Why Perfect Branding Isn’t Enough to Connect with Buyers

Once upon a time, branding was an indispensable part of a company’s success in B2B sales. Marketing budgets spent on bold logos, memorable slogans, pricey sponsorships and colorful presentation were all devised for a simple overarching purpose: to get Sales in the door.

A company with strong branding could distinguish itself from competitors in the mind of a buyer long before the sales pitch. For Sales, better branding meant better odds a buyer returned your call, opened your mail, and visited your booth at an industry conference. It bred credibility.

This relationship was not always about the sale. A buyer might call a sales rep for no other reason than to hear about the latest products on the market, to make sure a competitor wasn’t enjoying a piece of technology they weren’t aware of.

Back then, buyers needed Sales to stay informed and make a purchase, and Sales needed buyers to stay employed. Strong branding, which would announce a company as a player, is what made this partnership possible.

Today’s B2B Sales Cycle

This B2B dynamic has changed, however. These days, buyers aren’t returning phone calls from anyone—great branding or not. They go online to do their own research, compare prices and features, and make purchases. Search engines are the new outlets for information, and Sales has less influence.

To make B2B sales today, you have to have a variety of content, distributed in a variety of ways, to create and deepen the awareness needed to bring buyers closer to the sale. Content solidifies your brand and creates awareness. Its role is to position your company as a trusted resource and problem-solver for your potential buyers—so they’ll think of you when purchasing time rolls around.

Calculating ROI

The design of a website, logo, or email campaign can shape a positive image of a company. But its payoff is murkier: How do you know if it had a part in creating or killing a sale?

Small and mid-sized companies with tight budgets don’t have time or money to waste. They need marketing-qualified leads today and sales-ready buyers tomorrow. Each precious penny dedicated to promoting the company or product needs to be justified. Did it translate into a lead? Did the lead become a sale? This is where demand generation can complement branding.

Content: the New Branding

Great content does what a traditional hardworking salesperson used to do: it shows up everywhere. A compelling white paper or infographic can be viewed, shared and linked to over an endless digital lifespan, attracting new buyers both identified and anonymous.

Placing that content in front of buyers, then tracking its success or failure, is critical for demand generation. When you publish a blog post, article or infographic, you can track exactly how many people consumed it—and when you require registration to download, you can tell exactly who they are.

Of course, gathering those insights requires technology tools like marketing automation software and website analytics, but if you’re using those tools properly, you can have an unprecedented level of visibility into how prospects are engaging with your brand.

Of those who consumed a piece of your content, how many downloads turned into leads? How many leads turned into sales? How much revenue was generated? Did it exceed the investment? With the right analytical tools, you can quantify your ROI.

A great logo and a beautiful website may or may not attract visitors to your product. It may or not have influenced a sale. But the B2B sales cycle is complex, and traditional branding is only a small piece of the puzzle. The cycle is bolstered by technological tools, great content, and seamless departmental integration. Are all of your bases covered?

The Blame Game: Whose Responsibility is Lead Generation?

The Blame Game: Whose Responsibility is Lead Generation?

If your win rates are not what you want them to be, don't be so quick to blame Sales. As Sales Engine VP of Sales Ric Riddle explains in this short video, demand generation has moved farther up the funnel.

Feeding Sales Is a Process, Not a Project.

Feeding Sales Is a Process, Not a Project.

For decades, the B2B marketer has been a manager of projects. They develop white papers, email campaigns, go to trade shows, and—well, you know, execute on lots of projects. 

But the world has changed, and the internet is now crushing a sales rep’s ability to generate their own leads. So, marketing’s new role as lead generators for sales requires more than just project management and stellar execution.  

What’s the role of a content strategist?

What’s the role of a content strategist?

Whether you’re an email marketer, blogger, or inbound marketing specialist, generating an ongoing narrative is a much more difficult proposition because you quickly run out of thought-leadership topics that can be re-spun into different angles, which is why a new critical role has emerged in the world of content marketing—the content strategist

From Branding to Demand Generation

From Branding to Demand Generation

Having the same brand since their start in 1991, First Rate knew they had to make some major changes if they were going to compete effectively and grow in today’s digital era. Given their mission to help wealth management firms grow and thrive as stewards of their client’s investments, First Rate needed an innovative approach that would help empower investors and advisors to simplify and better understand their financial world.

Selling With Content: What’s Repeatable and What’s Not?

Selling With Content: What’s Repeatable and What’s Not?

Businesses love repeatable processes. Everyone is looking for the secret formulas that we can replicate and repeat to increase revenue. The problem is that when we find something that works predictably, others jump on the bandwagon and muddy the waters—much like what we’re seeing now with content marketing. 

Will content marketing ever eliminate the need for salespeople?

Will content marketing ever eliminate the need for salespeople?

With the rise of content marketing, we’re wondering if salespeople will be replaced—or, in other words, will we be able to automate marketing processes to the point where we can lead people all the way through their buying journey, eliminating the need for sales reps? 

The 7 Attributes of Highly Effective Lead Generation

The 7 Attributes of Highly Effective Lead Generation

It used to be that darkening the skies with sales reps, albeit expensive, was the best way to grow a B2B company—more feet on the street equaled more opportunities. But in a world where prospects hide behind caller ID and email, it’s the organization who has the most valuable content for prospects shopping online for solutions that wins. 

If Your Leads Stink, Time to Update Your Buyer Personas

If Your Leads Stink, Time to Update Your Buyer Personas

Lead generation through content marketing means attracting people with a problem you can solve (that they can afford to pay for!). This requires way more than just knowing the demographic information on your prospects. Your audience must be built over time by generating superior content and putting it where they might see it—and if you’re out of touch, your content will fall on deaf eyeballs.