B2B vs. Consumer
Business-to-Business (B2B in marketing parlance) is naturally a little more complicated than selling to an individual consumer (B2C). There are several reasons for this, and it pays to think of each of them separately to consider which have the greatest impact on your business.
- Your individual deals are usually larger (in value terms) and more complex (more elements and skills required) than for B2C – in contrast, there are usually fewer of them in any year.
- You are selling to a “team” – multiple people involved on the customer side, with different ideas, agendas and roles
- The timeframe for the Sales Cycle is far longer than for an individual’s purchase, and often more (objective) analysis is done. Consider that the largest purchase individuals make – buying a house – usually happens after between eight and ten 15-30 minute visits to properties. That’s a maximum of five hours!
- Repeat business is far more important. Every business wants repeat customers, but most individual industry sectors are surprisingly small – even for large industries – so reputation is critical
- B2B sales are always “necessary”; businesses don’t waste money. So whatever they are buying has an (usually quantifiable) import
- Individual tenders are usually a part of a larger project the customer is working on. This means the value of each element is often far greater than the price of the sale.
All this impacts the way you interact with the customer organization. The key task is to involve the right people on your side to gain as much access as possible to the relevant (multiple) people on the customer side, and therefore you need to map your face time. Time spent with the individuals in the customer organization has to be worthwhile for the customer’s people involved; their time costs money, too. Therefore, this needs to be an organized activity; using the whole Sales Cycle time frame to your advantage is the key task.