A company’s sales team often creates the very first interactions that an organization has with future clients. Not only that, these exchanges are usually one of the most impactful within the sales cycle. That’s why it’s said that you never get a second chance to make a first impression, and why being on the same page with your sales team is critical to the success of any business. But, what does being on the same page with your sales team actually mean?
The way that sales people communicate with prospects and clients, every single time they have an interaction, sets the tone for how an organization’s brand is communicated with its external market. At the very core of this idea is that your sales people are your brand ambassadors. They are the expeditionary force for the brand and for all it stands for. And, this is why it is crucial that your sales team be trained in communicating on brand and on message. That means not only providing the right tools to execute on brand, but also delivering the purpose behind why they carry the specific tools they are given.
Those organizations that best align their salesforce with the brand’s values are the ones that immerse their sales team in the brand from day one. There are various ways to do this, but upfront sales training is one avenue. One “best-in-class” example is Automatic Data Processing (ADP), the world’s largest payroll provider. ADP is well-known for its focus on sales training and process, and for investing deeply in their human capital. When ADP hires a news sales person a series of events are automatically scheduled as part of the hiring process. Each new hire knows that even before they begin their very first day of work that they will be required to go to the company headquarters in Roseland, New Jersey for a two-week training course. A considerable investment for both ADP and the new employee, the training is every bit on brand. From the trainers to the dress code requirements to the branded environment of the cafeteria, all of these touch points steep a new hire into the ADP brand. The outcome of such investment is remarkable. After the two-week course each employee is not only living the brand, but they are very skilled in being a brand ambassador because they have been given the tools.
Another example of a company that focuses heavily on brand immersion is GE, one of our environmental branding clients. There is perhaps no better model of continuous immersion education than GE’s Crotonville Campus, the epicenter of GE culture. GE describes it as, “both a place and an ideal.” As the world’s first corporate university, this is where GE’s sales people, customers and thought leaders meet to discuss the future of GE while engaging in its brand. GE heavily invests in this campus because, “[It] is a testament to our belief that great companies — and great leaders — never stop evolving.” Crotonville is a lofty example of how a company can empower its people to constantly live the brand. On a smaller scale, holding day-long training sessions once a quarter, rotating marketing and sales employees regularly, and creating a culture where brand investment integrates seamlessly into daily business practices, are a few ways a company can create brand ambassadors.
To get on the same page as your sales team, marketers need to arm sales people with practical brand-led resources (hint: not just a product spread sheet) that make it easy for them to live the brand in every interaction. Immersing new recruits is important, but it is only the first step to strengthening a brand from within. Transforming sales people into brand ambassadors requires sustained efforts in providing the right resources and measurement to ensure the brand is ever-present in all business activities.
Dylon MacEachran is Monigle’s Director of Sales and Marketing. She is immersed in the Monigle brand as an ambassador of branded goodness.