How Kimberly-Clark Professional Sharpened Its Marketing Messaging and Accelerated Growth

Revenue Growth case study

While many consumers recognize Kleenex brand, there’s often less awareness that Kimberly-Clark is the creator of this iconic brand. Within Kimberly-Clarks’s B2B division, Kimberly-Clark Professional™, the focus spans key sectors such as healthcare, industrial and office buildings. Its goal is to partner with businesses to create Exceptional Workplaces, helping to make them healthier, safer, and more productive..

In this industry, pricing prominently factors into the buying equation. However, Kimberly Clark Professional’s commitment to putting the customer first remains steadfast.

This article explores how Kimberly Clark Professional North America adopted a value selling approach in support of this core focus and achieved impressive results.

The Challenge

Following the pandemic, the company initially directed their efforts toward stabilizing the supply chain and meeting the urgent, heightened demand for essential hygiene products. As the surge in demand subsided, marketing and category teams needed to pivot their marketing and sales approach from being product-centric to solving customers business challenges.

The Solution

A marketing approach focused on solving real problems for customers is key to driving customer value, improving the end-user experience, increasing win rates and growing the business.

Kimberly Clark Professional worked with ValueSelling Associates to revamp the company’s marketing messages and tradeshow approach to be even more customer-centric. The associated sales results speak volumes:

  • 23% increase in win rates
  • 292% increase in average deal size when ValueSelling applied

Want to replicate their success? Start with these five tactics.

Ensure marketing and product teams leverage the same methodology as sales.

The first step was to integrate ValueSelling’s methodology, the ValueSelling Framework®, into Kimberly Clark Professional’s marketing processes. Presenting a new methodology to salespeople, even marketers, requires answering the inevitable first question people ask: “How is this really going to help me, and what is it going to do for me?”

To engage the marketing team, the company rolled out ValueSelling for Marketing Pros, tailoring content to meet the individual needs of Kimberly Clark Professional’s team members. The training sessions were customized for different teams and included consulting touchpoints to delve into the details of current work projects, providing real-time feedback on crucial initiatives.

Proactive internal promotion on how the value selling concepts impacted the team and the business made a huge difference in driving adoption of the methodology. Each quarter, Michelle shared results via a newsletter, highlighting ways individuals were adopting the learnings into their ways of working.

Shift your focus from promoting product features to addressing actual business issues.

To move away from promoting product features and shift toward problem-centric messaging, Kimberly Clark Professional took these actions:

  1. Conducted persona-based research to understand the business problems of the target audiences. What are their priorities? What solutions are they desperate to find? What’s getting in the way of their business goals?
  2. Implemented training sessions with the marketing and category teams to highlight the importance of a problem-solving approach over a feature-centric one.
  3. Created content-development playbooks that include personas and map every feature/functionality to differentiators, value drivers and business problems – and standardized battle-card creation for new products/enhancements.
  4. Formed a bond between category sales managers and marketing to work together in concert through monthly collaborations. These one-on-one conversations around how products solve a specific business issue have been critically important.

Using these four pillars, Kimberly Clark Professional transformed its marketing practice into one that continually links its differentiators to customers’ most pressing business issues – naturally opening the door to impactful business conversations rooted in customer value.


Retool tradeshow and booth messaging.

Another impactful shift for Kimberly-Clark Professional was changing its trade show strategies. Instead of highlighting new product features, the brand focused on addressing specific customer business priorities and problems in its creative booth messaging and imagery, which resulted in a 234% increase in leads at a premier healthcare show.

Having open-ended and probing questions and messaging in their back pocket helped the company’s salespeople draw show attendees into their booth, trading traditional sales pitches for genuine business conversations tailored to customer needs:

  • Is your dispenser disrupting patient care?
  • Do you struggle with providing facial tissues that are both soft and durable enough to meet the comfort and hygiene needs of your employees or visitors?
  • Do your nurses complain of dry, cracked hands?

These questions became conversations, as Kimberly Clark Professional walked attendees through the booth to show them how they can solve those problems and explain how their solutions are different.

Run targeted campaigns centered around business issues.

To launch Kimberly-Clark Professional’s ICON Dispenser Collection, the marketing team ran a targeted ad campaign focused on showing how the solution solves real business problems. The company saw an 186% click-through rate increase on this campaign.

The solution offers a unique feature where the faceplate can be tailored for various aesthetics or messages. The display of visual art, especially comforting, calming images of nature, can have positive effects on health outcomes, including shorter length of hospital stays, increased pain tolerance and decreased anxiety.

Initially perceived as a product improvement, the team realized its potential in handling different business needs and thought through the business problems and the value of the solution. The unique differentiator for the healthcare segment, for example, is that the faceplate can help address three core business priorities: comfort, compliance and cause.

Tools and accelerators to keep scoring wins

To continue delivering these amazing marketing results long-term, the company embedded the ValueSelling sales methodology into their marketing processes and developed four actionable and tactical tools to continually point the team to the truth north.

  1. Intake form helps the creative team filter incoming marketing requests. It includes handy back pocket questions such as, “Specifically, what business issue are you solving for? Who’s the audience? What business problem does the product feature solve? How does this feature compare to the competition?”
  2. Content checklist reminds marketers what you’re writing and provides a way to interrogate your own content to make sure it’s staying on track.
  3. Hero’s journey story template teaches marketers how to tell stories and write stories for sales showcasing the value of your products in real-world scenarios. Keeping the stories short, engaging, and easy to remember is key. In the value selling world, these are called reference stories and value stories.
  4. Battle cards ranging from target audience segments to competitors have been wildly popular with both creative marketing, demand gen and salespeople, as evidenced by the amount of downloads and engagement. And, they’ve resulted in a 15% increase in seller confidence making a sales call with a new end user.

Focusing on solving real business priorities and challenges is key to revenue growth.

The ValueSelling sales methodology enables Kimberly Clark Professional to align its entire revenue engine – from category to marketing to sales – and provides them with a shared process and language to approach prospects and customers, building seller confidence and ensuring a consistent customer experience throughout the buyer journey. Instead of leading with product features and benefits, Kimberly Clark Professional builds relationships with end-users to solve pressing business problems and deliver meaningful value.

In turn, this shared framework has enabled feedback loops across the organization and improved insight into what customers value.

One of the most significant outcomes was a cultural one. Now, the company’s revenue engine is one of continuous empowerment, where all teams have the tools and resources they need to meet new challenges head-on and continue delivering impactful value to their end-user customers.


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