Early on, LinkedSelling co-founder, Ben Kniffen sat in an office with a potential client. As it happened, the prospect had Ben’s email open and after months of reading our company content had finally invited him to his office to talk about how they could work together. Why?
Because he was ready to buy and he knew exactly who to turn to.
Was it because we had an incredible deal? A bottom of the barrel price? Was it that he was even that much better than the competition?
No. It was the relationship between this prospect and Ben and our brand, LinkedSelling. It was the authority and expertise we had built online – the trust this prospect had in Ben and our company. The prospect respected not only that we could deliver what we promised, but also understood what we stood for – our values, our story, what we represented to the world. He accepted OUR brand.
Fast forward to today, we teach our clients how to not only create multi-channel outbound lead generation systems, and how to develop sales development strategies that contribute to more quality appointments for your sales team, but also how to create a trust-worthy brand that contributes to more frequent sales conversations and referrals alike.
In this article we discuss:
- What branding really is for B2B companies
- Why it’s not just a “soft” investment, but how it actually contributes to the bottom line
- How branding makes things easier for your sales team
- Four key ways to develop a brand that pulls its weight for your company
Branding Doesn’t Contribute to the Bottom Line – Or Does It?
Branding is often seen as a “soft”, indirect way to sales. Many direct response companies often tout that branding is not the best way to sales (feel free to include LinkedSelling in that bunch). They’re not wrong; on the surface, it’s clear that branding doesn’t contribute directly to the bottom line. When you don’t have extra funds to spend on branding, it may not be the right way to go.
It’s true that branding is definitely a long-game play, however, there is a case to be made that branding definitely affects sales – and is very much worth the time and investment. In fact, Gary Vaynerchuck, serial entrepreneur and owner of VaynerMedia , says, “when it’s done right, branding essentially does the selling for you.”
Branding is, in effect, a method of creating an image around your company, product, or service. It is your company’s identity – including all the many parts that make up your company.
This image is brilliant:
You’re familiar with many multi-billion dollar brands that have anchored themselves in your life. Coca-Cola, Facebook, Microsoft. But that’s the thing – these are companies with billions of dollars who can afford branding campaigns where they do nothing but put their name out there.
Is it a viable way to go for the small and mid-sized companies as well? Our answer: When included in a multi-channel lead generation strategy, branding is an incredible support to sales.
This is a good place to look at the data around how encouraging prospects to action, through content and branding, share an inherent relationship in sales. Neil Patel explains,
“These actions are ultimately intended to culminate in a sale. […] A strong brand or “high brand value” can solve many common problems before they occur.
Therefore, linking brand value to ROI is a matter of showing a causal relationship between strong branding and the elimination of issues that can impact sales.”
This is why your brand messaging needs to be on point and why your content, and even your outreach, needs to be both consistent and focused on helping and educating your prospects about how they can address and fix their pain points and problems.
How Branding Contributes to Sales: A Look at Engagement and Customer Acquisition
ChaChing! You want sales yes, but simply looking at the number of sales can be short sighted because there are a number of contributing factors that each have an effect on how the sale takes place – or if it even has a chance to occur.
Two of which are: customer engagement and customer acquisition.
Let’s start with the latter. Turning again to Neil Patel,
“One of the biggest data points that links branding to B2B sales is customer acquisition.
If it’s possible to use your brand as a tool to help you gain clients, then it’s a logical conclusion that focusing on your brand can improve your marketing ROI.
And from the data I’ve compiled, there’s a compelling case that branding can indeed help improve customer acquisition.”
The idea is simple: branding helps to create authority leadership, something we talk about quite a bit. It creates trust in the market.
When you have authority in your industry, your clients are more likely to accept what you say. You have influence. They may even search you out for your advice. You become the go-to in your industry and because your strong brand and the weight of your influence gets you a foot in the door and opens up your prospects for real conversations – without much work, if any, from your sales team.
Branding does a lot of the work for you. Not only that, but studies have shown that great brands:
Lead people to make more purchases at higher price points – with less deliberation
Create loyal followers who tend to share their enthusiasm with others – creating advocates
Deliver a dream scenario for sales teams – more high quality leads
In fact, in a study of 1,800 brands, Havas Group found that those that were the most “meaningful” (Havas’s proprietary metric of brand strength) scored much higher on a variety of KPIs, including higher purchase prices, advocacy and more.
Speaking of brand advocates, a big factor in that is customer engagement. As Niel Patel explains, the data shows that fully-engaged customers share more and are indeed better brand advocates.
The bad news is that according to Gallup, B2B customers have an engagement rate coming in at only 29%.