If there’s one principle that carries across industries, it’s that positive impressions are everything. Companies who rely on a sales force to conduct business often face difficulty penetrating the market. The challenge is how to be seen as more than “just another sales rep.”
The frank Agency pioneered a sales force reshaping strategy with a client that delivered overwhelmingly positive results.
Our client needed help getting their foot in the customer’s door. They lacked the capacity to compete with larger competitors, and they were frequently beaten to deals. They were not penetrating the market because decision makers had pre-existing relationships with other reps and were reluctant to add another sales meeting to their schedule. They needed a new strategy to get their reps “in the game” and position their brand as a significant player. They partnered with The frank Agency for help in shifting perspectives and taking action.
While the client’s salesforce was small, their team was highly knowledgeable. We started with a complete rebranding of this team, capitalizing on their knowledge to reinvent them as “solutions consultants.” More than a name change, this was a total mindset shift. Now, the salesforce would provide resources, offer targeted insights, and help the customer – not just sell products.
Once the rebranding was complete, we knew it was time to change the public perception from without.
This objective was accomplished through a special program designed to show potential customers how the reps could advance their business interests. A recent LinkedIn study showed that 90 percent of B2B buyers are more likely to engage with companies who are perceived as thought leaders. To cultivate thought leadership, we encouraged solutions consultants to offer technology evaluations to current and potential customers, which would allow them to present useable advice and insights.
Offering something valuable and useful for free established credibility. This elevated the conversation to a real partnership, instead of a sales rep-customer relationship.
To build awareness, the new program was accompanied by marketing campaigns that used strong visuals and impactful messages to demonstrate effective thought leadership.
After implementing these strategies, our client saw a 300 percent year-over-year sales increase, with $1.1 million in sales generated directly from the campaign. What’s more, customers perceived the salesforce as true partners and experts in the industry.
The next year, we tweaked the program with an all-new creative theme. This led to $3.5 million in new revenue and a 520 percent return on investment.
The most successful results are nothing if they are not replicable and translatable across industries. In developing this strategy for our client, we discovered actionable insights that apply across salesforce-driven industries.
Impressions matter more than size. Thus, rather than focus on building capacity, organizations should create a strong impression.
When reps show customers that your company offers value and expertise beyond products, you can change your impression and boost conversions. Clients will perceive your reps as partners who provide resources other sales teams simply cannot.
To gain valuable customers, you must first provide value. The sales relationship is all give and take – but perhaps some breakdown in this relationship has occurred due to a long line of reps that take up the customers’ time without actually offering any perceived value in return.
As we saw in this study, by first offering your own time and resources solely to benefit the customer, you can gain lifelong allies that will return to you again and again. The value you provide can bring value to your own business – and not only that, it can become a way to elevate your brand to the status of an industry leader.
For more insight into rebranding your sales team, contact the marketing strategy experts at The frank Agency. We’ve been digging into data, formulating strategies, and delivering measurable results to our clients that sell through sales reps for years, and we can do the same for you.
Nick Barkman, VP Business Development