Zoran Steko, a software industry leader for over twenty years, joined Onventis in 2015 as head of Business Development. Two years later he took over the responsibility for marketing and strategic alliances. In the last years he built up a strong internal marketing team. With their multi-faceted approach Onventis is now successfully positioned as market leader for integrated procurement solutions for mid-sized companies. Read on to learn Zoran’s three main take-outs to Onventis’ successful branding.
What key interventions made Onventis this successful in its corporate branding?
1: A clear vision
‘From my past experience in the software industry I knew how important it is to have sharp marketing messages and align those with your internal messaging.
‘So, first of all, we organized a management workshop to get our vision and mission statements crystal clear. In the past we already had those statements – at least, they were put on paper -, but they weren’t used actively. In order to make that management meeting productive, but also fun and creative, we worked with the Lego Serious Play methodology. During that meeting we defined the Onventis vision as: “Onventis is the leading all-in-one procurement platform for midsize enterprises, connecting buyers &suppliers”.
‘That vision perhaps doesn’t look so innovative, but in fact it is. After all, most industry analysts like Gartner and Forrester divide the market into several sub segments, like “procure-to-pay” and “source-to-contract”. However, we are convinced that midsize enterprises (50 million – 1 billion revenues) don’t want to select 3-4 different solutions for their procurements processes. They are looking for one integrated solution, combining the buyer side (procure-to-pay, source-to-contract, supplier management), the supplier side (order management, e-procurement services, supplier portal) and a matching platform in between (Onventis procurement network).
‘With this vision, we’re not only super clear about what we deliver, but also to whom we deliver. The choice for the mid-market is made deliberately and interwoven in all our marketing-, external and internal communication and sales activities. This clear vision gives us a lot of focus and leaves no room for internal debate on strategic priorities. In our key messages we underline the value that we create in work processes of end-users.
2: One brand strategy
‘In the past we had a company name (Onventis) and a product name (Tradecore). That was confusing for customers and resulted in marketing inefficiencies. After all, you basically have to manage 2 brands and those brands are competing for the attention of your (potential) customer. Therefore, we decided to go for the strongest brand (Onventis) and use that for both our company and key platform solution.
‘The same goes for add-ons: in 2020 Onventis acquired WorkFlowWise, a The Netherlands-based specialist in the area of invoice automation. We rebranded WorkFlowWise to Onventis as part of the integration plan, fully in line with our one brand strategy.
3: Build out internal marketing and communications capabilities
‘In the past I worked a lot with agencies. Although great professionals are working at those companies, it takes a lot of time to get agencies up and running in rather complex digital solutions markets. I convinced the CEO and the management team of Onventis to invest in our own capabilities, ranging from corporate communications, corporate design to digital marketing and event management. Since we work in a data-driven way and customer data is key along the buyer and user journey, we decided to build up our CRM capability within the marketing department as well.
‘All these capabilities are crucial for managing relevant channels and getting as much sales qualified leads as possible. Adopting a multichannel approach is necessary in our field: procurement platforms are complex software solutions. Trust and face-to-face meetings are still very important. Although we are quite advanced in terms of digital marketing and digital events & product demos, we still organize events, visit trades and have printed marketing material available.
‘In the end, marketing is a people’s business. It’s about qualities, capabilities but above all: team effort.’
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