Need of Having Different Approaches in B2B And B2C Marketing

Posted by Rakesh Sharma on March 13th, 2020

As a seller, you cannot have the same approach when you are selling to a company as to when you are selling to individuals. These companies/businesses, in turn, use your product for manufacturing and producing their products and sell to end-user or some other company. In another situation, you may also sell to end consumers.

For example, you may be manufacturing the shock absorbers and selling to a car manufacturer or you may choose to sell in the aftermarket to direct consumer. Will your marketing and selling approach be the same or different? I know your answer. For sure you will say that the approach shall be different. But let’s explore how the approach shall be different.

Sellers need to sell sometimes to a business organization. This is called Business to Business – B2B selling approach, whereas sometimes he has to sell to the end consumer, the one who is going to consume the product. This approach is known as the B2C the business to consumer.

The products are sold with both approaches. A seller comes in contact with the business as well as the consumer very frequently; therefore, one has to learn to sell to them both.

“We think customers buy based on Price, Features, and Functions. In reality its emotions, cognitive biases, and engagement experience. We need to use later first’. … Bridget Kendrick CMO ICIS

Experience has been that the approach for different phases of selling will be different for both types of audiences. However, almost all the time they are not distinctly different and there may be frequent overlap. 

Now we are going to discuss the different approaches for succeeding in B2B and B2C business situations.

1. Finding the target audience: 

89% of B2B buyers use the internet for finding suppliers. 57% of the B2B customers already make up their mind about the buying process before the first meeting with a representative - (Accenture, 2018). 78% of small businesses are using some form of data analytics. In future, organizations will not be able to survive in the absence of data analysis.

Finding the right customer in case of B2B business may appear to be easier because the data for potential customers can be obtained from some internet site.  And you can reach your target audience easily. 

There are industry-specific exhibitions and trade shows.  You can go and exhibit your products there. You can reach to domestic as well as international customers through these trade shows and expos. Exhibitions usually get a large number of B2B visitors and you can meet your potential buyers. This methodology has proven to benefit a lot of organization in their business growth

Lots of our clients use this method. During exhibitions the representatives of other businesses (prospects) visit to find out the quality suppliers, you have the opportunity to establish direct contact with the potential buyers and initiate the buying discussion.

Another very good approach to reach up to the B2B buyers is through the industry-specific magazines. You can publish your ads in these magazines, and you can easily reach them. 

Organizations like Chamber of Commerce, Chamber of Indian Industry Association and others publish their members' data regularly. You can legally buy this data and can make use of this data to reach to your target audience. 

Besides this, there are lots of local industry associations big and small which can help you to reach your target audience. 

One of our clients deals in Solar-Power business and they wanted to reach to businesses with high electrical power consumption. They wanted to approach the prospects who had sanctioned load in megawatt. For this, they used the data from the local Electricity Distribution companies. What a good way to catch hold of very authentic data!

For B2C the approach is going to be different. When you are dealing in B2C you are dealing with the retail consumer directly.  And there are different ways of targeting retail customers.  E-commerce and internet marketing are a very common method nowadays to reach to your retail consumers.  You can also approach them through the Hypermarkets. 

Especially in India, there are lots of product-specific markets. In local parlance, they are called Mandi. You have grocery Mandi, Vegetable Mandi, Steel Mandi and many others where you can sell directly to your consumers. You can have a retail outlet there or you can have hoardings to display your products and find the consumers.  

Digital media marketing is underway of approaching your B2C market.  Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and so many other platforms will help you reach directly to your retail consumers and you can sell your products.

If you ask me whether the prospecting approaches described above are exclusive to B2B or B2C, in that case, my answer would be No! None of the approaches described above is exclusive to B2B or B2C.  It is only that they are widely used and effective for one specific situation.

Therefore, as a marketer, you have to find out which is most suitable for you and use your marketing budget wisely.

2. Decision Making 

When it comes to decision making for buying, there is a fundamental difference between a B2B and a B2C approach. We need to keep in mind that these days the buying cycle time has increased almost by 22% in comparison to 5 years ago.

80% of the buyers say ‘NO’ at least four times before they say ‘YES’. In the case of B2B, you are working with multiple influencers in business and more than one decision-makers.  Therefore, you must go to different people to build relations and establish trust and credibility.

Different people have different authority and influence in the process of decision making.  You will meet the purchaser, the technical expert, the actual users, the finance person, and the Big Boss who signs your order.  This makes the buying process very complex and very challenging for the seller because he must build relations with multiple people.

Also, since multiple people are involved the relationship building takes a long time.  B2B selling is typically the relationship selling and sellers use different strategies to strengthen this relationship. Sometimes the internal purchase process of the target business is very long and goes through the multiple steps. Sometimes the buying process may take even a couple of years.

Therefore, the seller has to be very patient and persistent.  Studies have found out that more than 92% seller do not go past the fourth trial after getting a ‘No’ from a prospect. More than 77% of the sales decisions are made after detailed analysis and calculations of ROI.

In the case of B2C business, the decision making is fast because it is in the hands of generally in the retail customer.  The decision making is transactional and if you can satisfy the consumer then the sale can be made faster.  However, this approach is also very risky because if one consumer does not find your product appealing, he can reject there and then and will not return. In the case of B2C, one error may cost you the entire sales. The buying cycle is fast, and the seller doesn't have to spend a long time convincing consumers.

However, all the buying decision are emotional. This is typically true for a B2C situation. Your product must appeal to some of the basic emotional needs of your prospect and you can get a very fast buying decision in your favour.

3. Relationship Building: 

The good thing about B2B Selling is that once the relationship gets established, generally it is there for a long time.  And does not get terminated until the people involved in the business get changed or until something drastically goes wrong in certain business transactions. 

We have seen that if you can satisfy your B2B customer with quality, price and delivery requirements you can remain associated and keep getting continuous business for many years. 

80% of B2B sales are made considering the buyers' experience and only 20% are based on price. Therefore, referral marketing works very well in the B2B business. You can generate lots of good referrals to get entry into similar accounts. Your target business takes feedback about you and your product and services from your other customers and based on their feedback they decide whether they would like to do business with you or not.

In the case of B2C, generally, the relationship is transactional.  If the consumer is happy with your product or service, he will come back when he needs it again. Since the retail consumers are very large in the number you might not be able to track them and contact them one to one proactively.

Consumer’s word of mouth matters a lot. These days consumers write their views about their experience with the product.  These reviews are generally communicated through social media. These reviews can be even in the form of podcast or videos which can get viral overnight. Depending upon whether the reviews are positive or negative they can bring fortune or havoc for your business. We have a recent example of Patanjali and Magi Noodles where social media played a major role.

4. Branding:

Email marketing is a very good way of branding in the B2B category. The marketers rely on other methods like advertising in business magazines and Trade shows and expos. Company Website can also do a very good job of marketing. Lead generation organizations such as Trade India and India Mart etc. are useful for reaching to other businesses. Content marketing is very effective in educating your prospect and developing your image as an expert.

For B2C, marketing and branding are done effectively through advertising and referrals. Customer service is the basis of creating a good word of mouth that is the foundation of B2C marketing. Happy customers are more likely to buy from the business again and again. Social media these days is key to B2C branding. Facebook branding is one of the key social media strategies deployed to woo consumers. B2C marketing strategies are applied in case of products such as Computer, software, Jewelry, Apparels, Drug and medicines and personal vehicles.


Rakesh Sharma--- Founder of Prime Performance Solutions.

He is a Sales and Business Coach and Business Growth Architect. He has been recommended by many as the best Business Coach in India.

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Rakesh Sharma

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Rakesh Sharma
Joined: February 11th, 2020
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