For many B2B companies, phone plus salesperson plus product equals marketing.
Firms still hold to the flawed rationale that branding, marketing and digital communications can’t help their ‘relationship’ style of selling.
But the digital age has exposed four major flaws in traditional B2B marketing practices:
- Lack of coordination between brand, sales/marketing and digital activities
- Dedication to sales at the expense of marketing
- Lack of a brand and no focus to their online voice
- Failure to recognize how the internet has changed the sales dynamic
Voccii, the national research and brand strategy firm, helps B2B firms build strategic brands. The firm offers these four key insights into streamlining your marketing efforts:
Sales, or marketing?
In many B2B firms, ‘sales & marketing’ actually means ‘sales.’ In this model, firms pursue relationships but fail to define the core promise of value and relevant differentiation. Products star, but the brand promise and emotional connection is lacking. Each sales person uses different messaging in their attempt to find ‘what works’ to make a sale.
The open secret; sales and marketing were never very integrated. Now, when a company’s brand, sales force, and digital activity aren’t in lockstep, customers are confused. Companies lose credibility, customer satisfaction and opportunity. No one is in charge of building brand equity, share of mind, customer loyalty, or enterprise value.
The internet has made company ‘walls’ transparent- there are no secrets. It’s easy for customers to know all about a company – its products, features, benefits and even prices – before the sales team calls. What are B2B firms actually selling when customers now have easy access to scores of choices that match the firm’s products, or beat their price?
Brand has never been more important. B2B companies need to start with their brand, because without one, they are swimming in a commodity pool. Why does brand matter? According to Forbes magazine:
- B2B purchase decisions are far more mission critical and expensive than in many consumer segments. Brands build trust.
- Well branded B2B firms generate stronger EBIT
- Strong brands outperform weak brands by 20% or more in the B2B segment
- The brand sets the direction to address coordination, voice, value promise, differentiation and overarching go-to-market strategy – letting firms climb out of the commodity swamp.