Who needs collateral material?

The topic of collateral material comes up often at my company. Its one of those things that everyone has an opinion on, and every opinion seems to be a little different. From copy to color to images to layout, everyone seems to love offering their opinions on how a brochure should look. But is collatreral material really that important?

I heard it said once that the best sales person only needs a pad of paper and a pen. And at the risk of offending some of my colleagues in sales, there is a lot of truth to that.

During a sales meeting the other day, we were going back and forth about what should be in our brochures. After 10-15 minutes of “discussion”, our Executive VP said something that really rang true, and I am paraphrasing:

“Let’s not forget that you are the ones selling the companies services, not the brochure. Don’t get caught up in what the brochure says or doesn’t say. What’s important is that you are out there speaking with clients and prospects and demonstrating to them your expertise and convincing them you are the solution to their problem.”

This statement ended the conversation in its tracks. Everyone knew it was true and we all realized that “discussing” brochure content was probably not a great use of everyone’s time.

So who needs collateral material? I know who doesn’t, and those are the people I want to buy from.

The road less traveled

As I was sorting through my feeds over New Year’s looking for something that seemed interesting, I came across a post on GigaOM. Its titled With 2008, Let’s Say Good-bye to Mediocrity. My first thought was that it is truly sad that we even have to be saying this, and I think Mr. Om is actually being kind with his choice of words. In a country that put the first man on the moon, created the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction, invented the steamboat, telegraph, telephone, cotton gin, light bulb, airplane, transistor and so much more, have we really gotten to the point where we need a reminder that mediocrity is bad? It seems so.

If nothing else can be taken from the past year, it is a great reminder that mediocrity is not an ingredient in the recipe for success. One should always be looking for ways to improve processes, communications, service delivery, etc. If you are doing things the way they have always been done then chances are you are mediocre. You are traveling the same old road over and over.

To paraphrase a great American author, if you take the road less traveled, it will make all the difference. Happy new year.