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How HR teams can use sales and marketing techniques to develop culture, and implement change

The following is a summary of a presentation I ran at two recent Elephant HR conferences on why sales and marketing skills are very useful in the HR department of a company.

Culture within a business creates the culture of how we then communicate with the rest of the world – and in particular with your customers. When the external messaging is not the same as the internal messaging it’s only a matter of time until the internal messaging will destroy the integrity of the external message.

For example – if your external sales and marketing message is the customer is always first, but you don’t extend that message to respect and care of your team, then eventually the customer will experience less than positive behaviour. And the external messaging you’ve carefully constructed will be destroyed by reality.

I’m a marketing agency owner who train people in how to sell and how to market their business. Quite often work with us will also include looking at a company’s culture and a company’s internal processes because if the business grows, this is the area that will affect its authenticity, and capability to grow.

It starts with marketing

Before a business sorts out its external messaging, it needs to work on its internal messaging or culture. Or the business will struggle to maintain growth and achieve goals. You might see fast growth but you won’t see sustained growth if you don’t look after this step.

Trying to change the outward culture or messaging without first working on the inward messaging won’t work.

For us as a business, we’ve used 4DX to work out as a team what our long-term goals are, and how we are tracking towards them. It meant I (as the business owner) had to renege control over our overriding vision and get the leadership team to work with me to create a goal that reflects our culture, then create consistent messaging within that that embedded our culture, and then changed our sales and marketing messages.

Our internal messaging has to be something everyone can buy into and share and believe in. A large company I worked with last year focuses on “make more money” as their overriding objective. This is great for anyone who gets rewards for more money being made. But what of the people “doing” who don’t benefit (expect by keeping their job safe) How can THEY own this message?

For us – our change was moving from “Double our turnover” to “Grow 100 business from January 1 2017 to December 31 2017. What this has meant for us is the following

1.      Discovering together how we define “grow”

2.      Working out how to measure and record this

3.      Defining how we’d do the work to get this done

4.      Setting progress goals everyone buys into

From this, our marketing messages and sales messaging has changed dramatically – as everything is focused around delivering to our goals. It’s made our team meetings very focused and helped develop our company culture – from one that was focused on higher turnover, to one more focused on meeting the needs of the customer.

The right team message must have buy in, and it must be clear, with the right tone fitting the company culture, and be mentioned everywhere until it is embedded into the company psyche.

The message needs to make sense to everyone – for instance “family values” only works if everyone has the same idea of what that means. If everyone is from a dysfunctional family then things might go pear shaped very quickly!

Whatever it is, it needs to be simple. No jargon, no long descriptions of lists of 12 values – keep it easy, clear and concise and memorable.

It needs to be everywhere – put it on posters, in email signatures, and mention it during meetings. It becomes

This is your internal marketing message.

It leads to sales

Once you’ve got your message, using sales techniques can help you embed it into the company culture.

If you need to get a message (or a new initiative) over the line, these are some sales tips that work well in an internal messaging setting

1.      Develop relationships with key “A” contacts in your organisation who influence others. These aren’t always the leadership team – but are the people others listen to. The people holding the ‘real” power.

2.      Ignore negative behaviours where possible, avoid power struggles, and find easier ways in. Don’t feel a closed door is a challenge. Find another way in through another avenue. There is always another way into to the decision maker.

3.      Always start with from the premise of “How will this add value to the person I’m talking to” If you can’t find anything, don’t open your mouth until you have got it sorted in your head.

4.      Keep the control of the contact – after meetings end with “these are the next steps” and always include when YOU will be next in contact. (and make sure you do)

5.      Always send a follow up email – the added contact helps, plus it sets everything in writing

6.      Use an internal CRM to keep notes and records of messages (great future proofing and it means you can track points of contact and who is connecting with different people. )

7.      Always go in with a secondary objective to “getting your plan across the line” in any meeting. Like all good sales people, this is about self-development – maybe learning to allow silence in the meeting, or to ask better questions, or to keep people focussed. Each meeting adds to your professional development. Take it as opportunity.

8.      Remember everyone in your company is part of your internal sales and marketing team – they are all potential sales stars who can help ideas become accepted.

Using sales and marketing ideas can help HR teams to embed new culture, new policies or new initiatives (and change!) more effectively, so that the internal changes are positively reflected both internally and externally.

Rachel Klaver is managing director of Identify,  a full service marketing agency for small to medium businesses. We create our clients’ strategy, deliver exceptional content, run campaigns ( managing Facebook, LinkedIn and other social platforms, and PR), as well as providing facilitation and training to help businesses do their own marketing.

Our goal for 2017 is to grow 100 NZ businesses – we’ll be tracking, measuring and keeping accountable to that goal – let us know if you want to be one of the 100.

Please join her mailing list – it’s private business coaching only shared with subscribersor contact her [email protected] , or via linkedin if you want more people to know about you and your business. Her team will get your business growing.


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