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3 Big Differences between B2B and B2C Sales


Telephone_cordAs always I want to make things clear, and today I’ve set my sights on some acronyms that are used a lot in remote sales: B2B and B2C. What do they stand for? ‘Business to Business’ and ‘Business to Customer’ respectively.

Some may argue (and do if you read some of the blogs out there) that there are virtually no differences in the sales processes targeting these to groups. B2B and B2C become arbitrary classifications to these people. Instead of tallying up the many ways they are the same, I want to highlight some of the key differences between the two categories and explain why that warrants a different sales tactic.

Quantity: There are two major differences in quantity between B2B and B2C markets: a difference in number of clients, and a difference in size of their budget. There are millions of individual customers while some B2B operations struggle to have customer bases creep into the thousands category. But what businesses lack in shear number they more than make up for in how much each individual customer is able to spend. Because of these differences each sale to a B2B customer has more value, lead generation and lead management become more crucial, and each company has to be given more personalized attention.

Speed: B2C sales often focus on the immediate sale. The question they constant ask themselves is “Who is ready to buy right now?” These sales people churn through leads as fast as possible trying to find those buyers with credit cards in hand. These B2C sales people are what we refer to as telemarketers.* B2B sales on the other hand can have a sales process that may take months and involve many employees from both companies. The frantic pace so often found in B2C finds itself ineffective when confronting the “cogs of the corporate machine.”

After the Sales Pitch: I couldn’t come up with a clean, one word label for this category – but it is such an important difference between B2B and B2C sales that it had to be included. What happens to sales lead when a sale doesn’t close? Remember, B2C consumer markets are measured in the millions. With so many potential customers leads are often discarded if they do not close rapidly to a sale. B2B on the other hand cannot afford to waste the leads they have. Instead, B2B companies need to continue to make favorable contacts with their potential customers over time. This process is called lead nurturing.** This is similar to those currently advocating social media as the key,*** to successful online marketing. Their war cry? “Be there before the sale.” That’s good advice for a B2B company.

About InsideSales.com: InsideSales.com is the leading provider of inside sales automation and analytics technology designed for both B2B and complex B2C inside sales teams. The PowerDialer for Salesforce is the most popular dialer technology app on the salesforce.com AppExchange.

* You know, the kind that call at the worst times and annoy the heck out of you?

** For more on lead nurturing check out our paper Impression MarketingTM – The Art and Science of Inside Sales at InsideSales.com.

*** Disclaimer: Now I have nothing against new social media, it’s just not the only way to market to and interact with your customers.

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