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Make Your B2B Brand Strategy Relevant to the Sales Team

You’ve analyzed your brand strengths and weaknesses, conducted research to understand your brand equity relative to key competitors, identified open market positions, developed your brand strategy, and set tactical marketing plans into motion. But what have you done to help the sales team embrace and operationalize your brand strategy? Have you helped them understand how it will make them more successful?

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How to discover the personal and emotional drivers for a B2B audience

“The best thing about doing this is that I got to have coffee with my Dad in the barn every morning until he passed. Now I have that cup of coffee with my son and will as long as he stays involved.” This statement paints a clear and vibrant picture of a small business owner’s emotional drivers. It surfaced in a series of qualitative in-depth interviews and encapsulates an emotional theme that ran through the interviews. It speaks to one of this audience’s core values and influences even their most rational decisions.

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Sporadic Customer Journeys in Low Involvement Categories

Set it and forget it is the attitude in many low involvement categories – data security, business insurance, telecommunications, etc. Inertia keeps businesses from proactively evaluating alternative solutions or vendors. If the product or service is good-enough businesses don’t have the motivation to evaluate their options. The purchase journey for these products and services consists of long stretches of inertia, interspersed with periodic spikes in interest in alternatives.

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Who you are: What you say

Over the past two decades we’ve help many B2B vendors refresh their brand platform. We notice that some B2B vendors struggle to differentiate the themes and characteristics that can be the pillars of their brand platform from those that may be critical to the market, but do not represent sustainable and/or unique brand positioning. To help clients identify the difference between the two we use a simple construct that distills things down to the core distinction.

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Know thy enemy: How to overcome barriers in B2B technology sales

The Art of War advises that we can outsmart opponents and avoid battle when we “know thy enemy”.  While marketers typically define direct competitors as the enemy, internal barriers within prospect organizations pose equal peril.
Isurus has seen many innovative ideas in 20 years of B2B market research for technology companies.  Some ideas meet great success out of the gate, others languish for years before taking off, and some recede and disappear altogether.  Through this experience, we’ve identified four major reasons that prevent prospects from adopting new technologies.

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Benefits generate interest, Pain generates B2B sales

Despite the best sales and marketing efforts, inertia keeps most prospects from changing vendors or trying new solutions, even when they display initial interest. Speaking to pain-points is often a more effective strategy than emphasizing aspirational benefits for overcoming the inertia that exists at the end of the B2B purchase decision journey.

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Speaking to Trust in B2B messaging

In many B2B sectors, Trust, or Trustworthiness, sits near the top of market’s vendor evaluation matrix. Given that trust is earned over time presents a barrier to prospects switching to vendors that they don’t have experience with. When vendors say Trust me, at best the market views it as marketing-speak, at worst it conjures up images of unsavory car salesmen.

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B2B marketers take a fresh look at brand strategy

Not long ago brand strategy and strategic brand management languished on the sidelines of B2B marketing. Branding is now experiencing a resurgence. B2B marketers (and their bosses) increasingly embrace the notion that business decision makers are people after all, and that emotions strongly influence business decisions.  This year’s ANA/BMA16: Masters of B2B Marketing Conference highlighted success achieved by AON, GE, TD Ameritrade Institutional, Hiscox, and others in engaging with business decision makers at a human, emotional level.

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The customer decision journey should drive content marketing strategy

Across the many frameworks available on the topic, there’s consensus that a successful B2B content marketing strategy is built on knowing the target audience, how they progress through the buying process, and their needs along that journey.  Yet, it is rare for marketers to use buyer insights to inform their content market strategy.  Doing so requires a documented content marketing strategy and a recent study finds that only 32% of B2B marketers have one.

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B2B Product Messaging Checklist

Product messaging to B2B audiences is challenging. Marketers need to convey complex messages in simple but compelling terms.  Here are five recommendations that will help you in the initial stages of message development, when decisions about message content, benefits and value propositions are made.

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