Sales collateral has an almost magical ability to multiply and can consume a significant portion of your marketing budget. With winter almost over, it’s not too early to think about “spring-cleaning” your print materials and to implement an ongoing sales collateral management program. Here are three steps to get you on the right path.
1. Evaluate your current inventory.
Physical inventory needs to be stored, and storage costs are typically based on the number of cubic feet your materials occupy. So the first thing you should do is make sure the literature you’re paying to store is both current and useful. Ask yourself:
- Do some materials contain redundant or substantially similar content?
- How often is each piece being ordered?
- What is the average order quantity for each piece, and how much is being ordered monthly and annually?
- Are there items that are ordered only seasonally?
- Are you keeping materials that are inaccurate, out of date or otherwise obsolete?
The answers to these and similar questions will help you with the next step in sales collateral management…
2. Discard, combine and streamline.
Here’s where you separate the winners from the losers, clear out the clutter and use production processes that better align with usage patterns.
- If you have a piece that literally flies off the shelf, it’s clearly a keeper. Reprint as needed.
- For materials with duplicate content, decide which is most cost-effective, taking into account things like order and usage rates and cost to produce. Keep that one and eliminate the others. If there’s some important content in a redundant piece that wasn’t in the original, rework the original to include it before you reprint.
- For pieces that are ordered infrequently or seasonally, consider eliminating physical stock and using digital printing to produce them on an as-needed basis.
- Finally, if you have obsolete materials – and I can almost guarantee you do – don’t be embarrassed. One CMO Council report found that 20 percent of all marketing materials are thrown away due to obsolescence.
Why do businesses end up with so much obsolete sales collateral? Factors like product modifications, price changes, and new regulatory requirements all play a part. So does printing more than you can use within the product’s life cycle or the document’s shelf life.
The important thing is to destroy or recycle obsolete collateral as soon as you realize it’s inaccurate or out of date. Don’t be tempted to keep it just a little longer – which wastes money on storage – or distribute it, which can undermine your company’s credibility and negatively impact your sales and revenue.
3. Set up a regular review process.
Once you’ve spring-cleaned your sales collateral, you can keep it lean and up to date by scheduling regular reviews. An online marketing portal can facilitate the process by letting you set automatic review and expiration dates and take materials off view when they expire. You can also use the portal to digitally print those seldom used or seasonal pieces, eliminating the expense of warehousing them.
Good sales collateral management practices can save you up to 30 percent on storage costs, as well as significant sums on printing. So it literally pays you to dispose of materials that are just taking up space, rework others to ensure they’re fresh and accurate, and produce materials using the most cost effective print process.
To learn more about potential problems with how you manage sales collateral, read our eBook: Why Your Marketing Fulfillment Program Sucks.