Re: Optimal line length for sales documents in pdf

Subject: Re: Optimal line length for sales documents in pdf
From: "Peter Neilson" <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 25 Sep 2015 06:17:06 -0400

On Thu, 24 Sep 2015 23:20:29 -0400, Di <dicorrie -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:

I have a new manager with a sales background.

He explained. That's because you write documents that people need to read.
This is a sales document. Sales documents are judged on the number of pages.

In general when I've been assisting for sales, the sales team get to build things as they see fit. A technical writer can test the technical validity of material by holding it up for technical people to view, and can even test to see if they understand it and deem it to be correct. I have even had sales people tell me that superb technical manuals are excellent sales tools.

For sales, the only proper test is whether the ad, brochure or website causes people to buy the product. The classic example (which even most advertising people say is rather overboard) is to run an ad upside down in the newspaper. The best members of a good sales team are always testing the impact of their material. If they tell you nobody reads the stuff, but the customers buy anyway because of the overwhelming impression of all your lorem ipsum, then that's what they need, at least today. Perhaps tomorrow it'll be different.

Your manager is substantially correct--at least today. In three weeks he may tell you (slightly more correctly) that the sales documents are being judged on whether or not they helped in selling the product. Sales effectiveness is difficult to measure, because you cannot go back and repeat the experiment under controlled conditions. Even if you keep the old material, it's a new test, every time. Yes, they are using the unscientific argument of "post hoc ergo propter hoc" but what else is available?
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