Consistency across teams in regards to brand guidelines is invaluable. However, a common problem is that the brand guidelines are sometimes only partially complied with, outside of marketing. So why are brand guidelines often overlooked from a sales perspective? From a marketing and creative perspective, brand guidelines are a must. They deliver a solidified structure around the representation of the brand. The different ways in which brand guidelines are looked at within an organization are basic to answering this question.
Most view brand guidelines as a must for ‘creative types’; the designers, copywriters, and marketers. Their task? To translate the identity of an organization into appropriate colors, shapes, fonts, sizing, logo, and messaging that matches the character of the brand. If the designers, copywriters, and marketers take this seriously, it’s with good reason.
Brand guidelines should be what they are - guidelines! By no means are brand guidelines entirely fixed. What we mean by this is, simply, brand guidelines should be as dynamic as the market they appeal to. Brand guidelines should be open to innovations and adaptable in case of change. This is the standard for today’s digital and more agile forms of marketing.
How Can Sales Teams Benefit From Using Brand Guidelines?
Think of Sales and Marketing as mutually inclusive. Similar to how a rectangle is considered a square and not the other way around, Sales efforts can be considered as marketing, but marketing efforts are not considered as sales, but rather, promotion. As organizations face massive digital transformations with more channels and content than ever, they need to rethink how brand guidelines are being used internally across the board.
As a member of a sales team, one may assume they have all of the tools needed to successfully represent the company, brand, and products. Sales teams generate brand awareness without even realizing it, so following brand guidelines can ensure that the brand is represented in a uniform way across all departments, internally and externally. Aligning the marketing information a prospect sees with communication from the sales team shows the prospect that the mission behind the product or service is set in stone and can be trusted.
Members of sales teams see and speak to the customers the most, so it’s important to make sure they represent the brand under brand guidelines. Implementing consistency in sales collateral such as pitch letters, presentations, proposals, and conversations with prospects will better align the prospect experience.
Friction Between Sales & Marketing Can Be Alleviated Through Brand Guidelines
Commonly, some areas of sales and marketing are in disagreement. Both teams have the same goal: to increase the company’s revenue. Despite this, they typically have different approaches, budgets, strategies, and techniques to achieve it. To fix this, you must cultivate a shared sense of purpose in representing the brand. Marketing streamlines sales cycle times and minimizes effort and stress for sales teams by generating warm leads that are familiar with the brand.
As a member of the sales team, it’s up to you to continue building on the knowledge the prospect gained from the marketing efforts. Aligning your conversation based on messaging parameters set within brand guidelines can help keep the prospect engaged and familiar with the purpose of the products and services as they experienced them initially.
As brand guidelines seek to delineate the core values, representation, and purpose of a company, sales teams should be committed to the value they are delivering to prospects, using brand guidelines as a reference. Branding helps companies stand out in a potentially saturated market, differentiating them from competitors and giving the company a unique identity.
How unique a brand is within the market may depend on a variety of aspects such as the quality of its products, having a defined message, a solid philosophy, marketing directed to a specific target, solidified messaging, and a unique value add to the current market place. Generally, what makes a brand strong is not that it is exceptional in one thing, but in a combination of several. The defined messaging mentioned above is thought to be used mostly on the website, socials, and by marketers, but sales teams can benefit from this defined messaging to improve understanding around the brand and ultimately close leads.
How Can Brand Guidelines Help to Improve Sales Teams Consistency?
To enhance the prospect experience, sales and marketing must speak the same language. Once a company has its branding established (its company philosophy, marketing, colors, typography, website, etc.), it can begin to model the rest of its strategy from it. When there is a good branding foundation in place, decisions become easier, and all future sales and marketing initiatives can flow from it.
Branding not only gives confidence to the customer but also to the employees of the company. With good branding, all of the energy, time, money, and work that has been invested in a company is concentrated in a complete and professional result. Branding exists to enhance the product or service and create a story around it. It pushes your sales process forward by grabbing your prospect's attention and making them pay attention.
Brand messaging delivers transparency and consistency which builds credibility among prospects. Credibility and consistency go a long way with prospects. This point must also be transferred to your employees, they must believe in your brand as much or more than your customers. They must soak up those values and become a living reflection of them. That level of consistency seeks to uplift the brand and deliver a uniform experience for the audiences that both sales and marketing target. Branding does a lot more for a company than just making it look pretty. When used correctly, brand guidelines can help a business grow through alignment of sales and marketing, aka consistency.
A brand is the sum of everything it does, from the service it offers, the product it sells, the communication it develops… Every aspect of a company, including sales, must be capable of transmitting this same concept. Ultimately, brand consistency is responsible for maintaining an accurate picture of a business and generating growth.
Why Sales Teams Should be Passionate About More than just the Product or Service
Branding is the discipline that is responsible for the construction, growth, expansion, and consolidation of a brand. It brings together all the processes and actions that are necessary, from the creation of a certain brand to the generation of value in it. Sales teams help to generate the value of the brand, forward-facing, to potential customers. It’s more than a product, it’s more than a solution, and it’s definitely more than commission. Brand guidelines deliver the mission to the employees of the company, and it’s up to sales to convey the meaning of that mission to prospective customers.
In practice, branding deals with finding what characterizes the brand, what makes it unique. This should be any sales team's main goal; to identify and deliver the unique value and solutions the company delivers in the market space.
Companies that take care of their brands permanently, on the one hand, will be consistent at all times with their value propositions. On the other hand, they will also know how to adapt their brand strategies to the challenges and changes of each moment.
There are many advantages of sales teams adopting and using brand guidelines properly. When sales teams follow brand guidelines through pitching, sales materials, presentations, and the like, companies can experience a higher growth rate, greater customer loyalty, more profitability, stability, and sustainability as a result of consistency, care, and application of the brand guidelines.
The benefits are many and, taking into account the increasing competition, the implementation and consolidation of your brand through various departments is something that you cannot leave in the background.
Do Sales Teams Have a Say in Brand Guidelines?
The answer is not always. However, as we stated earlier, brand guidelines should not be fixed. When sales teams deliver information around questions prospects are asking, solutions they are looking for, friction in the sales process, the quality of leads, and other important factors to the marketing team, the marketing team can then create well-thought-out and branded materials to address the above.
At LAIRE, we believe brand guidelines should serve every aspect of a company, both internally and externally. Sales teams should have open conversations with marketing teams to better align messaging to enhance the overall customer experience. We are experts when it comes to helping companies in all industries develop branding guidelines that will benefit all aspects of the company. With our experience in branding and sales enablement, we understand the value that brand guidelines can bring to a sales team.
We offer a free 20-minute branding assessment that delivers free advice on fine-tuning your branding to better meet the needs of your employees, prospects, and customers and improve your bottom line. Simply fill out this form, and a branding professional from LAIRE will get back to you!