Some people believe that a brand is simply a logo and a tagline, with a few advertisements thrown in for good measure. In reality, a brand encompasses all aspects of a company and influences every consumer interaction with it — from the experience of talking to customer service to following a company on Twitter or LinkedIn. The value of branding goes much deeper than a logo.
Your brand is a statement that tells the world who you are, what you do, and why you do it. It’s how your users identify you across different channels and remember you when seeking out solutions to their problems. As such, the power of effective branding should not be underestimated.
In this article, we’ll go over some ways in which a strong brand sets the stage for a more effective sales force. Let’s have a look.
What is the impact of good branding for sales?
What’s the link between selling and branding? It comes down to one essential principle: Salespeople sell more than catalogs full of products and services, they sell their company’s unique value proposition, mission, and values.
The world’s top companies — whether they’re in tech, fashion, or automotive parts — have strong brands that remain consistent across all channels, online and off. A strong brand is one that reflects the values of the business and positions a company as unique within a competitive landscape.
So, where does sales enablement align with the power of effective branding? Well, let’s just put it this way: Branding is the ultimate sales enablement tool.
On the marketing side, you’re functioning as both brand creator and caretaker. Marketers are responsible for building this valuable asset and must work hard to ensure that messaging, tone, and aesthetics remain consistent over time and across channels.
Multichannel marketing is only as effective as the message received by a brand’s target audience, and consistency plays a vital role in creating this impact. It’s consistency (backed by the right controls) that supports the value of branding, ensuring that a brand’s message is clear, concise, and easy to consume — and thus setting the stage for the sales team.
Branding is where content and messaging connect with the sales process. Sales teams must carefully consider both aspects because effective branding not only “pushes” your message to your target market, it also “pulls” new prospects into the pipeline.
It’s at this exact point in the customer journey when selling tools such as sales enablement software and other well-rehearsed tactics can speed up pipeline velocity or — just as valuably — slow things down for potential customers to give them time and resources to better understand just what it is that makes your brand worth their time and money.
While branding alone doesn’t make a complete sales enablement strategy, it’s hard not to see how it bleeds into the other moving pieces involved in the process — everything from learning materials, training sessions, social selling, and more.
The challenge of unlocking the power of effective branding
Look, the street value of branding isn’t something that you can easily quantify.
However, we do know that great brands lead people to make more purchases at higher price points and with less deliberation. They also turn customers into loyal followers or even advocates who spread the word to others in their network.
According to McKinsey, B2B companies that understand the power of effective branding outperform weaker competitors by an average of about 20%. McKinsey also noted that many B2Bs feel that a focus on branding is for B2C businesses alone, which causes problems: That narrow definition of what a brand is and who a brand is for can get in the way of delivering a great experience to all stakeholders.
Still, even if a company understands the importance of branding, getting it right isn’t always easy.
One of the biggest problems you’ll find is that after marketing teams create sales collateral and deliver it to their sales teams, the message they’ve carefully crafted may be altered without their consent or knowledge. According to research from CSO Insights, 18.4% of salespeople are not only customizing their own content, but they’re also creating it themselves. So, for example, if a salesperson can’t find the content they need for a prospect, most will take matters into their own hands and edit an existing piece to match their circumstances or even create an entirely new piece of content (and message).
CMO Council data reports that on average, decision-makers consume 5 pieces of content before engaging sales, so as you might imagine, messing with the messaging can spell disaster for a brand. Without having collected the data needed to inform the content or having participated in the often lengthy writing, editing, revising process that most sales content must go through before final approval, sales-created content doesn’t always reflect the proper message. Salespeople may use bits and pieces, chopped up here and there, with no oversight on the final brand result.
This fragmented experience can very quickly derail a potential sale and erode trust in a company. And that’s bad news since, according to a recent study, 94% of customers say they are likely to be loyal to a brand that they believe to be transparent and trustworthy.
So how do you ensure that the value of your branding maintains consistency across department lines? Here are three key ways that you can keep some control over your assets:
- Make cross-departmental communication a priority — In other words, fine-tune your communication strategies, from how you address key messaging in the field to where and how reps can access the right content at the right time. This also means you’ll need to develop a collaborative process for creating new content and a system for bi-directional communication to and from the field. Don’t forget, your field reps collect valuable insights with every interaction. Make sure it’s easy to capture feedback for later use.
- Create a messaging style guide — Build a simple style guide that makes it easy for reps to quickly pull up a few paragraphs about every solution on the books. No matter the need, make sure that your salespeople can easily find pre-written materials that cater to all personas and all selling situations.
- Use the right tools — Your salespeople need a central repository so they can easily access the branded content, training, scripts, and recommended materials you’ve invested time and money in creating. Sales enablement software like Bigtincan brings in features like content performance tracking and version control to ensure that content is on-brand and up-to-date, not to mention easy to find.
In today’s selling environment, the value of branding has never been higher
Treating branding as though it’s the exclusive domain of the marketing team is a big mistake. Your brand’s value depends on the entire organization working together on a holistic level to align toward the same goals and big-picture vision. Bridge the gap between your branded content and your salespeople to create a cohesive experience for new and existing customers alike. Help your customers meet your brand, face to face.
Book a demo of Bigtincan today to learn how our fully-customizable content management platform can help you maintain consistency and control across all channels and in front of customers.