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If you want to stand out as a rep company, you must get your name out there, and that means getting involved in some good old marketing and branding. The good news is that practically zero rep companies ever pay any attention to marketing their companies. This means that any company that invests a little time and money in marketing will stand out, and it’s not that hard to do.
Finding your company’s brand and then marketing that brand is one of the best things you can do to make your company stand out. But there is also another added feature to marketing your company, and that is the very first step—any marketing plan is deciding who you are, what you are going to do and who you are going to do it for. What niche are you going to fill? And why are you going to do it better than anyone else? The process of self-examination necessary to answer these questions will make you a better company from the get-go.
With that in mind, here are seven steps to effectively build and implement a successful marketing plan for your rep company.
- What’s in a name? Picking the best name for your company is critical. You can go the easy route and just name it after yourself. Or you can get a little creative and come up with a name that will not only mean something, but be memorable as well. The name should have meaning and represent who you are, what you do, and the way you do it. Something like “Sales Sparks” will give the impression of a hot, aggressive firm. Something like “Critical Sales” has a more serious, important connotation. The important thing is to come up with a name that fits your company’s brand and conveys the image you want to get across.
- Once you have the right name, you must come up with ways to get your name out to the marketplace. You need to identify methods that will get you noticed, lifting your firm above all of the others. Come up with a plan to get your name out there.
- Traditional marketing is the first step in getting your name into the marketplace. This does not have to be expensive. Press releases, for example, are free and a great way to get exposure. Write press releases for anything significant that you do, from signing with a new principal to hiring a new salesperson. Makes sure your press releases are professional in appearance and content, and they should always carry your company’s message—basically, your elevator spiel. Collect a list of all the publications pertinent to your market and send your press releases to all of them. Advertising is also a good route, but it can be expensive, so spend your ad dollars very carefully. Make sure you are in the right trade pubs, the ones with the right audience for your business. Your ads must always carry your message.
- Content marketing is another important tool. Start writing about the industry, and keep writing. Getting your writing published is the best way to amplify your message. Writing a regular sales column in one of the trade magazines will get you well-known very quickly and establish you as an industry expert and leader. Articles on sales and marketing are a wonderful way to establish your professional presence as an industry leading rep firm.
- Social media is here to stay, so you might as well accept it and jump in with both feet. Not believing in social media makes you sound old and out of touch. Instead, get involved in social media. If you are in fact old, get your kids or your grandkids to show you how to do it. LinkedIn is great, and Twitter is fun and easy. A blog is just a shorter social media column. One of the good things about content marketing and social media is that you can “repurpose” everything you write. Shorten that column and make it a blog. Post in on LinkedIn and tweet about it on Twitter; you will get a great deal of bang for the buck, because most social media costs nothing.
- Embrace networking. Your goal should be to become the most famous sales representative in the best-known rep firm in your territory, if not the country. Talk to everyone. Help as many people out as possible. Be the go-to person, always willing to lend a hand. Be as helpful as possible and people will start turning to you for advice. And most of the time they will return the favor.
- Speak up. Become the spokesperson of your industry. Take every opportunity to speak up. Join the industry groups on Linkedin, start your own group, or both. Get involved in as many panel discussions as possible. Give talks, webinars, and papers. These are all great ways to become the most famous rep in your business, and you will also become the best informed just by virtue of putting these presentations together.
And one more: Be a joiner. Participate in as many business-related organizations as possible. Join your local Chamber of Commerce, IPC, SMTA, the Electronics Representative Association, and any other organization that will help your business. Then, when you have joined these organizations, take on leadership roles when they are available.
Remember, the better you are known in your own market, the better known your firm will be and the more successful it will be. All of these things join together to create a great brand image for your firm, and that’s what it’s all about.
It’s only common sense.