Your most valuable sales tool is often the most overlooked and under-utilized one…your company brand. Let's face it: we all know it's easier to get that meeting or request for proposal when the prospect has heard of you, as opposed to when they haven't. So ensure your brand gets there before you do by having an established Website, integrated online/offline outreach campaigns, and sales people trained in how you are different is a critical first step to position your company to win.
Being familiar to prospects saves time and enables more targeted discussions about how you can meet their needs, as opposed to proving you have a formidable track record. Having a strong brand acts as a "margin protector," enabling discussions to revolve around the value of your product or service and not around your steadiness as a company.
But we also know getting in the door easier doesn't mean you will automatically win the business easier. That will require not only communicating the strength of your brand, but the strength of your solutions for them. Below are four ways you can use your brand as a sales accelerator to win business:
Understand the evolving needs of your prospects. Has this economic crisis changed your prospects' priorities? If so, be sure your company adjusts its approach to align with their shifting needs. Tell them what you can do only after you know what they need.
Put your brand to work and reduce your sales team's time. Screen out the curious from the serious. Direct prospects to relevant information on your company's Website or micro-site (designed just for them) to offer additional insights about what they need to understand. If the prospect becomes a qualified lead, you have successfully advanced their knowledge, preserved your top salespeople’s time, and shortened the time to close the deal.
Articulate what differentiates your business from the competition. Know what makes your company different and/or better than your archrivals. Be sure your salespeople have a command of this knowledge and are ready with compelling counterpoint arguments. Getting everyone aligned ensures greater efficiencies and greater impact from the start.
Image matters the first time…and every time. Creating the impression of market leadership from the beginning is essential, because perception is reality. Engage employees to be brand messengers. Ensure everyone can speak clearly about what the business does, the problems you solve, and what makes you different. Internal communications should be a priority, as you never know where the next opportunity may come from.
Brenna Garratt is CEO of The Delve Group. Contact her by e-mail at email@example.com.