Selling The Sizzle

Internal marketing optimises campaign performance

Effective internal marketing and internal communication improves employee contributions by aligning their roles, actions and ethics with the company’s own brand values. An organisation’s brand encompasses everything they are, as well as everything they do, so it’s essential that everyone plays their part.

In order to underpin its brand repositioning campaign, premier industrial rental company, Lifting Gear Hire*, recognised the importance of ensuring that its employees’ attitudes and behaviours reinforced their value proposition and were in full alignment with the campaign.

A large majority of Lifting Gear Hire’s customer-facing service personnel, including office-based hire controllers, had never received any formal sales training and needed a programme that would be quickly assimilated, affording practical, easily implemented strategies to help grow sales and improve the customer experience.

Communisage founder, Mike Cowburn created a targeted training programme for LGH personnel in order to embed the company’s brand values in a meaningful context. A well-known sales phrase, ‘sell the sizzle, not the steak’ became the theme for the internal campaign. Its focus was on what motivates people to buy – not fixing on a particular product or service, but rather on what the product or service achieves and how customer service and sales personnel contribute to the overall buying experience.

The analogy of the tempting aroma rising from the barbecue, creating the irresistible desire for steak, burgers, sausages provided an apt reference point to which LGH employees could readily relate, helping them to understand what makes their prospects metaphorically ‘salivate’ and encouraging them to promote those qualities!

Training took place across four stakeholder groups over several weeks and encompassed 112 employees in a mix of face-to-face and teleconference sessions. Learning outcomes included:

– how to sell benefits, not features
– the successful positioning of LGH benefits
– matching needs to features and benefits
– fully understanding and communicating the value proposition

Although the internal marketing aims were challenging from both a logistics and content viewpoint, a meaningful workshop programme was imaginatively designed and effectively delivered.

* Intellectual property rights to the LGH brand in the UK are owned by Speedy Hire plc following their acquisition of this business.

Employees were encouraged to share experiences and knowledge, which helped build confidence among a wide peer group and which, in turn, ensured optimal reinforcement of key company messages during face-to-face or telephone discussions with customers.