One of the things marketing and sales can agree on, is the need to differentiate themselves in an ever crowded marketplace. What they may be less likely to agree on, is just how to do that. I believe you have to go back to the beginning and the beginning of differentiation, has to be your brand. Many sales folks don’t have a clear understanding of how important their company’s brand is to their success- and that is a mistake that could cost them commissions. A company’s brand is the marketplace’s perception of that company. Notice I didn’t say anything about what we believe our companies stand for. It is what the marketplace believes about your company. So first, you have to determine what you want the marketplace to believe about your brand, and then you need to know what the marketplace actually believes about your brand. Once you determine that – you need to work to close any gap that exists between the two.
Where I like to begin is with a Brand Assessment that asks key players at a company about their individual perception about the company’s brand. People are shocked to find how far apart they are – sometimes the most glaring discrepancies are between marketing and sales. Now think about that. These are the two groups of people responsible for driving the key messaging of an organization and getting it out to the marketplace. And they aren’t on the same page? No matter how great either group is, there will be a major disconnect out in the market if they don’t believe the same things about their company. If marketing is figuring out amazing ways to differentiate their brand, but sales gets in front of the prospect – their messaging is just like everyone else’s, their prospects end up confused or worse – disenchanted with their company. And I would argue sales has an uphill BATTLE if marketing is muddled with the brand positioning, going out in front of sales…leaving sales to push and claw their way through the clutter.
Without clarity around your brand – the end result is a wishy- washy brand. There is no way you can be competitive today with a wishy-washy brand. When marketing and sales can agree on the Brand Print – meaning the finger print [the unique identifier] of your particular brand, it is very powerful. One of my favorite books on this topic that really simplifies this is ZAG. Marty Neumeier writes that each company needs to be able to say what the ONE thing they do BETTER than anyone else. If we can’t do that, our brands are doomed to wishy-washiness!
The next step is to understand what your customers, prospects, vendors, and referral sources think about your brand. But first things, first. Do your marketing and sales people agree on what your brand stands for? If yes, share with us some success stories. If no, you may want to contact us today.