Your Employer Brand May be Killing Your Sales
The Secret Weapon to Solving the Customer Journey
Much has been published about improving the customer journey and practicing a customer-centric approach to marketing. However, there’s one thing that stands out after you listen in on thousands of customer calls, and it’s a secret that can save you time, money, and most importantly, customers. Teach your employees “who to be” to the customer, and good things will happen.
Employer Branding. It’s Not Just About Finding Candidates Anymore
When we think of employer branding, we’re typically considering what impact it will have upon our ability to attract talented candidates to our organization. While this is an important aspect of employer branding, there is another important element to consider – your employer brand is a critical factor in supporting your company brand. Regardless of the messaging you create to support your company brand, most of your customers will eventually interact with your employees, and they will experience your true brand. Your true brand is a blend of your overall brand and your employer brand.
"...63% of employees do not know what makes their company special"
Your Employees Will Create a De facto Brand
Most employees are simply “winging it” when it comes to what sort of persona they should emulate to your customer. They don’t fail to emulate a persona to the customer because they don’t care, they fail to emulate a persona because they haven’t received guidance on which persona to project. Many organizations become a patchwork of a brand to their customers through the simple process of failing to communicate and measure the consistency and strength of their employer brand. Your employer brand not only instructs, but also attracts the types of employees that will naturally project the appropriate image. The employees not attracted by a strong employer brand are not necessarily bad employees, they just may not be the best fit for the position. There is a perfect brand for every employee.
Who Should Your Employees Be in the Eyes of Your Customer?
If you ask 10 employees “what is the personality of our brand?”, do you think you will get the same answer from all of them? You should. Employees need direction on how they should project the image of your company. The only way they know to do this is through the examples they see and the communication/training they receive.
One 2012 Gallup poll (of 3,000 randomly selected employees) found that when asked whether they agree with the statement “I know what my company stands for and what makes our brands different from our competitors,” only 37 percent of non-management employees strongly agreed, yet many of these employees are in customer-facing positions.
How May This Impact Your Sales?
Let's imagine that your customer values "helpfulness" at a high level (this is common among industrial B2B customers by the way). Assuming that you have an employee who values efficiency above all else, you will have a mismatch between your employee and your customer. Employees who value efficiency are generally fast, accurate and often short on the soft-skills. This doesn't make them bad employees, but it makes for a different brand experience than you intended for your customer.
We hear this in calls every day. While many callers are looking for general advice or industry expertise to confirm whether they are even approaching a project from the right perspective, the employees they talk to ask for specifics and say things like, "If you send me a drawing I can help you choose the right part.”
Think about this - what do we MOST want our customer to ask us? We want our customer to bring us their problem, not their proposed solution. The old sales phrase "move off the solution" suggests that we are more successful with customers who tell us "what's wrong" and let us work with them to find a solution. Unfortunately, many employees see this as indecisiveness or disorganization and frustration ensues. If our employees learn that "helpfulness" and "patience" are a key part of our brand (and they experience that as part of their interactions with the company they are a part of) it changes the filter through which they view these scenarios.
What is Your Employer Brand?
By taking a hard look at "who you promise to be" to your employees, you are casting the vision of what you believe and you are communicating your top priorities as an employer. Your employees will naturally (and rightly) assume that these principles carry through in how they should interact with your customer. The old saying "treat your employees how you want them to treat your customers" is a good start, and you can add "show your employees who you are and they will show your customer."
If you're interested in learning more about building an employer brand, or better tying your employer brand to your mission, let us know - we can help!