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Phase 3

Phase 3 is an integrated marketing services company which provides solutions across the print and marketing spectrum. We were founded in Atlanta, GA in 2001 and have served corporate and enterprise clients across the country for over 20 years.

The Ins and Outs of Sales and Marketing Collateral



In many companies, there is a natural push-and-pull between the sales and marketing departments. This is because their functions are deeply interconnected. Yet when revenues are down, the blame becomes a hot potato passed between teams.

The Cost of Sales vs. Marketing


This gap in alignment between the sales and marketing functions costs U.S. businesses more than $1 trillion every year. Experts say this is because the lack of trust and understanding makes working together difficult; and, as a result, customer service suffers. In contrast, businesses with aligned marketing and sales teams are 67% more effective at closing deals and 58% better at retaining customers.


The Causes and Solution for Sales vs. Marketing


Many management experts, including the legendary Philip Kotler, have studied this informal "war" between functions. In a 2006 study, he wrote, "The strain between sales and marketing falls into two main categories: economic (a single budget is typically divided between sales and marketing, and not always evenly) and cultural (the two functions attract very different types of people who achieve success by spending their time in very different ways)."


Once companies are aware of the source of the conflict, they can take practical steps to move the teams into a more productive relationship. One step that Kotler suggests is for the teams to work together to create the materials they need to do their jobs. This process starts with understanding the strategy and goals for each team's materials. As interconnected as the sales and marketing teams' functions are, their tools are very different.


In this post, we'll compare the types of collateral your sales and marketing teams need, why collateral is important to each function, and how Phase 3 can help you develop a successful collateral strategy for your company.


What is Collateral?


For marketing or sales, collateral is any branded asset promoting your company, product, or service. These assets can be printed or digital. Examples include brochures, sell sheets, webpages, videos, emails, and event banners.


Why is Collateral Important?


Collateral materials guides a customer through their buyer's journey, from interest through consideration, intent, evaluation, and ultimately to purchase. Your collateral provides the education and information a customer needs to take these steps. With Google search and self-service customer websites, it's essential to understand that in 2022, 55% of buyers relied on researching product content to make purchasing decisions. If you are not creating this content, buyers will move on to find a competitor who does.


What is Marketing Collateral?


The marketing function takes place at the beginning of the customer's journey. A customer starts a journey when they identify a problem that needs to be solved and goes searching for an answer. Marketing aims to build awareness and interest in your brand's solution to that problem. Marketing collateral provides information and education about your products or services using the 4Ps of marketing: product, price, place, and promotion. The focus is on sparking interest and a desire for a consumer to want to know more about your brand. Make sure the information you provide is valuable to the customer and answers the questions they have about your solution. Why is this important? Because 41% of consumers look at three to five pieces of content before engaging with a salesperson. This is a very compelling argument for how important the marketing function is to your business. It fuels your customer pipeline.


What is Sales Collateral?


Sales collateral is more targeted to a specific customer or where they are in the customer journey. Sales collateral focuses on selling a particular solution after your marketing materials provide enough information and education to spark interest. This is done by highlighting the features of your products or services and how they solve the customer's problem. When done well, sales collateral can be the strategic nudge a customer needs to make a decision.


Navigating the Customer Journey with Collateral


Let’s drill down into the strategy behind the best collateral pieces for each stage of the customer journey.

  •  Awareness Stage: During this stage, the customer becomes aware that they have a problem. Your collateral must provide engaging content that demonstrates an understanding of the problem and shows them probable solutions. It should also introduce your brand and encourage further exploration. Your best collateral formats in this stage are your website, social media channels, videos, case studies, e-books, webinars, trade shows, and blog posts.
  • Consideration Stage: The buyer considers options to solve your problem by comparing the pros and cons of available solutions. Your collateral should provide the information the buyer needs to gain a favorable impression of your brand. The desired result for this stage is a lead inquiry for the sales department. Some examples of appropriate collateral include marketing emails, direct mail, corporate brochures, whitepapers, catalogs, and product sheets.
  •  Intent Stage: This is the stage where the sales department qualifies leads and provides them with targeted sales information. The best collateral for this stage includes product brochures, spec sheets, one-to-one emails, and product demos.
  •  Action Stage: In this stage, the buyer makes a final evaluation before deciding on a solution. This stage is usually very interactive. Appropriate collateral includes free trials, proposals, point-of-purchase displays, FAQs and testimonials.


Building a Collateral Strategy


It's clear that your sales and marketing teams depend on each other to succeed. They must work together to build a collateral strategy that meets your customers where they are by addressing their needs at the right time and in the right format. Each piece of collateral should build on others, so your customer makes the most informed decision.


Phase 3 will partner with your teams to ideate and implement an effective collateral strategy. We'll look at your existing materials and customer data and then work with your teams to create a collateral roadmap that engages your target customer. Then, we'll help you design and print your collateral, or create digital assets, to achieve your business goals. Our proprietary and customizable web-to-print procurement system, Media:Link, streamlines the distribution of collateral materials, allowing end users to select, customize, proof, and order print materials in any quantity. Contact us today and let us help you optimize how you connect with customers.