A listener of this podcast, Chris, posted a question: What is the best way to integrate branding and messaging into sales? How can marketing help sales stay 'on brand'?
Define brand and branding
First of all, let’s define what brand is. What does brand or branding mean? A brand is beyond a logo. It’s how a company as a whole presents itself, how employees behave, and how customers perceive the company. In a way, a brand is a business, organization, or entity’s identity. Branding is the act of creating that brand. Jay Baer said it nicely: “Branding is the art of aligning what you want people to think about your company with what people actually do think about your company. And vice versa.”
If brand is everything a business, organization, or entity does, then sales represents that vision of the company in a personal way. Therefore, they need to thoroughly understand the essence of the company’s brand.
The best way to train sales on the company brand is to incorporate that as part of sales onboarding and continuous training.
Be part of sales onboarding and training
Many companies have formal sales onboarding with 1-2 days of training. As part of the agenda, they usually have a one-hour session about brand. A brand manager will come in and talk about the essence of the brand, brand personas in the context of corporate culture and brand guidelines, such as logo usage, color palette, and will even share presentation templates. Some of them will even discuss how to use logos with partners or customers if sales plans to do co-marketing.
For companies that don’t have formal onboarding, I’d recommend you check with your marketing manager. You need to know where the brand guide is and how to use the logo/tagline/colors correctly. At a bare minimal, use the official company templates to create your presentations.
Bring messaging to sales
Chris also asked about messaging. I define messaging as what salespeople can or should say about products, services, offerings and the company. The most frequently asked question when I was working with sales for new product launches was what can they say about new products. Therefore, it’s important to arm your salespeople with talking points and product messaging.
Talking points can change depending on the sales stage and individual salespeople. However, salespeople still need some baseline to start with, right? For a new product, there are new features. Well, how should we prioritize the features? What are the key benefits? You need to provide some guidelines about the key features and benefits that salespeople can highlight when they engage with customers.
It’s like giving comedians a script. They may not follow the script completely, but the script gives comedians something to start with and improvise around. That’s what messaging does. It gives salespeople talking points for new products. They can pick and choose what to say and how to say it, using their best judgement in the situation they are in.
So, what is the best way to communicate messaging? Well, the best way to educate sales on messaging is to bring your messaging to the sales huddle meetings. Walk them through the framework and key talking points and encourage them to ask questions. Tell them where the file will be. Follow up with email or several emails.
Here is the ugly reality…
no matter how many times you communicate, they’re still going to come to you and ask you to resend the messaging information you presented. Make sure that you have the link ready to send. Or if you have a sales content library, you can direct them to the library and ask them to download from there.
Following brand guidelines and messaging helps salespeople stay on-brand. And the best way to share that information is to be part of sales communications, onboarding and training.
Chris, I hope I answered your question.
How do you share information with your sales team?
Let me know so we can keep learning from each other.