Sales Kits: What Are They and How Do You Design Them?
Sales kits are to sales reps what medical bags were to doctors.
Although you’re more likely to see a businessman or traveler carrying around a traditional leather Gladstone bag (doctor’s bag), sales kits are still front and center as a learning and promotional tool for sales reps. Even if they no longer require a physical kit.
Probably the best sales kit definition we’ve come across describes them as a collection of products and/or service-related documents, used by the sales teams to navigate the buyer across the sales cycle.
Whether the sales kit is used as a carrying case to show multiple clients product samples, as a leave-behind with information, or a combination of both, creating a sales kit that reflects your company well and gives the sales rep everything they need to make the sale is vital.
Today’s sales kits come in all different sizes, shapes, and levels of complexity. They can be everything from high-tech to low-tech, formal to creative, simple to intricate, big enough to need a meeting room, or small enough to fit in your pocket.
The perfect sales kit for your organization is the one that best reflects your brand and your product. Other than that, the sky is the limit.
Where Do You Start?
According to Tekcess International,
“Sales kits are like snowflakes. No two are the same.”
They then go on to distill three main categories: every effective sales kit should contain a “why-buy presentation,” proof presentations, and data to support your claims.
We’re going to tweak these three categories for our purposes:
- Why-buy = branding and packaging
- Proof presentations = product samples and leave-behinds
- Supporting data = sales literature
Sales Kit Branding
What are you really selling? You’re always selling more than just your products and/or services. You’re selling who you are, what’s important to your company, and what you offer to your target market.
That’s, in part, why a sales kit needs to include branding. Branding is about more than logos, colors, and fonts. Branding is what quickly and easily identifies your company and makes you stand out from the rest.
“The more people associate certain colors, logos or taglines with a company, the more comfortable they feel with it.”
When it comes to creating an effective sales kit, you can’t afford to ignore branding. You want people to see your brand and think, “Oh, those are the guys who can help me with XYZ. We should give them a call.”
Branding on a sales kit doesn’t just inform your targeted client. It informs everyone who touches any part of the sales kit. When a potential or current customer brings home the branded mug you gave away in your sales kit (or branded pen, fridge magnet, etc.), anyone who picks up the mug will be exposed to your company.
And you never know when that will prompt a call and a sale.
Or, the branding on all the literature in your sales kit can get passed around the office or make its way as a referral to other companies. Take advantage of the opportunity to widen the scope of your reach by first developing a branding kit and then including it on everything in your sales kit and on the kit itself.
Whether your sales kit is one that you take along to multiple sales meetings, is a leave-behind package for individual customers, or gets sent to prospective customers you can’t get in front of, your branding needs to be front and center on the sales kit packaging.
Sales Kit Packaging
When your company includes a product or product line, you’ll want to have room in your sales kit to carry samples with you to show, unless you’re selling pianos, elephants, or something else that won’t fit into any size of a kit.
Of course, the sales kit “box” or packaging you need to carry your samples in can be different from any sales kits you leave behind at the end of the sales meeting. Ideally, you’ll always leave something behind — sales literature or a branded gift that reminds the client of your product or service.
There’s an entire industry devoted to creating custom sales kits that let you get your message across visually. The goal of your package should be to create a “wow moment.” These moments are “powerful loyalty drivers and reputation builders.”
Custom sales kits are:
“Essentially a condensed representation of what your business and products are all about — a kind of portfolio of your business’ products and services.”
When it’s a fight to stand out from your competition, creating an initial wow moment with the packaging of your sales kit sets up the rest of the meeting as something unusual, apart from the rest, and perhaps even special. This emotional response will continue long after the meeting and gets reinforced every time your customer relives or shares the experience.
That makes it worth devoting some of your sales and marketing budgets to designing the best and most creative packaging you can afford. Sales kits are a big investment, and the cost can only be considered worthwhile if they “get a response, a sale, or create enough interest to make the customer pick up the phone.”
To get to that wow moment, it helps to do some homework. First, research your target market, especially those who purchase 50% or more, to understand the design, copy, and images that appeal the most to them.
Sales kit packaging can be three-dimensional or a simpler folder-style to hold print material. Even a simple literature folder can create a wow factor with die-cuts, embossing, foil-stamping, and fold-outs. A more common sales kit usually consists of some type of “box” that can hold product samples as well as literature.
Many different package styles and materials are used today to make custom sales kits. Consider your audience when you choose your packaging materials. If your brand “values sustainability, the design should consider using recyclable materials in the construction…of the kit.”
If your sales kit includes a product or product samples, incorporating foam inserts helps display, keep them in place and protect them from damage.
Check out this link for a free ebook download called “5 Things You Must Know Before Starting Your Product Packaging.”
Sales Kits Product Samples and Leave-Behinds
Most sales reps leave behind a product sample if they can. Understandably, not every company sells something that can be sampled if, for instance, the product is too big, too expensive, or consists of something intangible.
If you have a product sample to leave behind, you’ll want to ensure that it has your branding somewhere on the product. Don’t overwhelm the sample with your branding, or it may not ever leave the office. Today’s buyers can appreciate a useful product, but unless you’re Cocoa Cola or Nike, your logo and company info might not look great enough to get incorporated into a customer’s daily life.
If what you’re selling isn’t something that works as a product sample, you’ll need to get a little more creative. And that’s where “leave-behinds” come into play. This term refers to anything you can give to a potential or current customer to keep your business at the front and center of their mind.
This is more than just a thank you for the opportunity of presenting at a sales meeting; it’s another way to imprint the value your company offers. Other than product samples, the next best leave-behind is one that relates to the customer’s business. And has your branding on it.
The best leave-behind is:
“The one that a) the customer wants to hang on to, b) has relevant, easy-to-reference information, and c) contains your contact information in an easy-to-find location.”
If you’re having any struggles deciding what to choose for your leave-behind, we’ve listed some examples below to give you inspiration.
Some ideas for related leave-behinds include:
- Custom home building company — carpenter’s pencil, tape measure, or some other tool
- Real estate agents — key chains
- Sports team — water bottles
- Trucking company — ball cap
- Dentist — a tooth-shaped stress ball
- Gas fireplace company— blanket or lawn chair
- Airline — small under-seat backpack, duffel, or sports bags
Some generic leave-behind ideas:
- Fridge magnets
- Sticky notes
- Anti-fatigue mats
- Coffee cup
- Travel mugs
- Cutting board with knife
- Golf umbrella
The Advertising Specialty Institute says that 76% of consumers who own a calendar display it prominently in their homes or offices. That kind of brand exposure makes investing in calendars as a simple leave-behind easy for any budget.
Whatever your budget, leaving some tangible item behind has proven to make a difference in sales. According to the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI), 83% of consumers say they’re more likely to work with a brand after receiving a promotional product.
Sales Kits Literature
No sales kit would be complete without the necessary literature and paperwork that provides the necessary information your clients and customers need to know. Go back to the who, what, where, when, why, and how rules for journalism to make sure you’ve covered all the bases as you create documents and other print materials to support your sales pitch.
Ideas for print materials:
- Business cards
- Company overview
- Cover letter (if the presentation isn’t in person)
- Product catalogs and/or brochures
- Features and benefits
- Specification sheets
- Product data sheets
- Proof presentations
- Industry research
- Industry-specific articles
- Pricing lists
- Business proposal
- Competitor comparisons
- Case studies
- Customer testimonials and referrals
You likely won’t need all of the ideas listed above, and maybe not many of them. While there’s a certain amount of printed information that’s necessary and useful, it should be restricted to only what’s essential and helpful.
You might be wondering if print is dead. Canny Creative, a marketing company from Cramlington in the UK, doesn’t think so.
Staff member, Amy Johnson, says:
“[Print materials] still bring a tangible element to your business and give clients something physical to take away with them…print is not dead.”
In their experience in the marketing industry, print alone “is no longer going to cut the mustard.” But that’s not the end of the story.
Sales Kits for Sales Reps
Although, in general, sales kits are used to “get buyers across the sales cycle,” there are sales kits that are designed to support the sales reps both before and after they make a client presentation.
It’s worth noting that this type of kit is also a critical part of getting buyers across the sales cycle. If your sales reps aren’t clear on exactly what and how they’re selling, there will be unnecessary confusion.
Creating an internal sales kit also helps with onboarding new staff. Getting a new team member up and running quickly can help the company’s bottom line by preventing misinformation, uncertainty, and gaps in knowledge.
Ideas for training print materials:
- Call scripts
- Voicemail scripts
- Email correspondence templates
- Qualifying questions
- Common customer objections
- Objection responses
- Sample closes
Do You Need a Digital Sales Kit in 2022?
Not too long ago, thumb drives and flash drives were the cutting-edge way to deliver information. We all celebrated the ways in which this little USB drive was saving our trees and, by extension, our planet.
When it came to sales kits, including one of these little drives into its own foam insert gave sales companies ways to save on printing costs, contribute to global welfare and have another opportunity to leave behind a branded “gift.”
But now it’s the 21st century, and USA Today says the days of these data drives are over.
“Cloud technology has made USB drives redundant and, worse, a liability since they could easily get lost. Most of them have vanished into junk drawers, exiled with old cell phones and various chargers, forgotten.”
Just a minute. The Geek Insider begs to differ. To our collective surprise, and despite the “vast cloud and all it has to offer,” USB flash drives still have relevance today. And that’s good news for a sales kit.
Whether it’s for privacy concerns or your customer isn’t guaranteed reliable WiFi, having one of these small devices means the information you want your customer to have access to is secure and independent from modern technology.
These cost-friendly, useful, tiny, and brandable leave-behinds can still be a valuable contribution to giving your clients access to everything they need to find pricing, read about your company, and order the products you’re hoping to sell.
So while we can’t figure out a way to get your company to buy you a Gladstone bag for your sales kit, we hope these ideas give you a great jump start on putting together a winning and effective sales kit that gives you confidence and gets you sales.