Drive bigger success by involving your sales and marketing audience at key stages earlier in the brand campaign development process.
As most marketers know, it’s important to keep your internal audiences informed about ongoing efforts to support them and your brands. It helps to instill confidence in your sales and marketing teams while also striving for a consistent message and position when going to market. You reinforce your brand’s point of difference and ultimate benefit when a real-world conversation aligns with what a farmer has previously seen or heard elsewhere in market.
Knowing this, most ag marketers work diligently to ensure their sales force and marketing team are fully up to speed on what communications are going out and when. We introduce new campaigns at national sales meetings, share media schedules and discuss timing for the next deployment of email.
And while we have embraced the increased value of engaging a farmer vs. just delivering an impression, we often miss that same opportunity when approaching our internal audiences.
Rather than just “looping in” the sales team when a campaign is ready, we should broaden our view to think about how the sales force can help us earlier in the process. After all, the sales force is out on the front lines having daily conversations with farmers on their challenges and opportunities. They are the face of our brands and companies when talking to farmers.
That’s not to suggest that the sales force be put in charge of developing brand strategy or an initial campaign concept. However, tapping them as a critical resource for planning purposes can prove invaluable. A small group often provides a treasure trove of insights if asked the right types of questions; insights that can drive strategy and even lead to breakthrough creative.
And a sales force consulted on the front end of a project will be much more eager to support the communications plan output. They will be quick champions of the strategy and the message when you seek them out as experts in the beginning.
Three Key Questions to Decide How to Engage Your Internal Audience
Here are three simple questions to ask yourself when considering internal audiences:
- Where in the process can they provide the most value?
Can they help better define the audience? Can they better articulate the functional benefit of the brand? Can they help dimensionalize the problem that your brand is fixing, or walk through the decision-making process in detail?
- Where in the process would their involvement not provide value?
Asking a sales force to review a brief or weigh in on creative concepts may not be the best use of their talents. Also, avoid turning to your sales force for direction on things better driven by data. Evaluating media outlets is one example.
- How can I get them most excited about the brand campaign rollout?
Tell the story from the beginning, and share the critical role that the sales and marketing team played in helping to develop the upfront strategy by sharing their insights. Link the final output to their depth of knowledge and expertise. Let them own the go-to-market plan, not just made aware of it.
In the end, your brand and your sales force will benefit, growing a stronger relationship with your customer.
President/Chief Integration Officer. Jeff combines 20 years of client service experience with his deep knowledge and passion for agriculture, which stems from growing up on a corn and soybean farm in northern Illinois. He is a quick study of the brand, the customers and competitors, knows the right questions to ask, and with his oversight on planning and analytics, pushes the team to category-defining strategies and results-driven plans.