Branding Is Overrated

Posted by Doug Davidoff

May 30, 2012 8:08:00 AM

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.


Topics: B2B Sales Strategy