A successful sales process gives your organization visibility into prospect engagement, opportunities to personalize sales materials, and a more efficient way to close. Choosing the right technology also allows you to learn about your prospects and customers at every stage of the sale and adjust your messaging accordingly.

Armed with that knowledge, why do we opt to use PDFs during the sales process? PDFs don’t accomplish the basic goals of a strong sales process, acting more like a static brochure than a window into our audience. Where do they click? How long do they spend on an email, contract or an eBook page? These questions go unanswered when we send a PDF.

Here are critical reasons why PDFs are slowing down your sales process and possibly losing you deals.

We Engage Online

PDFs have become the default for forms, proposals and contracts, but their customization is limited. Online documents offer options like personalization, tracking and interactivity – all critical elements for both salespeople and prospects.

We Thrive on Data

Presentations, proposals, quotes and contracts aren’t often viewed as living documents; but the data gleaned from prospect engagement with these assets can be invaluable. If your prospects are online, your approach to the sales process should be too. Mine the data and use it to your advantage.

We Lose Visibility

Without visibility into customer engagement, it’s difficult for sales leaders to create accurate sales forecasts. And when sales leaders can’t forecast accurately and meet their numbers, the entire organization suffers. Blend data and forecasting. Period.

So when we stop using a PDF, how does a sales team tackle the issues of effective communication and closing the deal?

Sales leaders can win by gathering inputs from three key areas: Your audiences, your counterparts and the information in front of you:

  • Listen to customers. Sales doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Ask prospects and customers how they prefer to receive sales materials and work with your team to make it happen. An open dialogue with marketing is critical as you plan, adjust and disseminate your messages.
  • Listen to your sales team. Is your current sales stack making their jobs easier or harder? Can they create and find sales materials quickly, or is it taking them hours or days? Invest in a sales tech stack that helps your team concentrate on building long-lasting customer relationships instead of spending hours on non-selling, administrative tasks.
  • Listen to the data. If you use a CRM, there’s a treasure trove of information that can point you toward what kinds of content work and what doesn’t work. Let your customer guide you toward more tailored messaging and a better process.

PDFs are a tool of the past, a part of the evolution of an aligned sales and marketing team. When sales delivers messages that truly speak to prospects and customers and their “responses” can be analyzed, your organization is better positioned to achieve and exceed sales goals.