Your Sales Process Is Part Of Your Brand Equity
Not being a marketing guy, I will not go deeply in to the concepts of brand equity, but if part of what contributes to it are things unique to your brand, done well and deliver value to your customers, then the way your team sells and the process they use to sell, certainly qualify.
This is nothing new, but it has just been a long time since it has been the norm. Those of us old enough to say we sold in the 1980′s or earlier remember when this was the norm. I was discussing this with a friend who started with IBM in the 70’s; he recalled how his first year was spent entirely training him to sell “the IBM” way. By the time he finished the year, he couldn’t help but achieve minimal success. There was a lot needed from him to make him great, and become the leader he became, but the training he received in that first year not only gave him a solid foundation, but branded him as an “IBM Sales Rep”.
This no doubt this lead to the often quoted myth “nobody ever got fired for buying IBM.” A good part of that statement relates to the company, product and service, there is no arguing that the sales process and the way they sold was also part of that security and the brand. There were many worthy competitors, Digital Equipment for those who remember. At any given time in th 80’s DEC probably had equal or better product, but IBM out sold them. IBM called high, low, and in between, reassuring everyone that IBM had a certain quality, both tangible and intangible that he client not only wanted, but could not do without. Left to a side by side comparison of product they could well have come in second, add the sales experience they created, and they won.
There was a similar reality with Xerox, remember the “Xerox way of selling”, in fact PSS is still a leading program delivered to reps around the world. While things have evolved, and Xerox has changed people still talk about having bee trained by Xerox back in the day. (I had one guy with a lot of attitude once tell me “well you know I was trained by Xerox when I first came started back in the 70’s.” I asked him the obvious question “really, you still drive a Pinto?” I couldn’t help it, especially since his company was going backwards and close to blowing up.)
I realize that the economy has changed too, and some of the elaborate realities of days gone by are not practical in today’s environment. But I am not sure that completely prevents companies from looking at their sales approach as a differentiator and part of their brand equity. In some ways the clients are contributors to this de-evolution of sales approach, in today’s “Wal-Mart World”, where vendors are being continuously squeezed, and providers wanting to maintain product quality, it is easy to understand why they would choose to save on things that define their sales culture.
On the other hand when you look at some market leaders who have bucked the trend, continued to ensure that their sales approach, process and the sales part of their go-to-market strategy continued to be valued, supported and invested in, you have to conclude that it has to be a key factor for their on going success in all markets, including today’s.
What’s in Your Pipeline?
Don’t forget to register for this Tuesday’s Top Sales Experts Roundtable: Cold Call vs Warm Call vs Social Media. Joining me on the panel will be Chair Jonathan Farrington, Wendy Weiss, Lori Richardson, and Paul McCord. Join us Tuesday at 1:00 pm Eastern, learn something new, add your voice.