Recently, one of our clients changed their business model from mostly B2C(business to consumer) to mostly B2B(business to business), and accordingly we changed our marketing strategy for the business. In this blog post I’d like to talk about the difference between B2C to B2B sales and the importance of inbound marketing specifically for B2B business.
- Single step buying process, shorter sales cycle
- Brand identity created through repetition and imagery
- Merchandising and point of purchase activities
- Emotional buying decision based on status, desire, or price
- Multi-step buying process, longer sales cycle
- Brand identity created on personal relationship
- Educational and awareness building activities
- Rational buying decision based on business value
Of course, some consumer purchases such as buying a house or car can be more complex. But generally speaking, B2C marketing depends more on branding, advertising, and promotions to spur sales. While those three things are important for B2B sales as well, due to its lengthier buying cycle, it demands more targeted marketing for a longer period of time.
Nonetheless, both types of marketing are about people, and making the right connection with the right people at the right time is key for both. However, in B2B marketing, the “right people” and “right time” are usually not as clear as with consumers, and figuring out what type of content to provide to forge that “right connection” becomes a much more complex decision. Instead of sending out broad messages with no significant targeting or personalization, marketing for B2B business requires engagement with B2B leads throughout their buy cycles, and continuously working on strengthening the relationships.
However, building these critical relationships isn’t easy. Todays’ B2B buyers have unprecedented access to information about companies, products, and services. They’re not interested in getting a sales pitch before they’d done their exploring and are fairly close to buying. That’s why inbound marketing is especially important for B2B business. By supplying useful, relative content that your leads find useful, you can begin to build the trust and relationship that’s critical in winning the business of the B2B buyers.