Marketers spend a lot of money and time building a brand only to have it diminish at the point where it matters most – in front of customers.
The brand equity you have worked so hard to build will either be reinforced or undermined depending on the actions of your sales team.
The problem is much more complex than salespeople who customize presentations, proposals, and collateral to make them inaccurate, inconsistent, or outdated. But let’s be honest. Your sales team’s sophistication in engaging with customers is more important than the materials they put in front.
Marketing executives are already protesting.
Marketing can’t affect what salespeople tell or show to the customer!
There is tension between Sales and Marketing. Do we want to guide how salespeople interact with customers?
Isn’t the role of sales operations and management, training, to be played by sales managers?
There is good news before you go hara-kiri with your marketing. Brand positioning can be controlled by marketing throughout the sales cycle.
Marketing can elevate brand equity by empowering Sales to use business case building blocks in customer interactions.
I’m talking about a disciplined effort, led by marketing, in which you have… I’m talking about a disciplined marketing effort in which…
Engage existing customers to identify their business challenges and priorities and the metrics they use to measure success.
Value drivers are the processes and activities your product optimizes in your customer’s company.
You can quantify the impact of a product by determining the metrics most important to your customers and comparing them to the value drivers.
The analysis and results were documented and packaged in an automated tool or a repeatable procedure that salespeople could quickly implement when engaging with customers.
We have been teaching salespeople how to sell using terms such as “consultative” and “solution-based” selling for years. Absolutely.
We haven’t given the sales reps any data or analysis to use to implement these methods, and they don’t have the time or the expertise to perform the “sales mathematics” required to create customized business cases for every customer.
Marketing equips salespeople with a customer-focused business plan to ask the right questions and uncover precise prospect needs. It also provides data on metrics, strategic priorities, and current performance. This data can be plugged into the business case by salespeople to identify the link between the product’s value drivers and customer problems. They can educate customers about the extent of the pain they are experiencing and how their product could alleviate it.
The internal champion can use a customized business case developed using customer data and metrics to support the project and secure funding. Finally, a baseline can be established so that truly progressive companies can measure actual customer satisfaction compared to what was initially forecast. This is a decisive step for those companies who care about retaining their customers and value selling.
Marketing organizations brave enough to create and maintain a robust business case will see results in many areas.
Closing more deals. Finally, Salespeople can calculate the impact of the product on the bottom line for each customer using the data and metrics that they find meaningful. More value shown = more deals. Start here if you have trouble calculating the return on your marketing. You’ll become the most famous person at the company!
Reduced sales cycle time. Once the proposal is presented, salespeople can give decision-makers the metrics they need to make an educated purchasing decision. You can eliminate the “no decision,” “we need more due diligence,” and “we don’t have a decision yet” from your sales process.
You must maintain the integrity of your brand. Salespeople can use the framework to understand how customers’ business problems and initiatives relate to the value your product offers. The business case will influence the questions they ask, the data they collect, and the messages they convey to customers. Marketing will have more influence over sales if it conducts a thorough analysis up-front to create the business case. The more convincing and credible the business plan, the more likely salespeople will embrace it.
It is essential to maintain your brand equity and positioning throughout the entire sales process, including the sale’s closing.