Our sales and marketing team recently gave a company-wide presentation on our marketing strategy. We went into the presentation assuming that it would be difficult to pique the interest of our developer co-workers. But what resulted was an engaging conversation about how we present our company and how everyone can improve the ways in which they talk about who we are and what we do.
According to Edelman’s 2017 Trust Barometer, people trust regular employees significantly more than a company’s CEO. What does this mean? It means it’s now even more important that all of your employees learn how to sell your company. Even the shy ones.
Here’s how to teach your employees how to effectively sing your company’s praises and be the best brand advocates they possibly can be.
Nail Down Your Brand
Entrepreneur sums up branding well:
“Simply put, your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from that of your competitors. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.”
Effective branding gives you a competitive edge by defining who you are. It’s essentially the company’s personality. Obviously every employee at your company has a different personality (unless you have actually hired robots). But every employee should still be able to communicate in a way that remains consistent with your brand.
At Zivtech, our branding focuses on communication and collaboration. Our promise is that we’ll be transparent with our clients throughout the entire web development process, and we’ll deliver exceptional results through a collaborative relationship. Our voice is helpful, knowledgeable, friendly, and insightful. This is exactly what we want our employees to convey when they communicate with others.
Ask your employees how they would describe your company’s brand. How would your brand speak if it were a person? Teach them to channel the correct personality and voice when they talk about your business.
Sell Your Differences
Your unique selling proposition, or USP, is a core element of your brand strategy. What about your company sets you apart from the competition? “We sell trendy clothing” won’t distinguish your company from a competitor. “We sell fair trade and eco-friendly clothing for active, female professionals. We donate a percentage of our profits to clean water initiatives because we value a cleaner, more sustainable world,” is much more memorable and interesting.
Your USP should be two or three sentences that explain what makes your company special. This should be carried throughout all of your marketing messaging and communication. Teach your employees to emphasize your USP when they speak to potential customers about your business.
Perform for Your Audience
You likely already have a well-defined target market that you use to guide your sales and marketing efforts. Buyer personas are incredibly vital to target your messaging, and the more descriptive, the better.
Share these buyer personas with all of your employees. This will provide your staff with a framework for who your target customer is. They’ll learn to look for these individuals at networking events, or they may already have a connection who fits the description. Maybe you already have a new customer.
You Never Know Who You'll Meet in an Elevator
I once worked at a company where management made every new hire spend the majority of his or her first day practicing a thirty second elevator pitch. Whether we were hired for sales, marketing, project management, design, or development, we were all required to write down what we thought a good pitch would be. Then we presented our pitch to the rest of the group while the CEO listened and gave feedback. It was an introvert’s nightmare.
The practicality of this exercise is undeniable. It asks every member of the team to take a step back, away from their individual role, and learn how to flawlessly sell the company in a concise and captivating way. This is especially important for companies that offer more complicated services, or for those that compete in highly saturated markets.
First, ask your employees what they would say if given thirty seconds to describe the company. Then offer suggestions for ways to improve their pitch. Practice the exercise enough times so that they’re comfortable and don’t sound robotic. Even the introverts won’t mind talking if they have a general script to stick to.
Triple Your Sales and Marketing Team
Teaching your employees how to effectively sell your company isn’t only beneficial for sales, it also makes your staff feel more involved and in sync with the company’s overall mission. Regardless of their individual titles, every person can effectively campaign on behalf of your company. Given the right tools and direction, your existing employees are your greatest brand ambassadors.