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Why Your Brand and Sales Process Must Be A Perfect Match
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
Having worked with business owners and CEOs, across industries and sizes, and having owned businesses in a number of verticals, I have assessed, optimized, and corrected my fair share of mistakes in processes to help improve performance.
With all of the hats you wear in your business, the consistency and efficiency that clearly defined processes and systems provide could mean the difference between being able to have a relaxed and enjoyable dinner every night or frantic phone calls interrupting dinner and you needing the Heimlich maneuver.
Hi, I’m Jay! Founder of Mint Virtual and here to teach you the critical reasons why your brand and sales process needs to be the perfect match.
Your Brand and Sales Process – A Match Made in Heaven
While it may be obvious that the sales process should be the first system to be developed and optimized to ensure consistent and measurable revenue and results, what is not as obvious is how. The “why” is easy, but “how” is where the work and the win lies.
Successful sales processes can be simple or complex, but investing the time to carefully consider what your specific goals are in the short and long term, and how best to achieve them, to enhance the experience you deliver to your prospects, can cause a positive ripple effect throughout your organization.
You may have a team of 5 people or a team of 50, but your brand should be on full display during the entire sales process. Not ensuring that your sales process aligns with your brand may not only create friction with prospects in your pipeline and with your team, but it can also make or break a sale.
1. An off-brand sales system can hurt your ability to build trust
It is common for business owners to gravitate towards the crafting of the messaging on their company websites, or putting together the best marketing strategy to target their ideal clients. Where they can get themselves into a bit of trouble without realizing it is, all of the work that went into the messaging, website, and strategy can be shattered to bits and pieces if the marketing approach and sales experience are disjointed.
When a potential client commits to having a conversation with the sales team, messaging inconsistency can cause a potential customer to ask themselves, is this the same company? If a potential customer perceives a mismatch between marketing and sales, it erodes trust and the rapport you are trying to build.
A study by the PR firm Edleman in 2019 showed that 81% of shoppers listed trust as the greatest deciding factor in doing business with a company.
You don’t need to be a brand strategist or life-long marketing professional to understand this on a high level. We are all consumers, some of us to a fault. You may have experienced this disconnect first hand out there in the marketplace.
After an engaging ad, you dialed the customer service line to get more information prior to purchase, but instead of the agent seeming happy to hear from a potential customer and eager to facilitate a sale, he made you feel like you interrupted their dinner or couldn’t provide the information you needed
Unfortunately, this is more common than we would expect. Even a subtle deviation from your brand positioning in your sales process can be enough to create doubt in the minds of potential customers.
As consumers, we know full well that if we have doubts, that credit card won’t come out; this could mean deals die before a proposal is sent, or worse, you spend valuable time preparing proposals that have a low probability of success.
2. Your sales team is the human front line representation of your brand
Your company stands for something. Your brand lives everywhere, not just in the marketing assets, but in words you use in every conversation, your pricing strategy, and especially in how you earn a potential client’s business; at least it should.
Your sales department is where your agency can humanize your brand and the potential customer gets to experience whether your words and actions are aligned. our sales systems and processes should be designed to highlight what makes you different and affirm that your prospects are in the right place and that they are making a wise decision to look to you and your team to solve their problem.
As the first human contact with your company, the sales team should radiate your brand. It is crucial to implement a sales system and sales processes that empower your sales team to be the brand champions you need them to be.
How your team runs meetings, the conversational style, the deliverables you may use in the process should be congruent with what you have projected in your marketing materials.
Your team should commit to providing a sales process and human interactions that deliver a brand-aligned demonstration of what it will be like to work with your company, one that inspires trust.
Human interaction to elevate your brand
A PWC study showed that 82% of US customers and 74% of non-US customers are looking for more human interactions. While 54% of US customers feel customer experience needs improvement. How would your agency fair in such a study?
Is your brand capitalizing on human interactions? What role has your brand strategy played in your customer experience and processes? Do you have cohesive brand-aligned processes that support teammates in every department in living up to the essence of your brand?
3. A disjointed sales handover can create a coarse brand experience
You may have a sales team, or you may be the entire sales team. When handing the project over to a project manager or the production team, surely you want a smooth and seamless transition between departments, don’t we all.
Brand-aligned procedures are the common thread that keeps the fabric of your brand tightly knit, as you hand over a new client to other teammates in your company. Therefore, brand governance shouldn’t be applied solely on client-facing brand identity assets, but on every touchpoint and action performed in your processes.
Expectations are set and met throughout the sales process. We should be thinking about a customer experience strategy for our brands and ensure it’s adoption by our sales teams.
Departmental transitions should be high on our priorities list. You may have a mechanically sound handoff process, which is extremely important. However, how the client feels during the team transitions is an entirely separate issue.
As an agency owner or even as a consumer, you may already know that clients are willing to pay more for a good experience. Still, a good experience can often mean a consistent one that aligns with the expectations set along the way.
For example, patrons of Dick’s Last Resort restaurant chain, whose “thing” is to be obnoxious and rude to customers, would be disappointed if they did not receive at least one rude comment from their server during their visit.
Their banner says it all.
How allowing my brand strategy to mold my processes has helped me
Many years ago, I owned a tire shop and auto care center. As a new business in a small town, I had many disadvantages that I had to overcome to have the project be a success.
I had no history in the town where I was starting this business, and I didn’t have a history in the industry, which limited my options for tire inventory and parts pricing, which takes time. I had to craft a brand strategy that would help me overcome those challenges and put me in the best position to compete with established competitors.
With limited supply chain options and narrower profit margins than my established competitors, I knew the brand would have to focus intensely on customer experience. Infusing my service processes with experiences that clients in the area were not accustomed to receiving at an auto care center was one thing I could control; I fully committed to delivering the best customer experience in the area.
Knowing what I wanted to do, and understanding that hardly anyone feels good about needing to go to an auto repair shop, I thought about how I could go about creating a memorable experience that customers would want to share with friends and family. Here are some highlights of what what my approach looked like for walk-in customers:
- The client is greeted and invited to take a seat.
- I offered every visitor a glass of homemade iced tea (my recipe), which I served with large ice-cubes. (The ice cubes needed to be dropped in the cup separately, and then the iced tea poured right in front of them. The sound and smell is something I needed them to remember.)
- Once I wrote up their work order, I grabbed the steering wheel cover, floor mat cover, and seat cover from behind the counter and handed it to the tech with keys to bring the car into the bay. (This needed to be a visible process, so we kept these supplies in the waiting room as opposed to the garage.)
- Once we knew we had ten to fifteen minutes to finish the job, a tech would step into the waiting area to let the client know they will be on their way soon.
- Once the job was complete, we took five minutes for a complimentary pressure wash. (this extra time was part of the remaining 10-15 minute job completion estimate announced to the client.)
All other processes in my business had to include an extraordinary step. The attention to detail in our service process, and our effort to make visiting an auto repair shop more enjoyable, helped to set my shop apart from others in the area. It added tasks and steps to the process that aligned with my brand and made them feel cared for and appreciated. The added overhead was minimal, and the handful of monthly referrals more than made up for it.
“I heard you have the best iced tea in town.” is what I would occasionally hear as a new customer entered. I used to get a kick out of that.
The best-iced tea in town served at my tire shop? I’ll take it.
Does your sales process properly portray your brand?
While there may be a variety of industry specific challenges and concerns that need to be taken into account, after years of assisting companies across various industries, I can say with absolute certainty that the universal differentiating factor in developing systems and processes is whether they were architected with brand in mind.
From the simplest internal task to a more intricate series of actions or steps, your sales process should be brand aligned (by design) and consistent with the marketing message that brought potential clients to you in the first place.
A brand-first approach creates the sales processes that strengthen the trust a potential client needs to make the initial buying decision and keep coming back. A cohesive, brand centric transition from one of your teams to another creates a seamless customer experience where the good will and trust you’re creating at every touch point gains momentum.
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