Is your Sales Team an Integral Part of Branding?

Is your Sales Team an Integral Part of Branding?

Sales teams have traditionally been focused on building the sales funnel and getting more deals; that’s their primary task. But is the sales team an integral part of your branding efforts? Do you, as a sales leader, need to ensure that the sales team behaves and interacts in a specific manner?

Brand building, or branding as we call it, is a perception of the positioning of your product or solution in the customer’s mind. The sales team may or may not be the first to interact with your potential customer, but they interact more than marketing teams. This thus results in customers building a perception of your product/service/brand based on how this interaction goes.

Taking this into focus, marketing leaders are putting in much effort in this critical touchpoint. For example, car manufacturers like Tata Motors will train dealership-level sales personnel on interaction etiquette.

Another challenge to perceived value to a customer is constant discounting. Typically customers, especially in India, are focused on getting the maximum discount available. This is because customers have builtin a perceived notion that all businesses are charging them more. This is especially true in the case of B2B businesses where the perceived value is different, and price transparency is limited. Yes, SAAS platforms have enabled price transparency for a B2B customer, but there are multiple other cases, such as manufacturing equipment.

Price transparency in this digital age reduces the burden for the salesperson to close sales as they can avoid numerous negotiations. But it also helps build trust among customers. Just look at how car manufacturers are openly paying prices on multiple websites to attract more customers. An informed customer is always a quick sell.

An example of how the sales network impacts brand image is the Controversy surrounding Mahindra cars where, although the waiting period for delivery is between 9 months to 1 year or more. Many customers on social media started mentioning how the sales team at various dealerships was charging extra in the form of additions to the primary car for faster delivery. This may not have impacted Mahindra much, but it created doubt in the minds of customers like me.

Even in my personal life, I have experienced the same; while visiting a customer’s location for a consulting purpose, I was dressed up in a Nehru Jacket, and voila, the customer’s tone changed. Perception indeed creates an extensive image of an organization. Therefore, how we dress up, interact, and portray ourselves to external entities is critical in the customers’ minds.

Another example is when I used to work at saaarthi, where we provided driver-hiring services. To ensure that the end consumer perceives the organization as a valuable brand, we offered two-day training to drivers on etiquette; this skyrocketed the approvals for our drivers significantly. I am citing this example because no matter what kind of organizational position we are in; it impacts the perception.

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