Branding is a vital part of a customer’s overall experience. It leads them to your businesses, gives them a great point of reference, and convinces them to come back even when competitors come knocking with great offers.
When you’re working in sales, changes that are made to your company’s brand can be frustrating. It’s simply easier to put your head in the sand and stick to the same sales pitch that has always worked.
Businesses that never change usually fail, and a strong brand presence is one of the best ways to generate leads and improve your overall customer experience.
This means your sales team must understand that changes to branding are intended to make their lives easier.
So, here’s a quick guide to branding and how your sales team can leverage it to meet their targets.
Everyone knows what “branding” looks like — the logo design, colors, or taglines that you see hundreds of times a day. But why are business leaders and marketers so keen to create a strong brand image?
Well, brand image is vital to the success of your company. A business that can craft a strong brand marketing strategy will gain increased leads, hold a stronger retention rate amongst customers, and will improve the resilience of a company’s image if you encounter misfortune.
Marketers have many tools available to them when crafting a branding strategy and utilize market research like surveys, focus groups, and competitive analysis. Once a business has established its overall identity, it’s up to marketers to run effective campaigns which leverage your business’s identity and, hopefully, make the job of sales teams that much easier.
However, branding isn’t the marketing department’s responsibility alone. A recent survey found that 64% of consumers avoided brands entirely if they had a bad experience with a frontline employee like a salesperson. That means salespeople simply must understand how to effectively leverage branding.
How to Use Branding
So, now that you understand branding, you might be left wondering: why does it matter to me?
Well, a strong brand will simply help you sell more. Customers who are aware of your brand will already trust your firm and will understand your particular niche before you even speak to them over the phone or via email. This means that your sales team has something tangible to work with and will have a head start over competitors who fail to leverage branding and are comparatively unknown.
However, branding isn’t a magic wand that you can wave and then forget about. Sales teams must understand how to use branding within their sales strategies to improve customer experience and ensure they make meaningful connections with prospects. Here are a few ways branding can be used effectively by sales teams.
Insight Into Industry
In a B2B context, your leads are usually shopping around and speaking to many prospective businesses. This can be frustrating at times, as you can never know what is being offered by your competitors. But, by keeping branding in mind, you should be able to distinguish your business from competitors and establish a strong “why us?” statement.
That’s because marketers have already researched the market for you when creating branded materials, and have worked hard to foreground the elements of your company that help you stand out from the crowd.
So, the next time you schedule a call with a prospect who is known to shop around, take a look through your company’s website, and see how marketing has positioned your brand. Do you offer lower prices? A more dedicated after-care service? Greater benefits for purchasing? All of these insights will help you stand out and help your pitch align with the company-wide message.
Aligns with Company-Wide Message
Failing to align with your company’s vision is one of the biggest mistakes that a sales team can make. This usually occurs when salespeople have their heads in the sand and aren’t well acquainted with changes that have occurred in a business’s branding or marketing.
In the words of Jed Morley, everyone is a brand steward and has a responsibility to live up to brand promises. This will improve your overall customer experience and help you build rapport with customers. You can do this by regularly connecting with marketers and ensuring that open channels of communication exist between marketing and sales managers.
In time, a strong, company-wide vision will yield greater revenues and repeat purchases from customers who know what to expect when they get in contact with your sales team.
A good salesperson understands how to build relationships and create connections quickly. They can create rapport with customers in just a few questions, and understand the motivations that drive customer behavior. However, this can all be put into peril if that salesperson doesn’t use branding cohesively within their sales pitch. Simply put, if your branding is saying one thing, but your sales team is saying another, then your customers will be confused and could turn to competitors.
To overcome this, your sales team must understand that branding helps improve their emotional intelligence and create relationships. That’s because crafting emotional intelligence starts with reflection and self-awareness. You simply must be aware of your strengths and weaknesses to create a sales script that is appropriately empathetic and sincere.
Using branding in this way might seem “fake” or “forced” at first, but salespeople must remember that they’re trying to convince a prospect that the entire business is credible and trustworthy — not just the person on the end of the phone. So, the next time you’re editing your sales pitch, try to imagine ways that you can use your branding or messaging to bolster your emotional intelligence and credibility.
Sales teams are one of the best sources of inspiration for marketers. That’s because they have a direct connection to customers, and are constantly listening to the concerns and questions that prospective buyers have.
This means that businesses should see the relationship between sales and marketing as a two-way street. Marketers are responsible for directing the external vision of a company, but they should be constantly seeking feedback from sales reps and managers who have their ear to the ground and can tell when a campaign has resonated with customers or damaged the integrity of a brand image.
This will also help the uptake of new brand messaging within sales teams, as the decision-making process will be driven by the insights that salespeople gain from real conversations with real buyers.
Sales and branding have a synergistic relationship. Your branding should generate hot leads for your sales team to follow up on, but your sales team is also responsible for being “brand stewards” who can create emotionally intelligent connections with customers. If all goes well, improving the brand awareness in your sales team will bolster the quality of their conversations and generate loyal customers who love your brand and come back whenever they’re in need.