There are various types of business models that cater to different consumers, such as B2B and B2C businesses. Most people who work in a marketing role will have heard these terms at some stage, but they may not fully understand the difference.
People who enter the sales and marketing professions will learn a lot from each other, from mentors, from sales communities and social platforms who will be able to provide lots of detail about B2B and B2C. But before diving headfirst into what could be a complex conversation it’s helpful to have an understanding of the basics and the main differences between B2B and B2C.
B2B stands for ‘business to business’ and refers to businesses that target their products to other businesses with the idea that they will use or resell the products. Approximately 40% of companies in the UK are based in the B2B business sector. B2C means ‘business to consumer’ and these companies market their products and services directly to the consumer.
What is the difference between B2B and B2C?
The main difference between B2B and B2C is the goals that each business model has. B2B businesses sell their products and services to other businesses whereas B2C companies sell their products directly to the consumer.
It’s important to identify the difference between B2B and B2C businesses in order to find the best tactics and marketing strategies for the company to grow and develop.
Marketing processes for B2B and B2C are inherently different from each other. B2B companies tend to have multiple stakeholders involved in the buying process of stock and products. This means that the company know exactly what they want and why, so it’s the job of the B2B companies to convince them to use their services or buy their products.
B2C companies don’t rely upon a ‘middle man’ as the products are sold by the supplier and bought directly by the consumer. This means that the process can be simpler as they (the consumer) don’t necessarily have to consult anyone else before making purchases, which can lead to impulse buying.
B2B companies also use different social media platforms than B2C businesses. For example, B2B companies tend to post on professional platforms such as LinkedIn as this is where they have a higher chance of interacting with other companies. On the other hand, B2C companies post on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook because this is where their adverts are most likely to be seen by potential consumers.
There are 4.55 billion people who actively use social media channels, so it’s up to businesses to filter through the number to find their target consumers. It can be hard to stand out amongst the sheer volume of competitors who are also advertising their services and products, so businesses have to capture the attention of potential consumers through carefully designed graphics and videos.
The pricing format of the two business models is also different, as B2B businesses have multiple pricing tiers and discounts for various order volumes. However, B2C businesses have the same pricing tiers for all customers.
B2B companies know that companies will be buying their products with purpose as they will have a genuine need for them. Consumers, which is the target market of B2C companies, can be easier to persuade. Although they do buy products that they need, consumers are also prone to buying products just because they want to. They can be driven by emotion. This means that B2B and B2C businesses have to use different marketing methods as their customers have different shopping habits.
The tone of B2C adverts should speak to consumers in a direct manner. They need to clearly understand how the product can meet their needs or desires better than other products. Unlike B2B products, consumers tend to shop around and compare products until they find something that they like. This means that a B2C company’s marketing approach has to capture the attention of the consumer quickly before it is drawn elsewhere.
B2B companies, on the other hand, have a different approach with their advertising because other businesses usually have a clear idea in mind of what they want to buy. This is why many B2B companies focus more on building long-lasting relationships with other businesses. One of the ways that they do this is by open communication to decide whether the partnership is beneficial to both parties. It’s especially helpful if the B2B companies operate in a niche area as consumer companies will have even more reason to use their business because they haven’t got many other options.
The relationship between B2B companies and their clients are generally nurtured more than the relationships between B2C companies and consumers. Products prices and services can often be tailored to fit the individual needs of consumer companies because B2B businesses have fewer clients. However, B2C businesses cater to a larger consumer base of potentially millions of people. This means that the products and services are produced in bulk with set prices and deals.
What is the sales cycle of B2B and B2C businesses?
The sales process for both B2B and B2C businesses starts with a customer identifying a need. However, B2B companies identify their needs based on business strategies, which is based on research and marketing analysis.
B2C consumers base their purchasing decisions on their needs, but they are also swayed by advertising and marketing. They are more emotional when it comes to making decisions and can change their minds quickly. Either way, both business models have to identify the requirements of their target consumers so that they can cater to them.
B2B companies may need to produce pitches for their potential clients to show them how they can provide them with the best products and services for their needs. B2C businesses use advertisements in place of pitches to draw the attention of consumers, although this marketing strategy will feature straightforward language, rather than product jargon. The average consumer won’t be an expert in the finer points of a product as a consumer company would, which is why B2C businesses often focus on the visually pleasing and creative aspect of marketing.
Businesses usually require more than one person to sign off on a product, which is why B2B companies have to pitch to lots of people at once, rather than individuals as B2C companies do.
It’s a good idea for B2B companies to check in with the consumer businesses after a while to check to see if they are happy with the product or service. It’s important to nurture good relationships as a bad experience can be detrimental to a company’s success, especially if they operate in a niche field where word travels fast.
The best way to create a good sales process is to have an overarching vision of specific business targets that each campaign or sale should aim to meet. B2B and B2C businesses also need to identify the market and keep up with changing consumer habits. This can companies to adapt their business plan and the products and services that they are offering.