Have you ever asked your salespeople what your company’s brand means? Chances are you will get different answers from different people – and chances are none of their answers will be entirely correct either. In spite of the investment many companies make on developing and promoting their brands to their customers, little is done to build the brand integrity internally. As a result there is often a disconnect between what a company promises to its customers and what the salespeople are saying.
Branding (amongst many things) is designed to stimulate an emotional expectation. Armed with the feelings, stimulated customers meet with salespeople looking for confirmation of that promise. However if your salespeople are not brand aware chances are that promises will not be fulfilled.
Sales executives and channel partners are your company’s brand ambassadors. Their behaviour, attitude and knowledge determine how customers perceive the validity of the brand promise. If their behaviour is inconsistent with the brand promise you could destroy years of brand building.
How do we address this challenge? Peter Finkelstein, Barrett’s Sales Strategist, says involve your salespeople and channel partners in your company’s branding efforts. Start by determining their current level of knowledge and find any gaps, inconsistencies and misconceptions. From there you can deliver the product and brand knowledge they need to fulfill your brand promises.
And remember, any time you look to enhance your brand or even rebrand make sure you involve your sales team in the development. For instance, if your brand values display, amongst other things, a formal professional image, then your sales team should have the same demeanor. There is nothing more disconcerting for buyers than getting mixed signals – a neat and professional brand image sold by sloppy or casually dressed sales people. That is incongruent and creates cognitive dissonance in customers.
Peter Finkelstein says above all make sure that the brand philosophy runs throughout the entire business including the sales operation, finance, productions, service, administration, etc.
One of our clients has recognized the importance of including the operations and productions teams in the high level roll out of the new sales strategy and value proposition because they will be key to delivering the promise across the value chain and without them the promises cannot be kept.
A brand is more than just a name and a catchy logo; it’s an entire personality and way of being.
Remember everybody lives by selling something.
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