Is your brand story portable?
Here’s a very common business-to-business marketing challenge: We don’t always get to have direct communication with all of the decision influencers who affect our ability to make a sale.
We can form a very strong relationship with a few people in an organization, but they frequently need to get the buy-in of other people in their company. Sometimes, they need approval from senior management, and sometimes they need agreement from leaders of other departments that will be impacted.
This requires a highly “portable” brand story. Not only do you need to communicate your brand story to your customer contact in a highly compelling way, you also need to communicate it in a way that your customer contact can take it with them to other parts of the company and communicate it as if you were there. The story can’t fall apart. It needs to be portable.
A few tips to craft a portable brand story:
- Understand the other decision influencers
- As you get to know your customer, seek to understand who the other decision influencers are, and what will motivate them to commit you.
- Engage your customer contact in conversations about your offerings
- Guess what? You need to do this anyway! But when your customer talks with you about your offerings they will become more fluent in discussing them.
- Collaborate with your customer
- Make this an open conversation
- Engage your customer in a dialogue in which you work together to create the best, most personalized approach for them to endorse your product in their organization. (Don’t assume they will communicate your brand story effectively just because you’ve explained it to them.)
- Give them tools
- Create marketing tools – web pages, printed materials, etc. – specifically for this purpose. Don’t depend on your regular materials or sales decks to work if you’re not there to present them.
- Determine what success looks like
- Do you want your customer to close the sale for you, or do you want them to sell the decision influencers on meeting with you?
The bigger the organization, the more complex the sale is likely to be, and the more people who will have a say in whether or not you get the business. Don’t let your story fall apart as it works its way through an organization; make your brand story portable!