June 18, 2020
COVID-19 has certainly pushed all of us to adapt to a new normal, including the significant rise in digital interactions both privately and professionally.
According to McKinsey’s latest survey of B2B businesses across 11 countries in seven sectors, companies all over the world see digital interactions as two to three times more important than before.
As more B2B customers are augmenting their buying process to include more online research and engagement, your competitors are adjusting their marketing approaches to stay top of mind when their customers are ready to make that first back-to-business phone call. HubSpot indicated that in March 2020, companies sent 23% more sales emails on a per-week basis. That’s a lot of clutter for any company to have to cut through, especially if you’re selling a product or service that is seen as a commodity and buying decisions are based largely on price.
Here are five steps to help you create differentiated messaging, at the same time avoiding the commodity trap:
- Define USPs together
Schedule a virtual meeting to bring your sales, marketing and leadership teams together to define key brand unique selling points (USPs). Key areas of focus will be looking carefully at how your company’s offering relates to the other offerings in the marketplace. Ask honestly what USPs you have and focus on how best to leverage those to keep you differentiated from what everybody else is saying.
- Understand your competition
In sports, coaches would spend hours studying competition and their techniques, and the B2B world is not that different. Keep analysing what your competitors are doing and make certain you are keeping that differentiation fresh and relevant, always setting yourself firmly apart from the competition.
- Listen to your customers
If possible, survey your existing customers and understand why they love working with you. What value does your brand bring to their operations and products? You will be surprised when comparing the USPs defined by your team with the ones seen by your customers. Incorporate the perceived value into your brand message: if your customers value it, your prospects will too.
- Find your voice as a thought leader
It is paramount to move away from a commodity-based perception into being seen as a leader in your respective field. Share your experts’ opinions on the key market trends, your customers’ pain points and challenges, analyse different solutions to their issues, offering objective advice and solutions. Being a leader brings the recognition that you are a go-to company to approach for your prospects because you add more to the relationship than pure price and components can provide.
Being a thought leader means you have a wider understanding of your product area, the needs of your customers, and usually that you can work with your customers to tailor your products and services to suit what they need. Thought leadership ultimately brings added value and allows you to charge a premium for your products above market rate as a result.
- Be consistent and focus on your strengths
Applying the newly developed messaging consistently across all touchpoints is important. If you are reworking your brand messaging to reflect the values, positioning and perception out there, you have to make sure all of the key threads run through all visual and verbal comms that your company produces from that point onwards. It’s about building recognition and understanding and reinforcing your key messages at every point with every one of your key stakeholders – whether internal or external.