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You Ask, I Answer: Sales and Marketing Tone of Voice?

Jake asks, “Can you talk about tone of voice and how to try and keep it consistent between sales and marketing?”

If there’s a big difference in tone between sales and marketing, it means that your messaging is not unified. This can be a problem if there’s no governance or plan in place. To fix this, you need top-down leadership to establish guardrails for the brand.

You Ask, I Answer: Sales and Marketing Tone of Voice?

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Christopher Penn 0:13

In this episode, Jake asks, Can you talk about tone of voice and how to try and keep it consistent between sales and marketing.

So this is tricky, because anytime you got a major difference between a tone and tone difference between sales and marketing, it means that your messaging is not unified.

Like there’s no master plan, there’s no master document, there’s no, there’s no direction that people are also rowing, right, but everyone’s kind of doing their own thing.

And this can be for a variety of reasons.

Sometimes, you’ve just got some wild cards in the deck who just kind of go off and do their own thing, I have been known to do that from time to time, like every day.

And you do have to rein those people in and help them understand like, okay, there’s, in the context of the role that you’re performing for the company, we need this to be the message, we need this to be how the company communicates.

Now, that’s not to say that a person has to only speak exactly in the company’s tone of voice, but the message has to be the same, the outcome for the customer has to be the same.

So sometimes you have that sometimes you just have general disorder, but you have no governance, there’s no plan.

And people are all over the place.

And when that happens, that’s a much bigger, but more important problem to solve.

Because, ultimately, what’s going on is, there’s no coordination.

I remember a bunch of years ago, I was doing some work with Toyota.

And they were launching their new Prius Prime, and they had this huge social media event and influencers getting paid hundreds of 1000s of dollars to post photos on Instagram with this new vehicle.

And then you go on their corporate social media, and they’re posting about the Sienna minivan.

And it’s like, why is this team here doing this thing, this other team is spending hundreds of 1000s of dollars doing this thing, and the two are not working together, it’s because they had no governance, they had no plan, they had no one in charge, right? The biggest breaks in tone of voices when there’s nobody in charge when no one has some kind of plan.

I totally get when you as an individual contributor, when you don’t like the plan, I totally get that I’ve been that individual at pretty much almost every company I’ve ever worked at.

But at the end of the day, you still have to give the audience what it is that they’re after on every channel when when they interact with the brand with your company, they have to feel like it’s a consistent experience.

We see this problem a ton between sales and customer service, right? Sales, this is great experience you feel like you’ve been taken care of and then the moment you get dumped in customer service, you’re like what I’m talking talking to somebody dog is barking on the other end of this call, and no one’s helping me.

Unifying your your tone of voice is is really about unifying your voice itself and saying this is our commitment.

This is our how we make decisions throughout the customer journey so that from the first moment somebody hears of us to the moment, you know that they celebrate their 20th anniversary as as their customer.

It’s consistent.

They know what they’re getting.

They know what they’ve been promised.

They know that we fulfill those promises.

And they know where to get help.

They know there’s somebody to talk to.

And that’s operational.

That is purely operational.

And it’s very, very difficult for most companies to get a hold of now, things that will help.

As much as you may not like them, as much as I don’t like them, sometimes standard operating procedures, really help templates, style guides, all these things that essentially say here are the guardrails of the brand, right? So we’re not going to post interviews with adult entertainers on our channel, we’re not going to do this, we’re not going to do that, right? We’re not going to support a certain political cause or a political point of view.

You put up guardrails, and then you can say you have the individual freedom to move and do what stuff in those within those guardrails and those guardrails are along the path that you want the company to go.

But somebody presumably in the C suite has to say these are what the guardrails are.

And if those guardrails are not defined, that’s when you get those really big breaks and tone of voice right when that marketing is saying one thing sales is saying something else and a customer is like, who am I talking to? Like feel like I’m talking to you know, to face from the Batman movies, one sides, saying one thing else and saying the other thing and neither of you are in agreement

that has to come From the top down, that’s the challenge.

It has to come from the top down.

It is not something that can ever be bottom up.

Because by definition, when you have a whole bunch of things bubbling up from the bottom, they’re going in different directions, right? You ever boil a pot of water and all the droplets go to just one direction now that never happens is going everywhere.

So if you’re at a company where there isn’t that top down, setting of guardrails, try advocating for it.

But there’s a good chance it’s not that’s not going to happen until you rise into those leadership roles or you just change companies.

But that’s that’s the fundamental problem.

It’s really hard to fix.

It is really hard to fix because it requires that stewardship from your leadership to make it happen.

Really good question complicated questions hard.

It is hard to solve for that problem.

But it can be done if leadership is buying in to the reasons why.

Thanks for asking.

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