One area that can create conflict between marketing people and sales teams is branding.
This is an area that can cause some challenges. Traditionally, large-scale marketing was wholly associated with brand development and maintaining a consistent brand standard.
When you are a salesperson, though, every single interaction with potential customers is a one-to-one close. You are heavily incentivized to change the brand narrative to whatever you need it to be to make the close.
That really irks marketing people who want the brand to be the same for everybody. That constant push and pull has to be addressed through good collaboration and constructive debate between those two parts of a business.
Your brand extends all the way through every step of the customer journey. It informs every touchpoint all the way to delivery.
It should be consistent and scalable because if it is not, there is a risk that your salespeople will bend the narrative to get prospects on board – and then they churn. You do not want that.
When we work with a client, we want a consistent, ethical, and accurate brand experience. That way, when we put our own stamp on it through sales calls, we can feel that the experience is still consistent and authentic.
When it comes to startups, though, I do suggest that you should not be crazy about your branding budget. What is important is that it should be done well enough to check the right boxes.
There should be consistency and a branding guide. Always stick to your colors and fonts and ensure correct logo implementation.
I have seen founders – and I include myself in this – spend way too much time on their logo when they had no revenue. It is not that important!
However, right at the beginning of your business’s life is when you have those conversations about your vision, mission, and values and I think that’s necessary.
It should be coherent enough to tie together your messaging so that the things you say are consistent with what you believe about yourselves.
You should not leave any of that behind. There are instances when you create an initially profitable but soulless brand that ultimately falls apart because nobody knows what it stands for.
I am often asked what my favorite B2B brand is. I always like the work that McKinsey does, it gives you a feel that it’s expensive and I’ll often look at the work the company does.
Some of the classic IBM stuff was very well done on a massive scale and Microsoft does a lot of things well too.
But I often find myself drawn towards the smaller ones, not necessarily super-brands but brands where you have a really good experience and feel everyone is treated well.
Asana is pretty good like that, Slack has a really good understanding of its brand, and Zoom has come a long way in the last few months from what was a fragmented brand before.