One of the more controversial posts I’ve written was Branding Is Crap. I shared my view that when small and mid-sized (SME) B2B companies start thinking about their brand, or engaging in conversations about “branding,” it’s a wasted effort and focuses them in the wrong direction.
I recently came across a major research study that completely supports this view. The Sales Executive Council conducted a study into successful sales that they completed in 2010. As part of the effort they interviewed and studied the buy-side to identify what it is they really want from selling organizations, and what actually drives their decisions.
The study determined that only 19% of the decision was based upon the perception of the company or brand involved. 19%! Far more important was the purchasing/sales experience, which accounted for 53% of the decision.
Here’s the purchasing experience they want from you:
- They want the sales organization to provide unique viewpoints on their business.
- They want the sales person to understand their business at a deep level.
- They want the sales organization to educate them, and to provide leadership that will allow them to avoid land mines.
- They want salespeople who will help them navigate alternatives.
- They want to be challenged.
- They want a sales organization that makes it easy to buy from.
- They want a sales organization and sales person to build widespread support for their offerings across the customer’s organization.
Here’s the great news for SME B2B’s out there: providing that experience is completely and totally in your control.
Building a powerful brand isn’t completely in your control, but, as the research demonstrates – who cares?! Sure the “big guys” may have more market presence and a stronger brand than you do, but that only impact 19% of the decision.
Better to build a system that challenges, provokes and cultivates – it’s what your customers/prospects are looking for and it’s what will actually drive your profits.