For many years, I have been creating operating manuals for my customers’ products. The whole modular and efficient process, with a Content Management System (CMS). Also the feedback on the comprehensibility and informational content of the instructions were positive. So, alright, no action required.
But then the technical director came to me with a new challenge, for which I was initially very uncertain whether this task was really something we, as a company, should be considering. After all, one actually learns quite quickly on the way to becoming a technical writer: "Marketing and Technical Documentation: They don’t go together.”
What’s this all about? The sales staff of our customer used technical data sheets during the sales discussions, in order to document with their end-customers which of the many design variants and options would be the most appropriate solution. These data sheets were quite minimalistic and included only the pure technical information. However, what was missing in the sales pitches was background information that salespeople could use to explain to the end-customer why a particular option would make sense now, and how it differs from alternative options or competitive products.
Since some of this information was contained in the manual, I was approached.
Together, we then developed a solution. The "technical description" was born. It was a nice blend of data sheet, functional description, and marketing information. These descriptions are prepared in an attractive way and contain exactly the information that salespeople need for conversations with their end-customers.
The trick is that we can reuse many modules from the operating instructions in these technical descriptions. In addition, the operating instructions benefit from the higher-quality preparation of the content that we have developed for the technical descriptions. So it makes sense that the preparation of these documents is performed by the technical documentation department and not by the Marketing department.
Nowadays, the technical description is a classic that exists for all of my customers’ products and is a real help for the sales staff.