can deliver value then message boldly around that.

2) Build your pitch around one large, single benefit
While you must address multiple selling points for a product or service to resonate with the audience, the positioning should focus most on a single benefit or idea. For a medical device company that targets physicians ask, “If the doctor only remembers one thing, what should it be? What is the strongest value proposition?”

For a dental implant manufacturer it might be, “Xyz surface technology improves the rate of osseointegration.” For an allograft tissue supplier the key benefit might be, “Improved healing through rapid revascularization.”

3) Graphically depict the data
Visual bites (sound bites for the eye) easily get across key data to busy, distracted audiences. Figure out how to distill data into a “grade-school” chart or graphic with large numbers and simple shapes. Be sure to highlight features and BENEFITS. Remember, the sales person will answer detailed, complex data questions so there is no need to clutter the sales aid with massive charts filled with tiny type.

4) Start early on clinical claims and be ready to defend to regulatory
Start developing clinical claim goals early. In collaboration with product development, marketing should continually critique the claims being made and gather the backup needed to support them. It’s the regulatory / legal departments job to ask marketing to “prove it,” so the company stays in compliance with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s and other regulatory bodies’ guidelines. Don’t get caught off-guard or be forced to re-concept the sales aid due to language or images that misrepresent the product, service or company.

5) Create a Field Messaging Guide to improve sales force effectiveness and consistency
When both sales and regulatory departments agree to the strong, defendable sales message, create a detailed Field Messaging Guide for the sales force. The Field Messaging Guide is like the script for the performance and each salesperson must rehearse his or her lines! This is crucial to the success of the sales aid. A messaging guide helps to get the sales force on the same page, provides guidance to appropriately sell/represent the product or service, and showcases how salespeople can use the sales aid while maintaining their unique, individual sales approaches.

Turning a complex topic into a simple sales aid is not, well, simple. However, staying focused on the purpose of the sales aid and following these steps can simplify the process. The result will be an effective sales tool that simply sells.