Digital Sales Rooms vs PDFs

Discover why top sales teams are using digital sales rooms instead of PDFs.

Rory Sadler
January 18, 2024
March 14, 2024
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Discover why top sales teams are using digital sales rooms instead of PDFs.

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Building a buyer-seller relationship is hard enough via email. However, relying on PDFs for your deal proposals, company brochures, product information, and final contracts undermines your sales success.

Why? Because your B2B contacts and corporate decision-makers don't open them. It's as simple as that!

But, if you're not attaching these documents to an email, how do you inform your prospects and guide them towards a sale?

Enter the Digital Sales Room (DSR) – an innovation in digital sales promising to educate, engage, and energise your potential customers. DSRs capture your target market's attention through interactive content and extensive integrations and drive them through the buyer's journey.

So, digital sales rooms vs. PDFs? How do they compare? And why should you embrace the latest in sales tools and technology?

Advantages of Interactive Content

Ever tried to update a PDF with new content? It's a cumbersome process and never really produces the right results. Harder still is grabbing your prospect's attention with the black and white print of a static PDF document.

Digital sales rooms, on the other hand, are fully interactive. That doesn't just mean videos and a few buttons. It means the DSR (or "Pod," as we call it) evolves throughout the sales journey.

Populate the Pod with content relevant to the buyer (answering their questions before they even ask), upload documents you can sign in the Pod via our eSignature integrations, or update a mutual action plan as you work together to close the deal.

But the advantages of interactive content don't stop there. You can also expect:

Dynamic Interactive vs. Passive Consumption

Unlike the static format of PDFs, digital sales rooms drive engagement and interaction via videos, live chats, and interactive demos. Buyers can choose which content they interact with and when altering proposals or mutual action plans as the deal progresses.

Real-Time Updates and Editing

Contrasting with the laborious process of updating PDFs, digital sales rooms allow for real-time content updates and edits. If you've just published a new guide or thought piece you believe a buyer will benefit from, add it to their Pod. That way, your buyer always has access to the most current information.

Analytics and Engagement Tracking

How often did a prospect open a PDF? How many minutes did they view it for? Don't know?! That's the problem with PDFs. DSRs, in contrast, capture everything your prospect does, allowing you to analyse the sales intelligence signals. You can track a prospect's progress through the buyer's journey every step of the way. 

Greater Results

Receiving a dense PDF is sleep-inducing. Not so with interactive content displayed in an engaging virtual environment. According to Outgrow, 81% of marketers agree that interactive content is much more effective at grabbing people's attention. And, with a 38% shareability rate compared to just 17% for static content, your prospects are more likely to share your DSR with key decision-makers within their organisation. 

Collaboration and Engagement

Nothing in life is static, so why should your proposals and action plans be? Promote active collaboration and engagement among stakeholders with interactive plans and ongoing conversations. It starkly contrasts the solitary, passive experience of scrolling through a PDF. DSRs foster active group discussions and swift consensus-building.

Limitations of Static PDF’s 

Here's a fact: the average DSR open rate is 76% vs. just 6% for PDFs attached to emails. Why the difference? Originally, PDFs were a genius invention – developed in the early 1990s, they allowed text, fonts, vector graphics, and images to be included in a single file for the first time. Later developments even allowed documents to be internally structured using links and other semi-interactive elements.

We've come a long way since the 1990s. You wouldn't rely on an original mobile phone to conduct your business calls, nor should you rely on PDFs to close your deals. 

That's just one reason PDFs have hit their expiry date in sales. Here are a few more:

  • Static and Uninspiring: PDFs lack the interactive and multimedia elements of digital platforms, leading to a less engaging and more monotonous experience for the reader.
  • Immutable Once Sent: After sending a PDF, any updates require resending the entire document, creating potential confusion and inefficiency.
  • Engagement Mystery: PDFs offer no insights into reader engagement, leaving you clueless about what works and what doesn't in your content.
  • Isolated Experience: Designed for solo consumption, PDFs miss out on fostering collaborative discussions and collective decision-making among teams.
  • Format Frustrations: PDFs often suffer from compatibility issues, with inconsistent formatting across different devices and software, leading to a less-than-optimal viewing experience.

Enhancing Customer Experience

The more complicated the customer experience, the more you expect them to do, the more obstacles you put in their way, the fewer deals you'll close. That's an ironclad law of sales. It's why videos do better than blog articles and why digital sales rooms outcompete PDFs.

But it also feeds into a bigger trend in sales: personalisation.

Unlike the one-size-fits-all approach of PDFs, DSRs are 100% customisable, depending on the prospect. You're not using a stock mutual action plan; you're working together to create a plan that's tailored to the customer's needs. Even the branding of the DSR changes in seconds, pulling the buyer's brand, colours, and imagery into the Pod.

Everyone has received a PDF; few customers have received a dynamic, interactive Pod that evolves as their needs change.

Furthermore, even if you get a prospect to read a PDF (and it's a big if), to respond, to change, to collaborate, they need to respond via email. With a DSR, however, integrated communication channels, like chat functions or video calls, allow for seamless and immediate interaction.

No wait times. No confusing email chains. No failing to find the email the PDF was attached to. Just everything your buyer could ever need, all in one place. It's a landmark shift in the customer experience – like comparing an early aeroplane to a rocket shift. Little wonder our clients see our digital sales rooms as out of this world.

Real-World Examples

Here at Trumpet, our digital sales rooms boast an impressive open rate of 76%. That's something most email marketers and PDF creators can only dream of. However, some companies take that benchmark and surpass it.

Sky Media, one of Europe's leading media companies, relied on generic PDF and video attachments for their cold outreach. Despite seeing some success, they were dissatisfied with the results. That was until they integrated trumpet into their sales prospecting.

Just three months later, the value of their opened Pods was £2.5 million, and their outreach open rate had soared by 150%. The difference was night and day. Plus, once they hooked prospects, they used the built-in communication tools to book demos and answer questions.

But it's not just about closing deals. Eola implemented trumpet into their customer success and customer onboarding efforts. Rather than sending a deluge of PDFs to read through, customers could browse a catalogue of content and education tools within the Pod at their own leisure.

Check out an onboarding Pod in action

Yet, despite this freedom, engagement shot up. Their onboarding time plummeted from 2 weeks to 3 days – a 78% reduction. Meanwhile, they closed four deals with new clients just 8 weeks after starting with our platform.

Haystack, a careers marketplace for tech, wanted to personalise its content. However, doing so meant it bothered the marketing and design teams to adjust every single PDF. trumpet transformed their efforts. Through the instant personalisation tools and drag-and-drop editors, they created high-conversion Pods within a matter of minutes.

The result? Here's what David Roddy, Head of Strategic Partnerships & Business Development, had to say:

"On an enterprise deal with multiple stakeholders involved, security settings at their end wouldn't allow me to share my screen to finish off a demo - trumpet allowed me to finish off a demo without them watching and then host it in a Pod to send over after. Not only did trumpet save the day on this occasion, but it also helped us shorten our time to close by 40% when working on enterprise deals."

Future Trends in Executive Decision-Making

What's next? Digital sales room will dominate over PDFs in the next few years. Digital sales rooms vs. PDFs? The battle is already won – it's time for everyone to realise it.

Indeed, according to Gartner, 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels by 2025. Such a landmark shift – the replacement of in-person interactions – cannot be satisfied with a thirty-year-old technology.

Industry thought leaders and sales professionals know this. That's why they're opting for sales that provide a personalised, data-rich experience; something DSRs excel at.

Sellers need digital sales tools to build the classic buyer-seller relationship that humanises a brand and engages customers. PDFs simply don't cut it. Nor do they convince executives to be more interested in a collaborative business environment.

And that's without mentioning data security. PDFs aren't secure. Anyone can copy and paste a document. Not so with DSRs. Executive decision-makers, conscious of cybercrime, want to conduct deals in an ironclad virtual environment. Once again, DSRs are the solution.

The verdict is in: Digital sales rooms are the new sales giants, relegating PDFs to history. The future is now.

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