Brand Matters: Three Key Steps to B2B Brand Success
THREE KEY STEPS TO B2B BRAND SUCCESS
First of all, a word of acknowledgement to all the B2B VPs and Managers of Sales & Marketing. I salute your efforts and greatly appreciate the challenges you face each and every day. It’s an appreciation gained over many years of working with B2B brands in many business sectors, from packaging to precious metals to pharmaceuticals.
We’ve served the needs of many who “wear” this dual title, and if it’s one thing I’ve observed, it’s that they all seem to share a few things in common: efficiently balancing sales and marketing to-do lists, finding enough hours in the day, and acquiring the necessary resources to get things done.
Of the many dynamic and talented VPs of Sales & Marketing I’ve met, few, if any, earned their dual title primarily on the virtues of their marketing acumen. It’s true that many hold marketing MBAs, exhibit astute marketing skills, and are tremendous visionaries, bringing their products or services to the marketplace in highly effective and differentiated ways. Most, however, have risen to the rank of VP Sales & Marketing by climbing the sales ladder. They’re experienced and talented sales executives, having assisted their respective companies in landing major engagements. Along the way, they’ve developed and demonstrated an ability to lead; all this in addition to being responsible for marketing oversight, and accountable not only for sales, but for managing the company salesforce, whether it’s a team of 5 or 55.
So, marketing necessarily takes a back seat. Why? Well, effectively managing a sales force, can be very time-consuming, leaving precious few hours for these dual-role executives to develop strategic, multi-layered marketing programs. Add to it the oversight required for execution, and to put it simply, the chances it will be done well, if at all, are slim. As a result, marketing initiatives slowly slip from the “TO DO” list to the “WISH I COULD DO” list.
Further contributing to the situation is corporate leadership, especially those of B2B supply chain brands, who have grand visions of company growth, but tend to be, what’s the politically correct word – “conservative” – when it comes to allocating resources for key marketing initiatives. So, when the VP of Sales & Marketing eventually finds the bandwidth to develop strategies and supporting tactics, they face another battle: convincing management to allocate the budget needed to get the job done properly.
Combined, these circumstances might seem to form the perfect storm for postponing marketing your efforts. But strike the right balance of project scheduling, scope of work and corporate communications, and it can be more achievable than you think.
To help you “weather the storm,” here are three highly effective techniques for building and deploying brands through your sales and marketing role:
KEEP IT SIMPLE
If you decide to take a DIY approach to brand building, instill simplicity at every turn. Keep the website simple, direct marketing simple, the graphic execution –you guessed it – simple. That way, you’ll know that what’s being produced will look clean, to the point, and above all, “professional.” If it’s anything less, don’t expect your professional sales people to use it
RELAX THE TIMELINE
When it comes to marketing, chances are you’re already time starved. So, avoid ambitious goals on tight deadlines. If you think a task or project will take a week, budget two. Be focused, but be realistic. That way you’ll have time to review, refine and complete work on a reasonable schedule – with professional results.
REINFORCE YOUR CONNECTION WITH MANAGEMENT
Remind your company’s leaders that just like your title states, sales AND marketing work in unison. Marketing supports and reinforce sales. Sales builds on marketing’s efforts and the opportunities it creates. You can’t have one without the other and expect to be an effective, leading brand in your respective market sector.
In addition to these three tactics and your most dedicated efforts, having a proven partner to help maximize your sales and marketing efforts can yield outstanding results. We know. We’ve supported numerous Sales & Marketing VPs for many years. We understand your pain, your challenges and the corporate dynamics you face. We can help you navigate all this, and ultimately accomplish what you have been charged with accomplishing on a big-picture level. Growth and entrenchment of your brand as the leader in your category.
Should We Have a Conversation?
Want to wear your two hats more effectively – and comfortably? Let’s talk about all the different ways it can be done, and how we can help.