B2B vs. B2C: Does It Really Matter How You Approach Marketing?

Business.com / Sales / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

When it comes to B2B and B2C marketing, does your approach really change that much? How does CRM play a role? We investigate.

B2B and B2C marketing have plenty in common. They both have the same ultimate goal—to entice a person or a company to purchase a product or service.

The key difference is the needs and motivation of the B2B and B2C customer and market. Using the same approach with both audiences is not always effective.

Customer relationship management (CRM) software is a useful tool with both markets. But does it matter how you use it for either? For maximum efficiency, adjust your strategy accordingly.

Using Your CRM With the B2C Market

Individual consumers are generally looking for a product or service to take care of a specific need in their lives. Since they are often the sole decision maker, they work with a shorter timeline. The consumer budget is smaller than a business budget, and there are no customer needs to consider.

In the B2C market, you need a solution that quickly and easily qualifies leads, allowing for fast responses to inquiries. Qualifying leads in advance helps you focus your time and effort on the customers that are most likely to convert.

You have a limited amount of time to connect with leads before they lose patience and take their business to your competition, so your system needs to encourage contact within minutes or hours. 

Research shows you’re 100 times more likely to reach a new lead if you contact them within 5 minutes than if you wait 30 minutes, and 21 times as likely to qualify a lead contacted within 5 minutes. Great reasons to act fast. 

There may be any number of motivations behind purchase decisions. Depending on your industry, you could be dealing with anything from logical, well-researched purchase decisions to impulse buys. Your marketing research needs to identify and address typical buying behavior.

You’ll also need to establish metrics for success. At high volumes, the only way to make sure you’re accurately measuring is if everyone is following the same process and collecting the same data. 

Related Article: B2B Marketing: Focus on the Big Picture

Using Your CRM With the B2B Market

Business consumers are often looking for a solution for an entire division, if not an entire company. The buying cycle runs on a longer timeline, and the budget is higher. 

In most cases, there are multiple decision makers in play. Businesses often require a high-level of personalized customer service. This translates to carefully balancing the needs of several people.

Business buyers today don’t contact suppliers directly until 57 percent of the purchase process is complete - meaning marketers have to be present in channels at all times to provide content to educate and guide decisions. You need a CRM that can handle clients at all stages of the buying cycle, so your marketing team can be ready to go when clients are.

In the B2B market, you’ll be tasked with managing contacts, identifying needs, and developing relationships. Keeping track of multiple contacts within the same company is essential since multiple people playing a role in the buying process. You need to find the short and long term needs of each contact to ensure your marketing, sales, and customer service teams respond appropriately. Be prepared to go beyond the short-term sale on a single product to meet the client’s long-term goals and keep them satisfied.

Because the timeline of purchase is often much longer for B2B, and business customers are spending big money with your company over time, a CRM that stores plenty of details to help foster the long-term relationship will help you deliver the highly personalized level of customer support your customers expect. 

Related Article: Why B2B is Really Becoming More Like B2C in the Marketplace

Improving the Customer Experience

Regardless of the category your business falls in; it’s good business to focus on delivering a quality customer experience. Without a good customer experience, how can you expect to keep customers coming back? While you can use your CRM to start a conversation, it provides data you can use to improve the customer experience.

Use CRM data to deliver a personalized experience for both B2B and B2C customers. Nearly three-quarters of customers (73 percent) prefer to conduct business with brands that use personal information to provide a personalized experience.  Details such as purchase history, age, and location can enhance customer service.

For instance, if long-time customer Jane Doe calls the support department with an issue, your support agent can greet her with, “Hello, Jane, thank you for being a customer with us since 2006. I see you last called about X product. Is this why you’re calling today? How may I assist you?” If customers are shopping with you via your website, provide a personalized experience with recommendations based on previous purchases, complementary items, and targeted sales.

Ultimately, your business can use the same tools whether you’re marketing B2B or B2C. The real advantage is how efficiently you use technology. Use your CRM to gather data on your customers and build relationships with them. By leveraging the data available from your CRM, web analytics, social listening, and other sources to create products and services that fill a need for your audience, you build an enhanced customer experience and a great reputation for service.

Image via Shutterstock

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