Updated: Mar 17
Opportunities to create sales equity vary depending on the industry and/or the sales situation. Even in B2C relationships, it's possible to build sales equity. Take Starbucks as an example— Starbucks cannot solely rely on product or brand equity to sell its products. However, when baristas learn the names of the customers and are engaging, Starbucks is building sales equity; Starbucks understands that 1:1 relationships add value.
Depending on your industry, you must generally excel at creating one of the three equities while simultaneously being competitive in the other two.
Product Equity Think product equity for commodities. If you are selling corn, you are usually selling it by the barge load. It does not matter whose farm it came from because there is no brand equity there— it is only corn. It does not matter who the barge operator is because there is no sales equity. Your corn simply needs to be fairly priced; you are not getting paid extra for having a popular brand or a great barge operator. It is nonsensical for the corn farmers to try and be palsy-walsy with their buyers.
Brand Equity Think brand equity for Business to Consumer (B2C). Most consumer product companies have figured out that their focus should be on brand equity. It does not make sense for Coca-Cola to spend time and money building 1:1 relationships with its consumer base— all six billion of them. Coca-Cola is selling a common product to billions of people. Economically speaking, any one individual buyer is not that valuable to them, and that is the way it is for most B2C companies. Make the product, market it, and hope people will buy it.
Sales Equity Think sales equity for Business to Business (B2B). In the B2B arena, customers do not line up to buy stuff, and if they did, we would not need salespeople. In B2B industries, buyers need to be actively sold. The reason we need salespeople in B2B is that in most cases, there are no one-size-fits-all products. Individual B2B buyers require tailored solutions, and they need a knowledgeable person to help them understand how a product or service is going to work for them. Buyers also need to be able to trust the person sitting across the table from them, especially because there are complex decisions to be made, with many people having to sign off. In contrast to B2C companies, B2B has a high dollar value per customer.
Of course, these are just rules of thumb. Even companies like Coca-Cola have a number of valuable, important 1:1 relationships that are worth the effort it takes to build sales equity.
While the sales team at Coca-Cola likely does not care, or at least should not care, about an individual drinker of Coke; the average person probably spends a couple of hundred dollars on Coke products a year. On the other hand, if you were the Chief Soft Drinks Buyer for Walmart, then Coca-Cola should care very much about what you think! This is because your individual value has suddenly sky-rocketed, and Coke should start trying to tailor a solution just for you to build sales equity.
How are you trying to improve sales equity? Comment down below! After that, follow us on Linkedin at “Encompass CX” to stay up to date about our latest blog posts and other information!
Co-written by Alexis Audeh