By Tim Riesterer, chief strategy and marketing officer, Corporate Visions, Inc.
Mr. Clean. Aunt Jemima. The Pillsbury Doughboy.
Consumer brands seem to have a knack for creating a brand mascot and having it resonate almost instantly with their customers. The business-to-business (B2B) world, however, doesn’t seem to work that way.
Why is that? Because a B2B company’s brand mascot isn’t an imaginary character dressed up in a costume — it’s an actual salesperson who needs to be armed with the right messaging in order to effectively sell the product or service your company is offering.
Your salesforce is your No. 1 asset when it comes to creating brand differentiation and loyalty where it counts — at the point of sale. And in order to do this effectively, you need to first assess just how much time, energy and money you’re investing to equip your salespeople with the right tools to positively reinforce your brand, and then create a customer-centric message that sparks a great conversation that your prospects will actually listen to and care about.
To accomplish this goal, here are the three most important elements you need for a great customer conversation:
- The Right Message: Make your brand message relevant to something your prospects care about: themselves. Stop talking about your corporate story and instead focus on the challenges that your prospects are facing (or will face if they don’t select the product or service that you’re selling).
- The Right Tools: Ensure the materials you’re providing to your sales team match the brand messages you’re trying to convey — and keep in mind the vehicle by which they’re delivering those messages — because if your sales team doesn’t feel comfortable with the materials they’ve been given, they simply won’t use them.
- The Right Skills: Train your sales teams so they’re prepared to adopt and deliver your brand messages in the most effective way. Offer courses that will continue honing their conversation skills, and build their confidence so they’re comfortable delivering meaningful messages, no matter where they are.
While it’s safe to say that your sales teams may not forever embed themselves into their prospects’ minds like Tony the Tiger or the Energizer Bunny, combining the right messages, tools and skills gives you the best chance at grabbing your prospects’ attention and making them listen to the story you’re trying to tell. And by implementing these three elements, you’ll be one step closer to closing more deals and, by extension, ultimately reaching your sales goals.
With more than 20 years of sales and marketing experience, Tim Riesterer, chief strategy and marketing officer at Corporate Visions, is a recognized thought leader, practitioner and author regarding marketing and sales messaging. Tim’s books, “Customer Message Management” and “Conversations That Win the Complex Sale,” focus on increasing a marketing department’s impact on selling by providing sales-ready messages and tools that salespeople can use to create a compelling story that wins more deals.