Whether B2C or B2B, very few things are sold without a brand. Brands are intangible, yet absolutely essential to how we experience not only the product but the transaction. Your brand is a calling card, shaping how your prospects feel about your company before your sales team ever calls.
Branding is often overlooked as a lead generator, perhaps because it is hard to measure. It is expensive and takes a long time to build. Branding can’t be measured easily and it’s a long-term project. It may feel less important than tangible accomplishments like hitting quarterly sales quotas and measuring the success of marketing campaigns; but, your brand absolutely shapes how customers perceive you and determine whether your products and services “fit” their needs and wants.
If you’re resisting the idea of branding because it’s too difficult, time-consuming or expensive, you may be costing yourself sales and leads:
- Awareness: People want to do business with those they already know. The door swings wider when we recognize the name.
- Trust: Our brand is our reputation, encapsulating all we stand for. Customers sense the value built up in your name.
- Voice: The brand is what we say, how we say it, and what we look like. Voice is often confused with branding itself, perhaps because it’s the part we see and hear – logos and art, copy and communication.
Creating brand awareness goes hand-in-hand with generating leads. A report presented at the Inside Sales Virtual Summit showed that most effective tactics for generating B2B sales leads were identical to those for creating greater brand awareness: websites, tradeshows, email and branded search marketing. Surprisingly, social media and advertising were found to be less effective at generating leads, perhaps because they are less targeted toward qualified, warm leads.
It’s a cycle: outbound marketing efforts build brand awareness, brand awareness helps drive web traffic and makes prospects more receptive to sales calls, increased sales establish your brand’s credibility, which leads to more referrals and inbound inquiries. And this cycle tends to lead to even more opportunities to showcase your brand.
With time and persistence, intuition and evolution, you can build your brand. Indeed, if you don’t have a strong identity, how will you stand out from the competition?