Persuading the CEO, CFO and sometimes even the CMO to invest in their brands can be a tough ticket. Winning over sceptical sales teams isn’t far behind. Sound familiar? This post provides 10 practical tips that will help turn sales sceptics into brand believers. Amen to that.
The world of sales is shaped by demands for short term, tangible and financial results. Hit short terms sales targets and financial rewards follow. Good times. Tools of the trade include promotional offers, discounts and buy one get one free offers to name a few.
The world of brand is shaped by long-term horizons, intangible benefits and a concern for building stakeholder value. Longer-term metrics such as loyalty, premium pricing and trust are brand metric bywords. Promotional offers and buy one get one free fixes are akin to brand equity suicide. Bad times.
Sales teams need strong brands. Brand teams need supportive sales teams. How can these two related but different worlds align? Based on our experience from a number of markets in a number of countries brand metrics provides a solution.
Here are 10 brand metric management tips that can help turn sales sceptics into your brand buddies.
- Engage: Involving sales teams in the measurement process from the outset is frequently more important than the metrics obtained. Be sure to engage and not alienate the sales team from day one.
- Logic: In a world of short-term financial targets understanding longer-term intangible concepts is a tall but not impossible order. Share the rationale for brand. This will help sales understand you’re on the same team.
- Focus: Start by measuring a handful of key metrics. Don’t go for the Rolls Royce of metrics from day one. Try a VW Golf. Not many frills and reliable. This approach will help sales understand something as illusive as brand can be scientifically and objectively measured. It’ll also get you respect.
- Rigour: Don’t measure brand metrics like brand loyalty with one question. You need to ask 2 or 3 questions per metric to increase the reliability of your measures. You wouldn’t measure mental arithmetic in an IQ test with one question so why do that with brand? Unfortunately, most people do. Unreliable insight follows. Bad times.
- Simplicity: Don’t blind salespeople with brand jargon relating to values, essence, propositions, promises and positioning. It’s not their concern. Cut to the chase. Use simple and where possible financially focused language. Complexity can follow once your work starts to bear fruit.
- Balance: Obtain measures from inside and outside the organisation. This facilitates internal brand education and engagement. If the sales team don’t understand your brand what chance do they have when it come so selling it?
- Feedback. Salespeople interact with customers. Blindingly obvious but often forgotten. Sales teams can share invaluable insights. Listen to these insights. Some great brand anecdotes could emerge which feed into segmentation-based stories or subsequent brand communications. Cost effective marketing gold dust.
- Consistency: Re-administer the same measures on a regular basis. Quarterly data rounds are a good place to start. This will help demonstrate over time the value brand delivers. Combined with sales data these insights can reveal the financial value brand delivers.
- Analytics: Try to move beyond bar charts as soon as you can. They’re dangerous tools. A range of inferential techniques can reduce brand risk and focus marketing spend on outcomes that interest sales. An ability to charge premium prices, purchase intentions and recommendations are a few. It’s not too much of stretch to see how moving the dial on these will drive sales. The sooner you can use analytics the sooner you’ll be able to focus resources on activities that drive sales metrics of interest.
- Share: Once you’ve obtained key brand metrics share them with the sales teams. If necessary do this in person to facilitate engagement. Split the insight into sections. A high-level overview then detail for those that want the deep dive. You’ve covered both bases then.
Whilst we’ve focused on sales sceptics our experience shows these principles apply to other functions who are resistant to brand. Finance and sales tend to be the main protagonists.
Focused metrics and health serving of genuine engagement are good sales scepticism antidotes. The sooner sales see some objective brand benefits the sooner they’ll be your brand buddies. And there’s no harm in that.
Sound familiar? If you have any other views on how to overcome such issues we’d be glad to hear from you.