B2B Selling Is Different
If you think that selling is selling is selling, there may be a few lessons and tips you can learn that will not only boost your sales but also simplify your marketing process. Selling to B2B customers is considerably different from B2C sales, and understanding the nuances can mean the difference between a decent quarter and a record-breaking year. Consider each of the following aspects, which are unique in B2B sales, so that you can determine the best methods to use for your follow up activities.
The sales cycle itself is very different. With B2C sales, the cycle – which spans the time between the initial contact with a customer to the actual financial transaction – can last as little as a few minutes. For example, a customer walks into a store, asks a sales person for help locating an item and then makes the purchase. A B2B sales cycle, on the other hand, is traditionally a much more involved process and takes longer. In a B2B sale, the initial contact or request for information is the beginning of a longer process that involves research, education and the identification of several potential key partners with the expertise to execute and deliver the product or service.
The relationship is different. A retail consumer might lean towards a specific retailer who consistently provides good customer service, but a business buyer customarily enjoys a more intimate, personalized, long-standing relationship with a single account manager. The initial relationship is formed through a series of conversations via email, in person and on the phone where the sales rep and/or account manager helps the buyer understand the product or service and also how the product or service will provide long-term value for the buyer’s organization.
Buyers are different. Their viewpoints are vastly dissimilar because their reasons for making a purchase are so varied. B2C purchases are driven by a number of sentiments ranging from excitement to entitlement and even fear. For instance, someone whose neighbors were robbed may purchase a security system to alleviate his worries of a similar incident. B2B buyers, on the other hand, are not as emotionally driven as their consumer counterparts. Rather, they seek to satisfy a specific business need and can take months and even years before they actually make a purchase. For instance, a business buyer wants to purchase a new network copier, but performs a great deal of research first so can demonstrate to her superiors that the expenditure is needed but is also the best investment for their money.
Pricing is different. In most cases, B2C products are sold for the same price to all customers. B2B pricing can vary based on a number of factors, such as quantity, contract lengths, custom packages and more. Of course, a traditional consumer can shop around and find the best price on an item, but they do not usually have much leverage when it comes to significant price changes. B2B sales cycles may include a period of negotiation as well as time to calculate a final price point once all of the details have been ironed out.
Discovering the differences between B2B and B2C selling can help you and your team sharpen your skills and tailor your tactics to achieve and even surpass your goals.