We’ll make a confession. Some of us in this office are Apple people. We work on a Mac, have an iPhone, and also use Airpods. They love the modern, clean lines. Like the way all my devices integrate seamlessly. Even covet the boxes they come in. At this point, there will be some readers shaking their heads in disbelief and maybe shouting ‘no!’ at the screen, but that doesn’t make any difference to us. Some of us here are simply wedded to the Apple brand, and so are lots of other people.
It’s no surprise then that Apple has grown from a value of $42 billion ten years ago to a cool $260 billion in 2019.
Brand can be your best tool for sales growth
Brand is often separated from sales, with marketing taking charge of the look, feel and messaging. Using brand within a sales focused growth strategy is rarely on the agenda for sales teams. But we’d argue that it should be. According to Marketing Week,
“The majority of 270 B2B and B2C marketers surveyed (72%) agree that a combined sales activation and brand-building approach to marketing is the most effective at generating growth.”Marketing week
The link between brand and growth
If we define a winning brand as one that is experiencing revenue growth, then they seem to have some things in common. They are more likely to integrate brand building with sales activity. Rather than being viewed as a cost that can be easily cut, marketing is seen as an investment, with budgets that increase each year. They believe the combined sales/brand approach plays a crucial role in their success, and they take a long-term view of their growth rather than focusing on short-term wins that sales activation alone may bring. And they are more likely to focus on innovation. Sales activation has been described as the key to unlock the financial value of an organisation’s brand.
How brand sets you apart
So why do we choose Apple? For me, it feels different to all of the PC brands. The products are designed to be ultimately usable and fit for purpose. It offers a design look that others emulate but never beat. Having had to choose Windows laptops for others and found myself totally confused as to how to specify one, Apple products are easy to buy. In other words, it is different in a way that is meaningful to me. Apple – and others – have achieved this by being absolutely clear about the purpose of their brand. And all of their brand attributes, whilst undoubtedly conceived by marketing, are carried right through the sales process, whether you buy on-line or go into an Apple store.
How to incorporate this into your sales efforts
Anyone can create a brand. All you need is a well-defined purpose and a structure organised to deliver it. But that alone will do nothing to build value. It needs to be meaningful and relevant to your customers. It must address their true needs, and be priced to deliver what they perceive as value. That’s where sales comes in. The expert salesperson will take the brand and demonstrate how it solves their clients’ problems or meets their desires. They will show what great value their brand delivers.
As a final thought, it’s important to understand the power of the emotional bonds that connect customers to brands. The loyalty is created when customers believe that what you are offering genuinely relates to them. This is where the marketing messages and sales delivery combine to make the brand powerfully relevant to your audience.
Have you consciously sought to integrate brand and sales? If so, what success have you had? Let us know by commenting below.
Published: 15th July 2020.