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Get Marketing, Sales On Same Page With Refined Brand Story

Don't let internal misalignment prevent you from telling — and selling — your story.

The Harvard Business Review found that marketing and sales departments are often disconnected. When these teams have different responsibilities, sales can get frustrated, marketing messages can get lost, and the customer experience can suffer.

While marketing attracts customers with well-done materials and messaging strategies, sales has to present a consistent brand identity. For this to happen, marketing has to "hold the story longer" and spend time sharing it with those on the front lines so they can become great storytellers, too.

The interpretation problem and the storied solution

Sometimes, marketing and sales departments get caught up in their own work and don't communicate much with each other. Building silos is easy when you're trying to do what needs to get done. But silos don't just keep employees locked away from each other — they keep brand stories and messages locked away, too.

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This leaves marketing creating messages that salespeople have to try to interpret themselves.

So how can you bridge divides, connect with the front line, and enhance your brand story? Follow these three steps to get buy-in:

Translate the language. Marketers and customer-facing teams tend to talk to consumers in different ways. You wouldn't use the language from a billboard when talking to someone in a retail store. For example, Subaru's "Share the Love" campaign offers a great slogan, but what does it mean to a salesperson in a dealership?

Translate the essence of your brand story into new language and actions for front-line personnel, The more relevant you can make it to them and the ways they talk to customers, the better. Each department will be more confident telling the tailored story, and customers will be more receptive when they hear it.

Break the story into pieces. A great author can pull readers through a story by sharing information piece by piece. Similarly, if you tell your story to your internal audiences like this, you'll keep them engaged and excited for what comes next and give them the chance to learn it as it evolves. Even better, it'll be a story they want to tell.

One company created an internal teaser campaign to create buzz for a mobile phone launch. Instead of giving employees every detail about phone and the promotions for it, there were cryptic messages that hinted at what was coming. By taking the bits-and-pieces approach, the company built anticipation and had a solid product launch.

Mix up the training style. How you convey the stories you want your employees to tell matters. Hook them by finding storytelling tactics that are compelling and fit the needs of your team members. Some companies use virtual training in the form of quick videos to teach their sales teams, for example. These bite-sized clips are a great way to keep everyone on the same page and engaged with the messages you want them to share.

Marketers have an opportunity to make the difference in how their brand story is told. By holding the story longer, they can get audience attention and do it in a way that stays consistent no matter which team is sharing the message.

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