How to build your brand and activate sales.

“You do need to do both activation & brand building, because each makes the other work harder. So do them separately, making sure that people can connect them quickly & easily. Consistency, strong branding & clear relevance to the category help a lot.”

- Les Binet

Focusing solely on immediate sales from in-market prospects risks disengaging future buyers and losing out to competitors that invest in brand-building and increasing their share of voice.

Conversely, competing only for prospective customers puts short-term revenue and growth at risk.

To maximise growth effectively, you must balance your strategy to keep both groups engaged with effective brand-building and sales activation.

Brand Building
Competes for customers’ memory by creating a long-term, emotional brand association that influences purchase decisions over time.

Sales Activation 
Competes for attention and action to generate an immediate transactional or ‘Buy Now’ response.

unnamed (9)

Build. Activate. Balance

Brand building and sales activation are intimately linked, with the former creating demand and filling the new business pipeline, while the latter converts demand into sales and revenue at the other end.

Businesses need to adopt a dual approach to B2B marketing, investing in both brand building and sales activation.

The ‘godfathers’ of effectiveness marketing, Les Binet and Peter Field, suggest B2B brands operate at peak efficiency when their budgets are split roughly 60:40 between long-term brand-building and short-term sales activation.

However, this is a guide rather than a ‘cast iron’ rule. B2B  businesses, for example, may perform better with an 80:20 split, and the ratio skews further in favour of increased long-term brand activity when companies compete for a vastly reduced in-market segment during a downturn.

Brand Building Sales Activation
Memory and mental availability Attention and physical availability
Not ready to buy—browsing, not searching Ready to purchase—searching, not browsing
Browser mindset, thinking in general terms about how the product or service fits into strategy Wants to understand specifics like cost, product/service features, lead times & provider USPs in detail
Customer is reading around the subject to gain product/market insight and expertise  Evaluating and comparing various service/product providers 
Responds to emotional messaging Response to rational messaging
Marketing channels:
  • LinkedIn & social media
  • Sponsored content
  • Thought leadership
  • Content marketing
  • Email marketing 

Marketing channels:

  • Google
  • SEO 
  • Google Ads
  • Retargeting
  • Value proposition 
  • Email marketing
Increases share of voice Increases share of market

Balance to Outperform

An IPA report found that:

  1. Investing solely in branding saw businesses improve sales, profit and customer loyalty.
  2. Investing solely in new business saw the same, with slight improvements.
  3. Businesses that chose to invest in both branding and new business saw the biggest growth in sales, revenue and customer loyalty – with many reporting ‘very large business effects’ in an IPA report.

Sales-Led Marketing from Forge®

There will be no ‘new normal’. The socio-economical landscape is changing so rapidly that the world could have lived through more ‘new normals’ and ‘unprecedented’ events in the time it has taken to write and produce this content.

However, the basic principles of emotive long-term and rational short-term sales and marketing working in synergy to engage the whole market will hold true.

We Get Sales

While working with owner-managed and private equity-backed SMEs over the past two decades, we’ve lived with CEOs and sales teams through the challenges affecting every industry.

The Forge® team is uniquely positioned to understand how the right sales and marketing formula can help survive and thrive through the next five years, especially if you’re heading towards an exit.

Moving forward into the next five years and beyond, CEOs need support from a team that knows that the best marketing is really all about sales and is ready to campaign by your side until your marketing strategy is your business’s most significant single sales contributor.



Up next

See all