Selling to Businesses is Different than Selling to Your Usual Customers

businessman presenting a graph to a client

Consider this: who does a business or franchise sell to? Who does a franchise marketing agency orient their client’s advertising to? There are key differences in how the two operate, who they target, and which one has more potential for aspiring business owners to get into.

Defining Business to Consumer and Business to Business

The main difference between businesses that exclusively deal with other businesses and those that deal with consumers is precisely just that—their customer base.

B2C companies used to just refer to mall shopping and other direct commerce models. In the ’90s, the term was used almost exclusively to describe e-commerce models that sell directly to their consumers. Today, direct sellers, online intermediaries, advertising-based B2C, community-based companies, and fee-based companies are leading examples of the B2C model.

Manufacturers and wholesalers, or wholesalers and retailers have business-to-business transactions. B2B is a common business strategy, especially for companies that supply raw materials or process it for other businesses. B2B e-commerce has bloomed into a $1.134 trillion market in 2018 and is expected to grow in the coming years.

Marketing Differences

While the basics of marketing are the same for a regular seller and a franchise, there are differences in marketing B2B and B2C.

B2C marketing often depends on evoking an emotional response from their consumer base and ideal audience. Content marketing appeals to and pushes consumers towards items on sale. Effective content marketing must do this without turning consumers away from their products with persistent pushing.

B2B marketing generally revolves around what a company’s products and services can do for their customers. Recent changes have made relevance and authenticity the important factors in B2B marketing. Tactics used in B2C marketing are considered effective in B2B campaigns now. Relevance and authenticity make it easier for businesses to stand out from their competitors to their “time poor” target demographic.

The Difference Between B2B and B2C Selling

businessman doing a presentation inside a conference room

B2C sellers process their decisions in a shorter timeframe than B2B companies.

Consumers normally know what they want when they buy from B2C sellers. Those who don’t can filter through a B2C’s catalog and make a shortlist of their options before choosing the item most appropriate for their needs. Either way, B2C’s consumer base takes a shorter time than B2B’s when making purchasing decisions.

The relationship between B2C sellers and their consumers are normally one-off deals. Third parties are not required in these transactions as in B2B opportunities. In-the-moment marketing is crucial for nailing sales.

On the other hand, purchasing decisions in B2B models tend to be longer due to the higher number of stakeholders involved. Decisions are passed through committee to committee and sellers are expected to foster a convincing relationship with their client. Once these relationships are fostered, businesses will often demand a fixed amount of supply at a stable price, on a specific schedule to the same locations.

Business relationships in B2B transactions tend to last longer than one-offs. It’s unreliable and not cost-effective for businesses to switch between B2B suppliers each month. Businesses will also have a different list of qualifiers when it comes to looking at viable products for their own purposes.

When planning for a business, aspiring entrepreneurs must remember to do thorough research before they begin their preparations. Business to business models, as one may surmise, require different research than a business to consumer ones. Capable entrepreneurs can decide which one is up to their speed and within their capability to


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