How a company approaches a sale varies depending on industry, target audience, company size, and product. Sales techniques can even vary from region to region. For most B2B sales teams, there are three essential sales assets that keep people moving through the pipeline: an impressive pitch deck, a persuasive proposal, and a collaborative contract.

The Presentation Deck

Though a presentation deck is usually considered an early-stage sales document, it can have a longer shelf life. In addition to helping a salesperson make a good first impression, a presentation deck can be an important tool to help a client-side champion demonstrate the value of a product or service to other influencers and decision-makers within the organization.

To get the most out of this asset, salespeople must tailor a presentation’s content to each prospect so that it directly addresses the concerns most important to stakeholders. Overviews of the problem, solution, and supporting examples must be as specific and relevant as possible. And to make it easy for stakeholders to revisit the information presented in a pitch meeting, easy online access is critical.

The Proposal

A proposal is much more than a piece of marketing collateral. It offers a second opportunity to present persuasive details about a product or service during the early stages of the sales cycle. Using insights derived from the prospect’s response to a presentation deck, salespeople can create a proposal that proactively addresses potential roadblocks while also highlighting key features and benefits that will have high appeal.

Adding rich media elements like video to provide engaging and in-depth explanations about the value of your product can effectively push prospects further along the pipeline. Cisco’s 2014 – 2019 Visual Networking Index forecasts that by 2019, consumer internet video traffic will represent 80 percent of all consumer internet traffic. Similar trends will likely be seen in business internet traffic as B2B buyers follow suit.

The Contract

Finally, when it’s time to sign on the dotted line, the closing process can’t slow things down. Contracts must be easy to access and modify so companies and their prospects can collaborate with ease and accuracy and maintain deal momentum. Studies show that an efficient and streamlined process has a direct correlation to higher close rates. In fact, 68 percent of best-in-class companies adopted electronic signature as early as 2012; today, it’s virtually the default for B2B sales teams.

Each of these three documents plays a critical role in helping educate, guide, and influence prospects. Paying attention to the details of every stage of the sales process can make or break a deal. Making your key pipeline documents consistent, but flexible; accessible; and built for collaboration will help your sales team shorten your sales cycle and improve their close rates.