The idea of building your own brand as a sales professional sounds daunting. When one considers that blogs, images, keywords, emails, social posts, and daily commenting will be needed, it sounds like the second job none of us wants. However, it is possible for sales professionals to market themselves without much extra work. That’s good news considering that the demands of the modern B2B sales landscape mean the best in enterprise, B2B and freelance sales will require more than just their core sales skills to get ahead.
To paraphrase Entrepreneur, “every salesperson functions as the CEO of their own business.” The crux of the argument, they argue, is that strong marketing augments the ability to close prospects:
“While perhaps not as do-or-die in real life, arguably sales’ most crucial role, in addition to closing deals, is maintaining an abundant pipeline of leads. To do this, salespeople are constantly acting as their own marketers, even as the marketing department creates leads.” For sales professionals that have been building relationships for a decade or more, the fact is that it’s impossible to keep a one-on-one relationship with each and every contact. The next best thing is to create a brand and build a manageable strategy that allows that brand to stay in front of those contacts.
With that in mind, here are 3 simple steps sales pros can employ to enhance their personal marketing efforts.
The first step to launching any personal sales-enhancing marketing plan is putting it down on paper. There are five main areas of consideration:
Analyze the Situation — List core strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to serve as a baseline for assessing future progress.
Define the Target Audience — Every salesperson has a demographic to concentrate on. Listing factors like industry, age, gender, etc. will help determine that demographic.
Set Goals — What tangible benefits should marketing achieve? Having goals will aid in assessing the success of marketing efforts.
Set Strategies & Tactics — Develop a timetable for employing marketing tactics for maximum efficacy and benefit.
Set a Budget — Calculate how much can be spent to achieve marketing goals; budget accordingly.
For salespeople, setting themselves apart from the pack is critical in gaining attention and building a following. This is where the idea of building a personal brand comes into play:
Choose the Right Platforms – Platforms such as facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media sites are ideal for promoting a personal brand. Choose up to three platforms to begin. Any more than three may prove too much to keep up with initially. Be sure the chosen platforms are where your target audience spends their time.
Define the Message — Building upon personal strengths and weaknesses, sales pros should determine their area of expertise, expand upon their knowledge in this area and use it to establish themselves as an authority.
Share the Knowledge — Through writing articles, posting videos and the like, sales pros build an audience that’s in tune with their personal message.
Engage — Respond to comments and questions left on the main platform and through social media. Engagement helps build a community and encourages followers to come back for more.
Build Trust — Through valuable, accurate content, sales pros can build the level of trust that makes them an authority on their area of expertise.
Be Unique — Personal branding efforts should take care not to follow the mold to the letter. Venturing to uncharted territory is key to gaining a dedicated audience.
Create a Persona — This goes in hand with becoming unique. A personal brand persona may be humorous, serious or anything in between. It will also help in targeting the core demographic.
Use Social Media to Broadcast Persona — Social media channels shouldn’t be all marketing efforts. Adding a touch of the brand persona — the individual behind the content — lends authenticity to the message.
Be Seen — An online presence is important, but making connections in person is also necessary to give the personal brand persona weight.
Be Accessible — Once the authority position is established, individuals will reach out for advice and guidance. Here, sales pros can shine by providing actionable advice or accurate information to whoever is asking.
Employ Two-Way Networking — When making connections, concentrate on making the relationship mutually beneficial to improve the chances of securing more opportunities in the future.
Keep Track of Contacts — Through being seen and networking, sales pros build a list of individuals they’ve come in contact with. That list should be detailed, showing who these relationships are and how they might help with furthering the personal brand.
Be Charitable — Using the personal brand to give back to charitable causes helps to increase its profile and highlight the brand’s values.
Assess Performance & Adjust — Have the personal branding efforts hit key goals and stayed within budget? If not, it’s back to the drawing board.
Persevere — Personal brand building takes time, but can only be achieved through sustained effort. Continuing to work at it every day is critical to success.
Technology can help speed marketing efforts by automating certain processes and improving the quality of marketing materials:
Enhance Photographs — Sharing photographs is a must for sales pros trying to enhance their personal brand. Technology like that included in the more recent smartphones allows them to quickly snap and edit shots that appear professional.
Automate Where Possible — Automation helps save time on repetitive processes. Tools like Buffer let pros schedule posts for optimum reach.
Refine SEO Efforts — SEO remains one of the best ways to gain a following through search engines. There’s a long list of tools and strategies designed to improve SEO for various platforms.
Get into Analytics — Analytics provide an idea of who social media efforts are reaching and how effective they might be. Analytical tools offer a way to glean insights from the raw numbers.
Test the Waters for a Personal App — Perhaps the greatest personal branding step, distilling the essence of the brand into a new app can help further reach and enhance messaging efforts.