Many times in the B2B world — especially in professional services — there’s a heavy reliance on business development for client acquisition and a hesitancy to spend money on business branding and marketing. In fact, a lot of B2Bs see the marketing department’s primary function as ordering trinkets with the company logo on them. But, the fact is that a strong brand can help support and maintain a strong business development team.
In many B2B industries where the product or service is a large budget item or long-term relationship, one-on-one business development is the primary tool for identifying and acquiring new customers. The sales cycle tends to be very long and the target customer is usually a very specific audience. Generally, these are the same companies that don’t like to spend a lot of money on corporate branding. Why invest in branding when most of your customers come from a few key people?
The problem is just that – when you rely exclusively on business development, you’re placing your entire company in the hands of a select few and if they leave for a competitor or simply retire, that book of business may no longer be yours. A strong brand helps protect your company from being too reliant on a select few individuals while strengthening your company for long-term growth.
Here are ways that a strategically supported brand can help your business development efforts:
1. Strengthen Your Brand Reputation: When you spend the time and effort to build a corporate brand, you’re giving your business development team something to work off. The prospect already knows who your company is before your team walks through their door. With a clear image and general recognition, you save your team the step of having to explain who they are and what they do. And if that brand is strong, your team will have a leg up on the competition.
2. Deliver a Consistent Brand Message: Yes, you will still have to modify your exact message depending on the audience, but having a clear, concise brand ensures that your team (a) remembers your key selling points and (b) projects a consistent message. There’s nothing more embarrassing than having two salespeople accidentally deliver the same prospect a different value proposition.
3. Generate New Business Leads: When you have a persuasive story to tell about your organization, prospects you may not have identified will begin to reach out to you. It’s the difference between a push and pull sales strategy — rather than having to push your value proposition on to your prospects, you’re actually pulling their interest and compelling them to reach out to you.
4. Attract and Retain Top Talent: Finally, and most importantly, when you support your team through a clear message and brand recognition, your team is strengthened. A strong brand instills pride in your people and makes the best and brightest want to be a part of your organization.
Does your business solely rely on business development or does it invest in its brand strategy?