Our clients often say, "We need to boost our focus on communicating externally—we need to win more market share." While supportive of this goal, we also encourage them to leverage an often-overlooked resource: their own people. Our research and experience shows businesses need to ensure they are united internally in order to have a more powerful reach externally. Below, we share four less obvious (but powerful) ways to increase your market share from the inside out:
Share your business' vision and values with your workforce. Insights, ideas, and innovation will follow. Senior leaders who deliberately take the time to outline their business vision and values internally inspire their people to live them everyday. When the company asks for ways to improve the business, employees are more forthcoming with new insights, ideas, and innovations. This self-reinforcing ecosystem will contribute to the business and its long-term success. By doing so, clients experience this dynamic and deepen their engagement.
Ensure everyone can articulate what your business does and how you're different. Senior leaders often assume everyone in their company can explain their business. In our experience this is uncommon—especially in the business-to-business world. Many companies provide obscure, unfamiliar, or complex products, services, or technology, and articulating what the business does can be harder than they think. Perhaps the sales team has the answer…but if your employees were asked "What does your company do?" at a backyard barbecue, would they know what to say?
When we pose this question to a cross-section of our client's employees, many stumble, ramble on, or—more concerning—invoke the name of a competitor to explain who they are and what they do. Yikes!
Align sales and marketing. Consistency should be non-negotiable. Assuming the sales team can effectively describe what your company does, is your marketing department in agreement? And is it actively communicating this message? Inconsistency can break down brands more quickly than leaders realize. If sales and marketing are not in lockstep, you are probably confusing your potential prospects and making the goal of greater market share longer and harder to attain.
Once your business determines how to articulate itself in a clear but differentiating manner, senior leaders must champion (and police) their communication channels to ensure these messages are reaching both internal and external audiences without distortion.
Increase market share by tapping a fount of potential new leads: your people! Once your workforce understands what your business does, who you do it for, and why you are different, the sales and marketing team should tap this internal reservoir for potential new contacts, prospects, partners, and even sales leads. In the new socially networked and wirelessly enabled world, our collective extended network can be another great source to fill the sales pipeline, ultimately contribute to growing your business' market share.
Considering these efforts as a vital part of your overall branding, sales, and marketing strategy will yield unexpected value, employee satisfaction, engagement, and greater retention. Better still, they'll substantially contribute to your goal of winning more market share.
Brenna Garratt is CEO of The Delve Group. Contact her by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.