Learn why brands should invest in making associates brand advocates
If brands are to reach their full potential they need their sales associates to become brand advocates. Often when the term “brand advocates” is used it refers to influencers, customers, or fans speaking positively about a brand to someone. While those groups can and will drive brand advocacy there are some big differences between sales associate advocacy and customer advocacy.
Unfortunately, brands don’t seem to put the same level of effort and investment into building brand advocacy amongst their retail sales associates as they do building customer advocacy, despite the fact that seller brand advocacy is the precursor to customer brand advocacy.
Sales associates are responsible for finishing the last 10 yards of a sale, getting customers to cross that finish line, and as such are poised with a unique opportunity to inform customers and ultimately drive the sale.
They also have a choice as to which brand the recommend to customers. Are you making sure they are recommending yours?
Brands that fail to make associates brand advocates risk sales staff becoming brand advocates for other, competing brands. Additionally, a lack of brand advocates can be one of the primary reasons for low sell-through as well as low engagement levels on product training content.
What is a Brand Advocate?
A brand advocate, put simply, is a promoter of your brand’s product (or service).
Sales associates that are proactively and enthusiastically recommending a brand are acting as advocates. Their ability to knowledgeably and passionately recommend your products to customers can greatly impact your brand in a positive fashion, and help drive business growth.
Why is Brand Advocacy Important?
Sales associate brand advocacy is of paramount importance for brands as customers value the opinions of sales associates highly. With 50% of shoppers seeking advice when they enter a store and 90% of customers who receive assistance purchasing an item, sales associates play a ‘make-or-break’ role in influencing a purchasing decision.
Furthermore, sales associates that work in a multi-brand retailer have the option to direct customers toward other, competing brands' products that they are more knowledgeable or passionate about. A customer can enter the store with the intention of purchasing a product from brand A however due an associate’s recommendation end up purchasing from brand B.
Finally, brands that don’t invest in making brand advocates of their sellers run the risk of them becoming a brand detractor - someone who takes away from their brand - or an advocate for another, competing brand.
Similarly to how customers place a higher level of trust in the review of a product from a friend or family member than a review from an influencer or an advert, sales associates are also looked upon as trusted voices when it comes to product recommendations. It’s important therefore for brands to invest heavily in creating brand advocates out of sales associates.
What are the Benefits To Your Brand?
Sales associates that are passionate about your brand are more likely to complete and engage with your brand’s product training content. In a multi-brand store where an associate's time is limited, they are more likely to gravitate towards the content of a brand they care about or have had a positive experience with.
Moreover, customers are able to sense this enthusiasm for the brand or product when talking to sales associates. Ever had a conversation with someone where you could tell they were in a rush or their mind was elsewhere? Now contrast that with the last time someone told you how their holiday was. By the time the conversation was over you probably wanted to go on that holiday yourself! It’s the same thing between sales associates and customers, brands that have higher levels of brand advocacy among sales associates are more likely to have their products spoken about positively which ultimately creates a better customer experience.
A good experience in retail stays with customers and they are more likely to return to purchase from your brand again in the future knowing they had a positive experience in the past and are likely to experience that same level of service again.
Sales associate brand advocacy is often overlooked but is an important investment for brands to make if they wish to set themselves apart from the competition.
Sales associates that are brand advocates are more likely to engage in your brand’s content due to being more interested in your brand; more likely to sell your product as they have higher levels of knowledge and speak more confidently and passionately about your brand and, finally, more likely to offer a premium customer experience to consumers.
While customer advocacy is important (word of mouth still remains one of, if not, one of the most trustworthy forms of product review), brand advocacy from the mouths of sales associates is the forerunner for customer advocacy.
Myagi’s digital retail sales enablement platform can help brands create, measure and increase brand advocacy. Myagi offers brand advocacy scores to its clients by collating feedback from sales associates to determine how knowledgeable they are on a brand’s products, how much trust they have in that brand, and how likely they are to recommend it.
Additionally, Myagi’s platform can help brands track brand advocacy through its real time analytics data function.
Finally, Myagi Services can help increase brand advocacy through its numerous packages including by content creation and incentive planning.
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