Brand Strategy

How Intentional Language Can Bridge The Gap Between Sales and Marketing

by Carmella D'Acquisto
Categories: Brand Strategy
6 min

One of the biggest benefits of developing a strong brand is the way branding builds a bridge between sales and marketing. The struggle between sales and marketing can feel vast, but there are steps that can improve alignment between the two teams to work toward the best outcomes for your team and for your customers.

What Can Go Wrong

Both sales and marketing departments have their individual goals and priorities. They may feel that they work in isolation, however, from the perspective of your customers, their work is very connected.

If your sales team says one thing about your product, but your marketing team isn’t supporting that message, potential customers may not even make it to the stage of talking with sales.

When potential customers look online for information, if they aren’t convinced that your product may have a solution for their problem, they likely won’t take the next step to talk to sales — even if your sales team could absolutely address their challenges. Your marketing team has the opportunity to reinforce messaging through a variety of content marketing channels: website content, blogs, white papers, third-party articles, educational content, social media, or other avenues.

Alternatively, if your digital presence is strong, your marketing team has created robust educational content and helpful tips a customer may very well take the next steps to contact sales. At this point, if the sales team can’t back up and support the information they learned through marketing, it can result in a disappointing customer experience.

If the product doesn’t match the promises of marketing and the information from sales, then you can lose a customer for life.

The Power of Alignment

Alignment can be a powerful position. According to research compiled by Hubspot — sales and marketing alignment can make a huge impact on your business:

  • 87% of sales and marketing leaders say collaboration between sales and marketing enables critical business growth.
  • 60% of global respondents in a LinkedIn survey believed that misalignment between sales and marketing could damage financial performance.
  • 90% of sales and marketing professionals point to a number of disconnects across strategy, process, content, and culture.

Though there are many roads to alignment, one of the most important is using consistent and intentional language in your content.

Language is a part of every single stage of the buyer’s journey. Whether it is information they read on your website, an ad they hear on the radio, or promises made by the sales team—language is how customers learn about your product, buy into your brand, and ultimately trust that your products can solve their problems.

Therefore, intentential language and cross-department language alignment have the potential of creating a powerful path for customers to easily move from recognizing a need, to investing in a solution.

“The key for marketing and sales teams is to effectively execute a content marketing strategy. This begins with understanding the informational needs of the buyers during each stage of the purchase cycle. Next, it requires an investment in producing quality content that is perceived as helpful, not necessarily ‘sales-oriented.’ This content should ideally exist in a variety of formats, not just the venerable whitepaper.”
– Jeff Rackley (@DemandMetric)

“The key for marketing and sales teams is to effectively execute a content marketing strategy. This begins with understanding the informational needs of the buyers during each stage of the purchase cycle. Next, it requires an investment in producing quality content that is perceived as helpful, not necessarily ‘sales-oriented.’ This content should ideally exist in a variety of formats, not just the venerable whitepaper.”

Jeff Rackley

Chief Analyst, DemandMetric

Taking a Deeper Dive

Your language in branding, marketing, and sales should be a part of one of three categories:

  1. Why
  2. How
  3. What

Branding – The Why

Brand messaging most often talks about the why of your business. Of course, these categories are not strict guidelines (sales should absolutely talk about the “why” as well!) Instead, these messages are placed in the part of the buying journey where it will be most beneficial to new and potential customers.

Brand language is usually seen by a large audience—anyone who could visit your website, visit your social platforms, even see your advertisements. These messages are being seen by a large swath of people, so the language needs to be broad (entry-level) enough that it can communicate with people who aren’t familiar with your products.

Though the language needs to be easy to understand, it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be specific. Here is where you can talk about the whys of what you do. It’s the specific, clear, and differentiated reasons why your company exists and stands out among the fold.

When crafting your brand messaging, consider starting with these questions:

  • What is your mission?
  • Why do you help your audience?
  • Why do your products and services set you apart?

Marketing – The How

If brand language is the “why,” marketing takes content a step further to talk about the “how.”

This language will be on your website, but it will also be in industry articles your team writes, targeted emails you send out, landing pages, ads and other spaces where people who are further along the buyer’s journey may look for information.

The “how” language is a great opportunity to demonstrate the expertise of your team and the value of your products. Here you can discuss all the ways your product solves your customer’s problems. These may be the benefits of the materials you use, key features, the unique expertise of your team and other ways you can help your customers reach their goals and combat their challenges.

Sales  – The What

By the time a customer reaches a sales representative, they likely will be well versed in your brand and your offerings. Now, they need the specific insight of your sales team to understand what investment they should be making—this is your team’s opportunity to share the specific products and options that work best for customers’ specific needs.

The expertise of the sales team will support what they were promised in the “why” and back up the claims of the “how.” Each salesperson has their own techniques and preferences on how they talk to customers. Alignment doesn’t look to restrict or monitor these conversations– just to make sure the language flows through the buyer’s journey and can be backed up at every stage.

The “what” is specific to each customer, and far too granular to be shared on the website or on social media. These are often one-on-one conversations that can last for months or longer. It’s a personalized process where the salesperson tells the customer exactly what they need to know, answers their questions, cementing trust.

Bring It All Together

So how can you make the “why,” “how,” and “what” come to life? Here are a few first steps:

  1. Define brand claims and test them against what you can deliver, and how your sales team sells
    1. Include key people from multiple departments to include all perspectives, get across-the-board buy-in, and ensure all perspectives are covered.
  2. Create brand language and continually monitor it
    1. Test every message you put out– does this support our brand claim?
  3. Analyze and adjust marketing language and deliverables
    1. Does this answer ‘why?’ or ‘how?’ Does it support/align with our brand claim? Can sales/product back it up? Will the customer have a consistent, trustworthy experience
  4. Keep sales actively involved
    1. Does the sales team understand/buy into the brand and marketing claims? Do they feel like they have the discipline to support these claims, but the freedom to have the discussions they need to close the sale?

Learn More From Strategy House

Strategy House works with manufacturers like you to create and manage a powerful brand, and establish the systems you need to ensure long-term success. If you want to make an organizational shift to better align your sales, marketing, and branding efforts, reach out to our team today or learn more on our blog.

Carmella D'Acquisto
Carmella D'Acquisto is the Content Strategist and Brand Storyteller at Strategy House. Backed by years of copy writing, marketing and creative writing experience, Carmella, alongside the rest of the Strategy House team, helps bring manufacturing brands to life. Outside of Strategy House, Carmella is a freelance writer and contributor at Milwaukee Record. When she's not behind her computer, you can catch her at a local show or thrift store.