How to create b2b data sheets that drive sales

Data sheets … sell sheets … technical specifications …

Whatever you call them, they are an important part of any B2B salesperson’s toolkit. However, many B2B marketers load their data sheets with too much text and visual clutter. This not only causes your core message to get lost, but it also overwhelms your readers.

Here are five data sheet dos and don’ts that will help you turn more leads into customers:

1.  Do press the pain buttons.

Do Press Pain Buttons
You should still highlight your customers’ key pains and drivers in your data sheets.

B2B marketers often discuss their customers’ key pains on their websites and throughout their other marketing materials. However, these drivers tend to get overlooked in sell sheets, as many marketers launch straight into a discussion about the product. While discussing the product is the whole point of a data sheet, you should still highlight your customers’ key pains and drivers, as this will put the rest of the data sheet in context and show your customers that you understand what they are going through. 

2.  Don’t forget the benefits.

Cartoon horse on a stage standing on a ball with a dog balancing upside down on his head. Both have data sheets hanging off them.
You should include both features and benefits in your data sheets.

Many B2B marketers discuss their product’s benefits on their landing pages and its features in their sell sheets. However, you should include both features and benefits in your data sheets, as this will make your copy more compelling and provide customers with more reasons why they should purchase your product. A standard data sheet format includes a benefits list on the front page and features on the back page. However, you can also mention the benefits along with your features.

3.  Do explain why customers should partner with you.

Vintage dressed cartoon couple doing the charleston.
Make sure you explain why you are different.

In addition to features and benefits, you may want to include a sidebar or section that explains why you are different. This section can include your brand messages or proof points, such as a customer testimonial.

4.  Do aim for two pages.

Stick man pointing to a hand drawn white board that says 2 pages.
A data sheet that is single piece of paper makes it easier to distribute.

Ideally, your data sheets should be a two-page document that prints on a single sheet of paper. This makes it easy for your sales representatives to give copies of it to prospective customers.   

5.  Don’t fill your data sheet with visual clutter.

blue print of a rocket ship
Include compelling headers and sub-headers, as well as bullets, bold text and lots of white space.

Many customers today don’t have time to read a document – whether printed or on the web – word for word. That’s why you should format your data sheet for easy scanning. I see a lot of data sheets that cram too much into a tiny space. So, even if the copy is good, many customers won’t read it. Be sure to include compelling headers and sub-headers, as well as bullets, bold text and lots of white space. If you find that you need to cut text to give your data sheet a clean appearance, focus on your top three core messages and drop the rest.     

You should also link to your data sheets from your product pages, so potential customers can learn more about each product. However, I wouldn’t recommend asking leads to complete an opt-in form to download a data sheet. Most people wouldn’t trade their contact information to look at a data sheet, so you’ll get more eyes on your content if you leave your data sheets ungated.

2 Ways to Apply This Information Now

  1. Read How B2B Buyers Are Engaging With Your Content [Data] to learn what your customers want from your marketing. 
  2. Click to share this article on LinkedIn. Sharing quality content increases your visibility and credibility with your existing contacts, creating conversations and potentially new business.

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