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How to Move From B2C to B2B Marketing

Mar 20, 2020 | 12m

Gain Actionable Insights Into:

  • How B2B marketing is different from B2C marketing, and why that matters
  • Why aligning with your sales team should be your key priority
  • Tools that will help you build and sustain customer relationships


B2B Versus B2C Marketing

Studies show that global business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce sales will reach over USD 6.6 trillion by 2020 and it will surpass the business-to-consumer (B2C) sales valued at USD 3.2 trillion by 2020. There is absolutely no doubt that the opportunity to create an impact in B2B marketing is large and will pay well as a career.

There’s a common misconception that most B2B products and services do not need much marketing. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Marketing is a key piece of the puzzle that will get people excited about and interested in your product and buy it. When people first enter B2B marketing, they dive headfirst with the consumer marketing model. This tends to be the point of failure in transition to B2B marketers’ thinking.

The most common mistake one can make is to approach B2B marketing with a staunch, unbending B2C primary mindset. You must be open to learning quickly on the job and adapting to the new situation. The difference between B2C and B2B marketing is quite significant, and it could take you a couple of months to rewire your mentality. As a B2C marketer, you bring your own set of skills and ideas to the table. You are armed with the basics of marketing and this will benefit you in the long run.

B2B marketing is more complex than B2C marketing due to the following reasons:

  • B2B relationships take longer to cultivate than the transient B2C relationships.
  • Collective decision making happens with B2B transactions. There are several stakeholders involved in making buying decisions, and you’ll have to invest resources into building relationships with these stakeholders through account management.
  • The length of the buying cycle is a lot longer in B2B transactions. There are a larger number of interactions, processes, and even red tape involved in closing a B2B deal.
  • In a B2B setting, companies often rely on referrals and consultations prior to making a purchase. Even when they want to make a repeat purchase, the company will have to go through a process of further consulting, auditing, and reviewing.

The Sales Process

The sales process is another factor that differentiates B2B and B2C. How you sell an everyday use product to a consumer will differ widely from how you sell office supplies to a company.

In a B2C arrangement, transactions are usually simple – it is as easy as ordering a McSpicy Meal at McDonald's or buying a book on Amazon using your credit card.

Transactions between businesses, however, occur over the span of weeks, months and even years. Contracts are involved. A good deal of time and effort is spent on both parties negotiating the terms of the contract, and eventually settling on middle ground, then releasing formal purchase orders.

Payment methods also differ. In a B2C scenario, transactions are one-off; customers swipe or tap their cards and are on their merry way. In B2B, payments are released fully or partially based on negotiated commercial terms based on the work that is completed. One-time payments are rare in B2B situations. In most cases, payments occur over a period, usually over a few months, depending on the financial structure of the company you are dealing with.

The Relationship Between B2B Sales and Marketing

In B2C transactions, the split of marketing and sales roles is relatively simple - marketing teams generate excitement about the product, whereas the sales team handle distribution to make it available on the shelf or online, where buyers can find them easily. Sales volumes are seen on a run rate basis.

With B2B, however, the volume of transactions is smaller, the value of each sale is higher, and the buying process is multi-stage and time-consuming. The marketing team is primarily tasked to get the potential consumers excited, interested, and ready to talk to the sales teams. As the actual negotiations and wrapping up of MOUs are still handled by the sales team, it’s vital to keep them involved.

With the widespread use of digital marketing, information about the product can be researched online; purchasing companies no longer rely on sales representatives to provide information. Instead, a salesperson’s role has evolved to being that of a trusted advisor who helps companies make the right decision and help them make full use of their investment.

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Rajesh Kumar





B2B Marketing