You have already experienced it- generating B2B leads and increasing conversions is becoming harder.
On one hand, digital platforms have opened up the world’s opportunities for businesses- small and big alike.
On the other hand, digital media spoils the customer with options, making it even harder for businesses to compete. And worse, the changing trends and behavior of B2B buyers has only made sales more challenging.
The reality is, to increase sales your business must find a way to stand out from the competition.
Sounds simple enough. Only it is not.
It’s one thing for you to see a difference, but it’s another for your buyer to see it the same way you do.
If you look at it from the buyers’ point of view, they must be able to:
- Identify your key differentiators
- Relate strongly to your business value proposition
- Perceive you as their irreplaceable business partners
And that’s the role of branding i.e. maximizing customer relevancy and competitive distinctiveness.
So, what should you do?
Well, the first thing you need to do is adjust how you think about branding. Too many companies think that their brand building work is done when they have established a brand’s name and logo. Here’s an excellent introduction to branding by Philip Kotler, the father of modern marketing.
Next, understand the role that branding plays in B2B sales and what actions you can take. For that, I’m going to look at the decision phase and the post-purchase phase of the B2B buyer’s journey.
Here’s one of the most important impact of branding on B2B sales.
1. Role of branding in aiding the final purchase decision
Let me ask you a simple question.
If you decide to buy accounting software for your organization today, would you choose a vendor purely based on the sales pitch of the first sales rep who walks into your office?
I sincerely hope your answer is No! 🙂 You’ll do at least some research about the vendor.
Your B2B customers are no different!
According to a study by Accenture , 94% of B2B buyers conduct online research at some point in the buying process.
In fact, 70% of the buyer’s journey is complete before a buyer even reaches out to sales (SiriusDecisions). Their reliance on sales team’s assistance is not of the same nature anymore as it was a decade ago.
Here, take a quick look at the B2B buyer’s journey:
The buyer’s journey is the process buyers go through to become aware of, consider and evaluate, and decide to purchase a new product or service.
The Decision stage of the buyer’s journey is the point in which your potential customer decides on a solution to their problem. They rely on thought leadership content, case studies, reviews and peer recommendations to make the final purchase decision.
So how can you leverage this changed trend of B2B buying to get more business?
Clearly, traditional sales tactics won’t help you leverage this so-called 70% of the buyer’s journey that you’re missing out on.
So, what should you do?
Aid your prospects in their buying journey to make faster decisions.
Create content for the decision stage, make it brand-specific and highlight your company’s unique value proposition and competitive advantages that you can offer to the buyer.
Make your brand the obvious choice.
Branding is, in effect, a method of creating an image around your company, product, or service. For that the business must have a clear and consonant brand-positioning–differentiation standing. Else, I can say from my experience that it becomes a huge internal challenge to create content that can convince your prospects to make the decision in your brand’s favor.
2. Impact of brand loyalty on profitability
According to research (Bain & Company), increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%. You know, customers who are happy spend more and buy more frequently from you. Many of them also recommend it to people that they know.
It simply means that loyal customers are profitable customers.
In B2B, brand image results in loyalty.
In fact, B2B buyers want to find brands to be loyal to. They want to forge long-term relationships with trust-worthy vendors/ dealers because it helps them to make decisions faster and easier.
By improving your company’s brand image, your ROI increases.
And that is branding – pure and simple!
By Supriya Sachdeva, Digital Communication Strategist at OH! Design Studio, Mumbai.
Connect with me at @SachdevaSupriya !