Second only to March Madness (with the latest from Warren Buffet), this is my favorite time of year for sports — conference championship weekend and the run-up to the Super Bowl. While the Patriots fell short this past Sunday and Belichick is far from my favorite coach, I have to admit that his belief that the team must continuously understand the field they play in and adapt their game plan to win hit home for me as lessons that marketers can learn.

While X’s and O’s matter in the NFL game, as I discussed in my “How To Build A Strong B2B Brand“ report (subscription required), for business-to-business (B2B) marketers, maintaining a strong brand with a clear, compelling, and relevant message is the key to meet empowered buyers’ changing needs head-on and win the battle of mindshare and wallet share. As a B2B marketer or sales enablement professional, it’s time to put your brand and go-to-market message front and center — and make sure that it accurately provides value to your customers across all of the stages of the buying journey.

At Forrester’s Forum For Sales Enablement Professionals in Scottsdale, Arizona, on March 3rd and 4th, I’ll be supporting Peter O'Neill  in a session to help you learn how to understand your buyers, develop the right message strategy, and apply it consistently in your sales enablement materials. You’ll walk away from the session with the tools you need to tackle your customer challenges with the strong, consistent messaging needed to win the B2B marketing game.

Here’s a brief preview of three ways the right message can help you compete and win in the B2B field of play:

  • It takes a team to make B2B buying decisions. Today’s B2B buying decisions are not made in isolation. It takes a team to contribute their views and reach consensus. Just as success on an NFL field requires each position to understand and play its role, as a marketer or sales enablement professional, it’s up to you to modify your message to address the needs of each role in the decision-making process. In the session, you’ll learn how to profile the various buying roles and align your messages to them effectively.
  • Strong brands earn the right to compete. While the stories abounded from the Brady-Manning matchup to Belichick’s coaching style and the inspiring story of how a young Derrick Coleman overcame his hearing loss to prosper as an offensive player in the elite NFL, in the end, both the Broncos and Seahawks earned their right to compete and win the biggest sports prize, being the 2014 Super Bowl champion. With the right tools, you can turn your message into an offensive weapon that distinguishes your customer value and earns the customer trust needed to compete. Join us in Scottsdale and learn how to apply the tools and techniques to develop and manage a high-impact message going forward.
  • Empowered customers now define the “who, what, and how” of business relationships. As I discussed in my “Rethink Marketing in the Buyer’s Context“ report (subscription required), customers are now fully in control of their buying journey, completing 60% of that journey before engaging with your company. Therefore, your message must claim buyer mindshare early on — and own it across the entire buyer’s journey — maintaining that preference across all customer touchpoints. One poorly executed campaign, web page, or sales presentation can penalize your efforts and eliminate your business from the consideration set. In our session, Peter and I will share the tools you need to audit both your and your competition’s marketing and sales enablement executions to hone your game plan to win.

Many of the B2B CMOs and marketing leaders we talk to underestimate the importance of building a strong brand and message strategy. Just as many also don’t have a clear road map for how to move forward with a framework for success. In today’s customer-empowered world, building a differentiated message strategy can mean the difference between going home and winning the ultimate prize in the B2B game. And that’s where Forrester’s Forum For Sales Enablement Professionals can help.

I’d love to hear your comments and perspectives. Peter and I will be meeting with clients one-on-one at Forrester’s Forum For Sales Enablement Professionals and welcome the opportunity to talk with you. Reach out to Peter here or comment on his blog here. You can also reach me via email or on my blog or share your thoughts on my Twitter account. To learn more, schedule a one-on-one in Scottsdale with us or an inquiry with me.