Many people think of branding in terms of colorful logos of successful brands such as Apple apple or Ikea. So, most people probably think of branding as something other than sales. But is that right? Or should we rethink branding a little bit?
In this short article, we want to give you insights on what (good) branding is all about and why you should have heard of it – even if or especially when you work in sales.
What is Branding?
Branding is the process of building a brand. Ideally, a brand is built up so skilfully that customers already associate a good feeling or a certain positive experience with it. A brand thus represents a company’s unique selling proposition. The brand can be the company itself, but also individual products or services.
Even people can be described as a brand if they build a brand around their own person. This is called personal branding, a relatively new type of branding that is currently very popular – especially on social media! Social selling on LinkedIn and people advertising products as influencers have become the new normal.
Establishes a company as a brand (e.g. Apple)
Establishes an individual as a brand (e.g. Dirk Kreuter)
Establishes a specific product as a brand (e.g. Fanta)
How Do Branding and B2B Sales Go Together?
On the one hand, professional product or company branding not only gives you a tailwind as a salesperson, but in B2B, we’re usually talking about higher sums than in B2C. This makes it even more important that your brand stands for trust and seriousness.
As a salesperson, you need to represent 100% of your company's branding – be it in the form of price lists, one-pagers, presentations, and such. In addition, good personal branding in B2B sales also means the highest level of commitment and professional attitude.
What is Personal Branding and How Does it Boost Your B2B Sales?
As already mentioned, not only products, but also employees can represent a brand. With the help of personal branding, you position yourself as a credible and trustworthy expert – especially on social media.
But such a reputation or "fame" has of course not only positive aspects. Here is a brief list of the advantages and downsides of personal branding, using LinkedIn as an example:
You are perceived as an expert
Your content must be excellent
Your pitches / product placements are taken seriously and not seen as spam
Your pitches must have the same standards as your posts: highly customized and professional
Your visibility will be increased
The pressure to deliver and receive negative reactions can have a bad impact on you
You can network more easily
You can get negative attention more quickly by making mistakes
If you don't mind the negative aspects of personal branding, go for it! Social Selling is also currently a trend in B2B sales; precisely because many salespeople use it very successfully to sell their solutions on social media. If you push social selling, you can not only benefit from the good branding of your company or products – you should also consider personal branding to achieve more deals.
Personal branding gives your B2B sales the "expert boost" because you position yourself as a professional in your field and potential buyers notice your competence already before a sales conversation. Profile visitors or readers of your posts immediately see how your community perceives you which creates additional trust in your brand.
In addition, personal branding gives you more visibility and can also lead to event invitations, lectures, or a place as a speaker. This automatically increases your impact and ensures even more success.
6 Tips for Successful Personal Branding in B2B
Need some quick tips on how to successfully build your personal brand? There you go:
- Find a niche or a specific topic in which you are well versed or in which you're highly interested in.
- Think about who you want to reach specifically with your content. What does your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) look like? Who do you want to network with? From whom do you want to receive feedback or tips? Think about concrete profiles!
- Create a content plan in which you even take special events into account. A content plan should give you an overview and take work off your hands (if necessary, look for someone supporting you with content creation).
- Post regularly and interact with your target audience as often as possible. Likes and comments symbolize interest! Try to understand your audience and speak to them as much as possible; cultivate your network.
- Don’t forget to link yourself aka the brand with your company or your company's products. Play out corporate content from time to time and show your target audience the added value they receive with the help of your products/services.
- Pitch your solution or product very subtle in comments, posts or direct messages. This way, you can proceed to actual sales conversations.
How to Generate More B2B Leads with Social Selling and Personal Branding
Especially in B2B, social media platforms like LinkedIn are popular for making new business contacts and selling your product online. Since LinkedIn is structured similar to Facebook, it is very lively and give you the best opportunities for developing a personal brand. Once you have positioned yourself as a brand there, you can start selling with more ease.
As a salesperson, you can easily use LinkedIn to build a personal brand with your content and highlight your status as an expert. Let's say you post a lot about cold calling in the software industry and position yourself as an expert in just that line of business. Over time, interactions accumulate in the form of likes and comments, and your profile will gain followers and contacts.
When growing your profile organically, discussions and conversations around a specific topic will often be shifted from a public post to private messages. There you can then go and pitch your product at the right time. Of course always taking into account the relevance of your product.
Combining social selling with personal branding can extremely drive your B2B lead generation. Why? Many prospects will automatically approach you due to your expertise and this in return can result in sales opportunities.
By offering your readers added value, prospects will not think your message is spam. Unlike many other sales methods, your counterpart will very likely go into the conversation without hesitation.
Other Important Branding Terms
Now that we have clarified what personal branding is all about, we of course want to see what other sides there are to branding. Here are the most common branding terms:
Brand Awareness means how well the public and your target audience know your brand. With high brand awareness, consumers title a brand with positive attributes.
Employer branding is about how your brand is received by applicants and how much they would like to work for your company. You can probably imagine the equation: If your employer branding is successful, EVERYONE will want to work for you With good employer branding, you will also attract competent people for your sales team – if sales people are enthusiastic about your company and like the products, you’ll experience an enormous growth and undoubtedly also increasing sales.
Geographic & Cultural Branding
As the name suggests, this is about branding a specific region, country or even culture. Logically, tourism and gastronomy can benefit from geographic branding, but companies can also use cultural branding for themselves. If the country your company comes from is known for instance for attention to detail, this can only do good to your brand.
Take BMW or VW as an example – both car brands have in common that they can carry the unofficial quality seal "made in Germany". This favors their reputation because consumers perceive their cars as high-quality, because Germany is generally associated with diligence.
Conclusion? Good Branding is an Important Aspect of Professional B2B Sales
As you’ve just have read: Good branding is extremely powerful. It does not only affect your external perception, but also on your sales personality.
On the one hand you have to understand that you represent your company and its products, on the other hand you also represent yourself as a brand. That is why you should pay special attention to personal branding – especially when it comes to social selling!
Do you have any questions or comments about branding, personal branding or social selling in B2B?
Feel free to write to us: firstname.lastname@example.org