Women in Sales Blog

Guide to Building Credibility Internally and Externally as a Sales Rep with your Personal Brand

Posted by Sep 22, 2016 10:00:00 AM Ali Powell


Building credibility as a sales rep internally and externally is necessary if you want to work your way up in sales. 

To improve your credibilitiy internally and externally it is important to understand your personal branding. Sales people tend to think in the moment and in terms of getting the deal in. It is not usually a priority to think about a few years from now or even 10 years from now what you want your personal branding to be. That takes time and effort and let's be honest we are busy spending on our time on our pipeline and getting deals in. Thinking about the future can be daunting and tiring. 

Guess what? It is not as hard as you might think to work on your personal branding as a sales rep. You are actually working on your external brand every day when on calls or in meetings with your prospects and customers. You work on your internal personal brand everyday without even knowing it. 

Your personal brand as a sales rep can help you to improve how prospects perceive you. As your personal brand expands you will see your prospects trusting you more because they have read your insights and content online somewhere. You will become a trusted source of information as you build up your personal brand online. 

Thinking about your personal brand as a sales rep internally will help you as you progress your sales career at company. You want people around you at work to think highly of you and know what you are good at.  By working on your personal sales brand internally and externally your credibility will improve. 

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1. Learn how to building credibility internally at your company to help boast your personal brand for career progression.

2. Learn how to building credibility externally to improve your personal branding for your sales career. 

Tips for Building Credibility Internally as a Sales Rep. 

To figure out your personal branding at your company you need to ask colleagues in your direct area that you work in as well as areas you don't work in what they think of you. 

  • Are you seen as a go-getter when something is presented or do you complain?

  • Do you take opportunities when they are presented to you? Or do you pass them up? 

  • What are you known to be great at internally with your direct colleagues and colleagues you might not work with everyday?

  • Have you ever asked someone who you work with or know at your office what they think of you and your work? 

  • If someone said tell me about "Ali Powell" what would he or she say? 

  • What would someone say if they were talking about you as a person at work if you weren't in the room?

You will likely get a better, honest description of what your brand is by asking people. Don't assume that you know what people think of you. You might be wrong in what you perceive your brand to be.

Here is how to figure out what your personal sales brand is. 

Do an activity where you write down what you think your personal sales brand is internally and externally. 

It is helpful to write down:

1. What do you think your personal branding is internally and externally.

2. What do you want your personal branding to be internally and externally.

3. If those things don't match up, how can you improve them and take actionable steps to get your personal sales branding where you want it to be.

Next step is to seek out people you know well internally and externally to see what they think of you.

Make sure that you talk to people who know you well (see you do your job everyday) as well as people who you don't interact with everyday. It is important to understand your direct personal branding as well as your indirect personal branding. 

Tell the people you are talking to that you really want HONEST, real feedback so even if it is something bad or not the greatest tell them you want to know these things. Remember, you can't get better at something or fix something about yourself if you aren't aware of what those things are. 

Take the feedback and sit down to think about what you have learned about your brand.

  • Do you like what people think of you and how they perceive you in your role? 

  • Do you see areas for improvement? Do you agree with them? How do you fix those areas?

  • Was there a common theme that kept coming up as you spoke with people about your personal sales brand?

Create an action plan to work on the things that you want to improve about your personal sales brand.  Don't beat yourself up for the negative things or things you could work on. Work on improving things one at a time. Focus on the things you are told you are really great at as well. Get better at those things and make those great things about you shine. 

How to improve your personal branding A consistent piece of advice I get when attending conferences, from executives at HubSpot and outside of HubSpot, and from people I look up to is this simple idea of getting good at one thing and becoming known for it.

Find something that you are really good at, become even better at that ONE THING. 

Be an expert in that one area so people know you for it. Be known for something. 

You want to be known for something. If you don't have that one thing you need to figure out what that one thing is that goes along with your brand.

Personal Branding in sales

Here are some tips for figuring out what that one thing is that you should personalize your internal and external brand around. 

  • In your sales process and in your sales day do you find yourself having a preference on what kind of customers or prospects you like to work with? 

  • Do you feel like you are better at working with certain kinds of prospects or customers than others? Why? 
  • Do you have a certain sales style that you think others would benefit from learning about? 

  • Do you prefer to work with certain kinds of people or certain industries?

  • Think about your past deals and closed won customers to figure out what your ideal persona is that you are good at selling to.

    Brand yourself around this kind of personal image of yourself. 

Women in tech sales groups Over the years at HubSpot selling to marketers I slowly but surely found myself enjoying (and maybe being better at) certain kinds of companies and working with certain kinds of marketers more than others.

If you can start to feel this in your role in sales you should catch on to it. Acknowledge this. This might be part of what your personal sales brand could or should be.

Become great at those kinds of personas or sales processes. Focus on those so you become known for that internally and externally. 

At HubSpot I started to really enjoy working with high tech companies and software companies. The marketers at SaaS and VC funded companies are more educated and more sophisticated than say a company with 10 employees, who doesn't have a "real" marketer. Side note: I love all our SMB customers I just personally enjoy working with a little bit bigger customers- just a personal preference. There are a lot of HubSpot sales reps who LOVE, LOVE, LOVE working with small business owners. 

I found that I preferred to work with more sophisticated marketers. I also tend to be better at that kind of sales process. I am better at getting into the nitty, gritty of our product and tools rather than just talking about marketing concepts. I caught on to these things that I enjoyed and strategically made decisions along my career path here at HubSpot to try and work with companies like this.

Over time I have learned how to target the kinds of accounts that I enjoy working with more.  I found myself naturally moving into a sales process that was revolved around high tech, software companies that are typically VC backed. Figure out what works best for you and your personal sales style. 

I found myself liking working with a certain kind of prospect and I wanted to do more of that kind of selling. 

Overtime I became known for selling to VC backed SaaS and tech companies. I became known for sourcing through trigger events. I became known for my research driven, account based sales process. 

An easy way to help influence people internally to know what you are all about and understand your personal brand is by exposing people to what you are good at. 

  • If a colleague of yours asks to meet with you for tips on something that he or she is struggling with in the sales process do it. They are likely asking you because they see you are doing well or were told that you are good at something they are struggling with. Don't say no. Make the time to meet with them and share your knowledge.Managers will introduce you to their newer reps as a way for their newer reps to meet good reps they could learn from. 
  • When you are asked to do training sessions on certain things that you are good at or known for - DO THEM! Don't say no. At HubSpot I found that allowing myself to do 1 internal training type of meeting or coaching session a day is my max. Once again, I have to be aware of my time and my goals. I want to help others but it can't interfere with my work. I ask people who want to meet with me or talk to me about something they are struggling with to book time either before my day starts or at the way end of the day. If they can't or don't want to do that then that is on them. 

  • Share your wealth of knowledge so others learn from what you are figuring out. Helping others is a good thing. Help others because you will want to be helped one day too. Be known as being helpful and kind. Be known as being a coach and someone that your colleagues look up to. 

  • Don't keep your knowledge and process to yourself. If you have an internal wiki write up what you do and how you find it helping your process. Share things that you are learning on the job with your managers and with sales reps that you think would benefit from it. 

  • As a sales rep you might have to close the customer and then hand it over to account management or services. What do the services people that have your customers think of you? What do the services people think about your customers? This will say something about you as a sales rep and will either hurt or help your personal sales brand.  Do they think you did a good job bringing on a great, quality customer? Learn from their feedback. 

  • Everyone talks. People talk about you even if you think they aren't. Make sure the things they talk about are good things that you want to be known for. 

Over time these kinds of things will improve your personal brand as a sales rep at your company. Improving your personal sales brand internally will help you as you move up and around your company over time. 

Here are some tips on how to Build Credibility Externally through your Personal Brand to Improve Your Prospecting and Sales Process. 

  • If someone came up to you and asked you what you cared about day to day what would you say?
  • If someone asked you why you are in sales, what would you say?
  • Why do you love your job? 
  • What are you good at? 

Be able to answer these questions about yourself. 

Ask yourself these questions to figure out what your personal brand is or could be in the future. 

  •  What are you known for in your sales process or with your sales coworkers at your company?

  • What are you really, really good at?

  • Can you pinpoint something in sales that you care about? Not just care about but REALLY, REALLY CARE ABOUT? 

Becoming good at one specific thing in your sales process is smart for you as a sales rep doing your job but also will be smart for you if you want to create a personal brand externally. 

Here are some things that have worked for me over the years in working on my personal sales brand externally. 

  • Start a blog. This is an easy one but most sales reps don't want to spend time on things that aren't making them money right away. Starting a blog is one of the simplest ways you can start to brand yourself externally.

  • When you learn something on the job day to day keep a list of those things in EverNote or on a note pad. Come back to them when you feel like writing. These will be good topics that you have knowledge of and can voice your opinions and what you have learned through. 

  • Write about content on topics and things that you are learning in the day to day. You should share these insights and thoughts with the world by writing them down in the form of blog posts.

  • Then you can share the blog posts on your LinkedIn profile, on Twitter, etc.

  • If you are going to start a blog I recommend really thinking about who you are writing for and why you are writing for them. What do you want to be known for? Are you writing content that speaks to the kinds of people that would see value in your writing? Always write for your ideal person that you think your content would help. The easiest way to do this is by writing up real lessons you learn everyday. 

  • As you start to create content you will slowly but surely find people commenting on your posts or sharing them. Woo hoo! This is what you wanted to have happen. Embrace it and thank them for sharing. Ask them what they liked and get feedback so you can improve and know what kinds of things people like to read about from you. 

  • Be consistent in posting. Come up with a schedule that you can hold yourself accountable to. If you can only post once a month then do once a month. Don't post one article and then post one six months from now. That won't help with building a consistent brand. If you can only post 2 times a month that is better than nothing at all. 

  • There are many platforms for sharing your content that you should think about using. LinkedIn is a great place to post articles and tag them with certain topics around sales that will help you to get found for those topics. You can optimize your blog posts on your blog for certain search terms that sales people would be searching. Another place to post your articles is on Medium. You can also tag your posts on Medium to have certain topics that those posts will show up under. 

  • Sharing your content on LinkedIn Groups can help as well. 

  • Start to find influencers that are in the same space as you that you connect with. Reach out to them and share your content with them. Hopefully over time these people will start to like your content and want to share it on their own. You will slowly but surely start to become an influencer on your own and these lovely humans would have helped you do that. 

  • I started a landing page a long time ago that was a way for me to state who I am, what I do at HubSpot, the kinds of companies that I work with and why a prospect should want to talk to me. This landing page helps me when prospecting because I have links to articles on the landing page that I know my prospects would care about. You can see my personal sales landing page here. 

  • Speak on podcasts about what you know. Put yourself out there as a person who would be willing to talk on topics that you care about and know about. 

  • Go be on panels and network in your community so other people in the area know what you are good at in sales. You will start to be asked to participate in things like this in the future. 

  • I started a deck that I share in my prospecting and sales process with my prospects now. In this deck is information about who I typically sell to, why I sell to those kinds of companies and most importantly quotes from my customers on why they went with HubSpot. This is very helpful in building credibility of your personal brand. Instead of just pushing them to a generalized company case studies page you can push your prospects to your own case studies and own quotes of your customers that you actually sold. This will help with credibility externally. 

Think outside the box.

Sales people are typically naturally motivated, outgoing, fun and creative people.  Use your personality in your content so you are seen as your real, true self. Make sure you think about your personal brand with just as much gusto as you think about your day to day role in sales. 

As you start to see new tools, platforms and means of communication you should play with them. When Slack came out I thought hmmmm...I think there is something here that could really help with this whole women in sales community that I am trying to build my brand around. 

I created a Slack channel for Women who work in Sales roles. The Slack channel is only for women in sales.  The requirements for this group are simple and mission driven. They are very much in line with my personal brand of caring about women in sales and exposing more women to what it is like to work in sales. Community is important for empowering women in sales to succeed. 

You have to be a woman. 
You have to be working in a sales role.
You have to want to communicate and connect with other women in sales like you. 
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The Women in Sales Slack channel seemed like a natural progression for my community of women in sales. This community and group would be formed of like minded women from all different companies, in all different kinds of sales roles, all over the world, and in different industries.  Slack is a good communication means for women in sales. You can login on work and ask someone or the group a question about a deal you are working on. It is real time feedback and opinions coming from real, live women in sales that DO NOT work at your company. The value of this group of women in sales is that we are all cross company. We don't all work at HubSpot. We work at all kinds of companies and in all kinds of sales roles ranging from EVP of Sales to BDR. That is the lovely part about it. I foresee this group growing this year to have smaller channels that are for just say BDRs to communicate in or for just Managers of sales teams to talk in. I don't know of any other way to communicate with a community in real time other than email, text or phone. This goes really well with how sales people work and live. 
 
This type of content format would allow for sales women to learn from each other in real time because Slack is a chat platform. It is slowly but surely growing in numbers and I truly think that using the Slack channel as a way for women in sales to communicate and learn from each other is an amazing thing. It helps to empower more women to think about their personal brand as a sales rep. As you give advice in the channel and mentor other women in sales you will become known for those things externally. 
 
Women in sales want to know more women in sales. Women in sales want to have cross company interactions with other women who work in sales. Without cross company communication between sales women we miss out on learning from how other companies do things. This community is working on solving the problem that we have as women in sales. We tend to only be able to learn from our company. We are missing out on a lot of great tips and tricks by not learning from other women in sales at other companies. We can all learn from each other. 
 
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Topics: women in sales, more women in sales, sales women, women sales managers, how to get more women in leadership roles, how to get more women in sales, credibility as a sales rep, women sales community, sales branding, personal sales branding

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