The Green Sheet Online Edition
May 13, 2013 • Issue 13:05:01
Conform, with style
||Organizations cannot make a genius out of an incompetent. On the other hand, disorganization can scarcely fail to result in efficiency.|
- Dwight D. Eisenhower
It seems implausible that ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs) can differentiate themselves from the competition by conforming. But that is the case when a sales office and all of its agents demonstrate consistency in presentation and messaging.
With sales organizations configured in countless ways, it can be difficult for enterprises to achieve that consistency. Individual MLSs might print business cards that have an ISO's logo in an unauthorized font or color. Or a website might state that a sub-ISO is registered with an acquirer when, in fact, the super ISO is the actual registered entity.
These examples might seem minor. But merchants notice when the logos on their statements are different than those on their processors' websites. They will also take note when the messaging of an ISO's website and the statements of its MLSs are out of sync. And when merchants notice discrepancies, doubt can creep into their minds about the reliability of their service providers. In addition, the card brands have specific requirements for marketing materials, and not adhering to them can result in the loss of ability to process payments.
Even fonts matter
One way to minimize discrepancies is to develop a corporate style guide. It could take the form of design templates that specify everything from font styles for brochures to website design to the layout and content of business cards. When MLSs send out form letters and email blasts, for example, they should know what logo to use, the distance between the header and the body text, the font style of the body text, etc.
Of course, it's not enough to provide a style guide; oversight must be applied. Form letters must be checked before they go out. Business cards should be inspected for accuracy. And other sales materials should be proofed as well. It is about ensuring that merchants are receiving a consistent message from all of your reps and via all channels employed.
Get the message
Consistency in style and messaging also furthers the goal of any organization, and fosters teamwork and cohesion, which is vital to any endeavor. It also increases awareness among sellers that they are part of a larger plan and are integral to that plan, no matter how geographically far away they are from the organization's central hub.
Keep in mind the difference between requiring consistency and stifling creativity. You are endeavoring to uphold standards, not reduce your partners to robots. You want your satellite offices to retain the independence to conduct business in their own individual styles - just not too individual. Ultimately, uniformity in presentation and messaging throughout the enterprise will filter down to where it matters most, in excellence of service.
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