Introduction by Don McMahan-FlyCloud Consulting, (Outsourced VP of Sales)
This week kicks off our four-part marketing series with an intro to branding blog by my longtime marketing partner and guru, Robert Friedman of FearLess Branding. Robert does more than just help you develop a winning and cool brand strategy, as I do in sales, he implements your branding strategy right out to a website and all the marketing support you need to deliver your brand strategy and messaging to your clients…
Anyone who has been in sales for more than a few years can attest to the fact that it is a heck of a lot easier to sell something where the customer knows and trusts your brand. Perhaps more interesting to some of the larger companies (but effective as well for smaller companies) The Havas Media Group reported in recent research that “effective & meaningful” brands out perform the US stock market by 133%!
For the sales rep on the street the effects of good branding are immediately apparent. I can attest to the difference in difficulty of getting appointments at enterprise accounts if you are not a well-known brand. An effective marketing campaign and a strong brand can shorten the sales cycle dramatically no matter what you are selling. This is a problem well known to any of you in a startup enterprise…
Whereas it seemed rather easy to get that appointment when you worked at Salesforce, now at your “who-are-these-SAAS-guys” it is a whole different situation is it not? All the more reason, smaller companies (especially) need a well thought out marketing strategy and partner.
Give your sales team a fighting chance with not only the coolest SAAS product of the year, but with the basic tools every sales force needs, effective branding and marketing campaigns…
Don McMahan is the President of FlyCloud Consulting, and provides outsourced, fractional sales leadership for companies $5M and up across all industries. Don is also a specialist in Sales Team Compensation designs and also has a suite of services for B2B cannabis companies. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
BRAND POSITIONING: MAKE THE TOUGH DECISIONS
By Robert Friedman, Fearless Branding
You’re sitting down with a potential client and you must find out if there’s a fit. Here’s what the prospect is thinking:
Should we hire you? Or would one of your competitors do a better job?
Before you ever get to the meeting, your business must be positioned precisely in your marketplace – and in the mind of the prospects you really want to work with.
Do you believe your business delivers value your competitors can’t match?
If so, are you doing a good job of defining and articulating it?
Most many business look and sound just like their competition. Their messages are not powerful enough, not emotional enough, not differentiated enough. They do not have a clear market position.
This lack of competitive differentiation makes sales and marketing difficult.
Everyone wants competitive advantage. But not everyone realizes that competitive advantage is the result of making a series of tough decisions.
It’s often overlooked: to create competitive differentiation you must BE different. Work differently. Define your audience differently. Communicate differently.
If you want to do a better job of articulating to prospects why your business is just the right fit for them, here is a five-part model to help you differentiate your brand.
The questions are simple, but many businesses answer them badly – and by badly, I mean generically. Can you answer these questions in ways that your competitors can’t?
1) Who are you?
Have you defined what you stand for? Is there an emotional hook? Is it demonstrably different than your competitors?
Product and service features can be copied and can become commoditized. But defining who you are in a unique way can never be copied and is at the heart of a valuable brand.
My favorite exploration of this topic is a talk that Steve Jobs gave when he returned to Apple after being in exile. He was introducing the Think Different campaign to his internal team. He brilliantly explains branding and marketing in six minutes:
2) What do you do?
What’s unique about your methodology, your delivery or your products? How does what you do reflect your core values? Can you explain how you do what you do in a way that’s compelling to a new client?
3) Who do you do it for?
One or the biggest mistakes I see is that companies cast a wide net looking for clients and customers when spear fishing would be more effective. When an ideal customer sees your website or has an initial conversation with a representative from your company, would they say: “You are talking directly to me. You’re not trying to be all things to all people.”
A client once said to me: “You taught me to define and limit.”
Are you defining your ideal clients in a precise way – and is your definition of an ideal client clear in all your marketing materials and sales conversations?
4) What do they want?
Once you know who your ideal clients are, your job is to speak to their deepest needs and desires. You’ll need to find an insight. Can you understand a pain point or an objective that you can help them with that your competitors are not addressing?
5) What do they get?
Clients and customers are willing to spend money because they want or need to get something – and it’s your job to articulate the benefits they receive. the way clients define their needs often start out in a simple way: “We need a car to get from point A to point B.” But we know that a simple framing of need doesn’t really tell the whole story. If it did, we wouldn’t have cars ranging from Rolls Royce to Ford Fiesta.
It’s your job to articulate the value of your brand, who it’s the best fit for, and how it plays – and wins – in your competitive environment.
By asking – and answering – the tough questions that define your difference, your business becomes more relevant, more inspiring – and more fearless. Attracting your ideal clients gets a lot easier.
ABOUT ROBERT FRIEDMAN AND FEARLESS BRANDING …
Robert Friedman is the founder of Fearless Branding, a consultancy dedicated to the eradication of generic brands.
Fearless Branding’s clients include professional service and consulting firms that need to precisely define their competitive advantage to achieve their objectives. Fearless Branding delivers strategy and creative services, including websites, brand identity and thought leadership content.
Robert Friedman started his career working at prominent New York advertising agencies, including DMB&B where he worked for clients including Proctor & Gamble, Richardson Vicks, Mars and Kraft. Prior to founding Fearless Branding, Robert was a brand manager for Kraft, Nestle and ConAgra.
Robert is a graduate of Vassar College. He lives in Oakland, CA.
WANT TO LEARN MORE?
Here a couple of resources to explore:
The Fearless Branding Manifesto shows you how to use fearlessness to grow your business. You’ll learn 12 principles that will enable you to position your business more precisely in your market. Following each principle is a question that represents an important decision for you to make. You can download it here: http://fearlessbranding.com/manifesto
For more detail about the Fearless Branding’s five question model, you can also watch my webinar How to Build A Fearless Brand here: http://www.fearlessbranding.com/webinar
Mention FlyCloud Consulting in your email to Robert and get his $500 Total Marketing Assessment at no cost until June 30, 2018.