Brand advocates: they ooze corporate identity and the deepest soul of your company’s mission statement with every move, word and email they power through. They are your Sales team and they are the brand ambassadors interfacing live and uncut with your audience daily.
If you’re a B2B Marketer, then you cannot afford to leave your Sales professionals as inactive bystanders of your content strategy – they should be the brand advocates at the heart of it. LinkedIn has given your company the perfect sounding board to create a meaningful brand experience for the businesses you want to reach; your Sales department can become the voice that carries your message across the nation and their growing networks.
Direct Marketing, media buys, social updates and sponsored campaigns already drive our strategy with real results. Why should we involve the Sales department instead of keeping their hours dedicated to well, Sales?
In the words of Dave Kerpen, CEO of Likeable Local, “Your brand advocates are more valuable than any advertisement you could ever buy.” Even if your current digital marketing has shown results that have your executive team and board members over the moon, if you could over-perform your current success why wouldn’t you try? Making your Sales professionals the mouthpiece of your brand messaging doesn’t mean changing your strategy, it only means putting their voices behind it.
Our Sales representatives do not always understand the value of Marketing. That’s why they’re in Sales.
Marketing and Sales professionals usually speak in completely different dialects. Marketers are building a brand experience, a dialogue, and a community where their products or services live as a smart solution to their clients and their business goals. Sales professionals are natural problem solvers who generally use concrete facts, statistics, metrics and results to build relationships that inevitably drive numbers. Part of being a brand advocate is the realization of how your day-to-day actions with customers and partners carry into the company’s overall brand image.
Salucro’s Sales department is made up of seasoned professionals who are geniuses at not only positioning our products, but themselves. I was able to catch their attention by letting them know supporting our marketing strategy would increase their visibility and pivot them as thought leaders in our industry. All while driving messages from leads straight to their Inbox. My exact pitch was “Wouldn’t you rather have these sales inquiries from engaged prospects come straight to you instead of Marketing?” (Needless to say, I had them at hello.)
What are the basics I need to cover in supporting our content strategy on LinkedIn?
There are three simple basics you’ll want to cover with your Sales department in Brand Advocacy training. First explain what a brand advocate is and how their involvement will benefit the company and their individual career and sales goals. Next, guide your Sales team in building a personal presence and audience (network) on LinkedIn.
Every good Brand Advocate needs a solid overview of what makes them qualified to sell what they do, and a sharp looking headshot. Make sure to give examples and explain that investing a few good hours in tweaking their profiles will benefit their careers in ways they never thought possible.
Finally, let your Sales force know that they should be joining relevant industry groups chock-full of potential buyers and sharing brand content you publish from the company account, (blog posts, videos, digital white papers, Slideshare presentations, etc.) with them. They can share relevant company postings with these industry groups, their networks and extra warm prospects that they can contact via message or InMail.
Your Marketing department is already hard at work publishing meaningful content for your audience and their businesses on LinkedIn. The messaging is there. Now position your in-house Brand Advocates to take it further than any advertisement can reach. Give them voices and a personal stake in the company and your brand awareness will pan beyond publication pages, postings and conference halls to be everywhere your industry is and will be.
Read the expanded article in the digital July issue of Onward Magazine, (page 20). I look forward to covering this topic at the Advancements in Content Marketing Conference this November – hope to see you there.