What differentiates B2B and B2C sales?

Be it B2B or B2C, selling has changed and that too drastically. When comparing the two sectors, you find the most dramatic changes in the B2C sector. B2C (Business–to-Consumer Sales) and B2B (Business-to-Business) Sales have been long seen as separate markets that require distinctly different marketing strategies. So what are these differences? 
Let’s take a look-

 B2B v B2C

A. Key motivators that affect a buying decision. 

The motivators that affect buying are widely variant for both fields- In business purchasing, buyers strive to be sure that their purchase is based as much as possible on rational, fact-based analysis. Buyers consider questions like will it increase profits? Will it aid measurable productivity? Does it improve the satisfaction of a specific stakeholder? This approach leads to a longer buying cycle as opposed to B2C. 

On the other hand, consumer decision-making is not constrained by these narrow parameters. Variable factors like  desire, style, prestige, and aspiration, as well as price and suitability may drive consumers. Oftentimes, the consumer herself may not be able to articulate why she bought Product A over Product B. Nor may she even care. “ I just like it better” can be a perfectly good justification for a purchase.

B. Number of decision-makers

In consumer sales, the decision-maker is generally an individual. And she is free to be driven by whatever motivators that matter to her at that particular moment. This may slightly change in case of a joint purchase- for instance a couple buying a car, or friends buying a gift for someone. 

In a business environment however, the existence of multiple decision-makers almost always characterizes business purchasing, except in perhaps the most mundane areas. There will be an array of individuals who will have strictly defined and rational criteria to evaluate the product. Also, because decision-making is a group project, each person serves as a check against the other, in case anyone is tempted to stray toward non-relevant criteria.

 C. Pricing

With the exceptions of cars, and possibly major appliances, consumer purchases have generally low value, especially compared to business sales. I mean, no one searches the web to do an in-depth search for best value in a bottle of water at a grocery. Due to this, consumer purchasing can also occur more quickly, so the sales cycle is faster than in business.

Business purchasing is slower, partly due to the factor of multiple decision-makers.The time from the initiation of an evaluation to a decision can easily stretch into months or longer. However, the process is also slowed to ensure rational decision-making because the consequences are generally more serious. It is a scheduled, deliberative process.

D. Branding

Imagine that you need a can of tomatoes to make dinner tonight. That decision can’t be pushed out a week for study. Or you want to buy clothes for an upcoming party, you will walk into a mall, check out your favorite stores and pick from one of them. My point is, in B2C, there is little consultative selling available for all but the most complex purchases.

In business, branding has distinctly limited value, since buyers demand data and evidence. At most, brand identity may get a vendor in the door, but at that point brand declines in value. A brand name won’t increase profits—only an effective product will.

In summary, this is a list of key factors that characterize B2B and B2C. 

Significantly, these factors have been fairly static for decades. Marketers have long recognized the key differences discussed here and understood them to be the stable bedrock that defines the landscape of these two different types of sales.

Recently, however, new technology is undermining that landscape in dramatic ways. And its effects have been most transformative in B2C sales.  Most significant has been the arrival of Big Data and mobile technologies. Big Data because it opens a window into the historically hidden motivations that drive individual consumers, and mobile because of the “real-time” consumer access it gives marketers.

Transform your average salesperson into a sales advisor in 3 simple steps…

With buyers becoming smarter, thanks to the wide availability of information at their disposal and the newly compressed sales cycle, the need for a smarter sales team is being increasingly felt. Smart phones and tablets are playing a key role in today’s sales cycle. The new sales cycle is shorter and the seller has fewer opportunities to influence the buyer. All of these factors have influenced significantly the role of a typical salesperson.

In today’s blog we’ll look at 3 ways you can transform your average salesperson into a great sales advisor and the tools you will need to do that.

#1 Prospects are like snowflakes. Each one is different. Help your sales advisors differentiate.

Imagine selling a smart phone to a teenager and a senior citizen. While you might want to put the emphasis on the processor speed to the teenager, when selling to the senior citizen, you will want to talk about ease of use, battery life, screen size, etc. So, even though the phone is the same, you will talk about features that are most relevant to your prospect. That is what successful selling is all about--differentiation. Positioning your company and products or services differently from your competitors and treating every customer differently. In order to do that, your sales team must have relevant information about your prospects. They need to know what the prospect is actually looking for and what exactly their pain points are. Next, they need to understand your product or service really well so they can connect how your offering can resolve the prospect’s pain points. Once that happens, your sales team will be able to connect your product to the prospect’s story and suddenly you’re really driving revenues.

70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. Bottom Line: Every prospect is different. Treat them differently.

#2 Not all prospects are ready to buy. Help your sales advisors identify them.

According to Gleanster Research, 50% of qualified leads are not ready to purchase immediately.These figures mean two things for your sales team. (1) They need to adopt a different sales strategy towards that 50% which is not ready for an immediate purchase. (2) They should be prioritizing their efforts on leads that are closer to making the purchase. However, your sales team will be able to do this only when they know who’s who. Which lead is ready to buy and needs to be contacted immediately, and which needs time warming up to the idea of connecting with your company. Only when they get a clear picture of the lead’s position in the sales cycle can they tweak their sales methodology to create the right impact.

#3 Today, sales is all about building a relationship. Help your sales advisors create lasting relationships with prospects.

Research says that, on average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase. It is called “lifetime customer value.” But, how do you get a customer to be loyal to you? The answer lies in building a great relationship with them. Companies today are focusing on building a relationship with their prospects. It is no longer about just getting the prospects to buy a product or sign up for a service. If you want your salespeople to be successful, you need to help them forge value-adding, mutually beneficial relationships with their prospects. How to build these relationships? Through personalized marketing and sales communication. This means helping your salespeople tailor their communication so that it addresses the precise needs of each specific prospect.

It is not just about selling anymore. A successful salesperson is one who understands the buyer persona and truly focuses on adding value to each prospect and customer. A successful salesperson is not pushy or persistent. They are, alternatively, an ally to the buyer--a subject matter expert on the buyer’s pain points and a person who is genuinely concerned with resolving them. In fact, a sales team today is comprised  not of salespeople, but sales advisors who focus on building a lasting relationship with the prospect that extends beyond a single sale. 

How to get more out of your channel partners?

Selling through channel partners presents unique challenges. How do you get your channel partners on the same page as you? How do you get them to push your products or services as well as you’d like them to? This post tells you how you can get that “something extra” from your channel partners to fill that gap.

Offer the right training

You may have recruited the best partners, but have you offered them the best training? How strong is your partner on-boarding process? Does it cover every aspect of your business and product/service line that your channel partner needs to know? If you want your channel partners to sell your product the way you would do it yourself, a strong partner on-boarding and training process is a must. It which enables your partners to understand your market, product and selling methodology as well as you do.

Offer the right tools

What tools are you giving your channels partners to help them sell? Are your channel partners relying on a set of outdated presentations and other sales collateral to pitch your product/service? Provide your channel partners with tools that help them sell your product effectively.The right selling tools for channel partners include

  • Lead prospecting tools that assist your channel partners in generating quality leads they can sell your products/services to
  • Lead management tools that help your channel partners understand every lead, segment them and then reach out to them in the way that’s most effective
  • Sales automation tools such as lead nurturing email drips
  • Tools that allow your channel partners to engage in local marketing and sales campaigns effectively
  • Easy sales collateral creation tools that give your channel partners the ability to customize content according to their needs
  • Notification tools that alert your channel partners about significant lead activity so they take the right action at the right time
  • Social media automation tools that help your channel partners engage with prospects early in the sales cycle

Offer support

One of the key ways to differentiate yourself from your competitors is by offering complete support. Support your channel partners with playbooks and documented sales processes, so they know exactly which way to go. If you have provided your channels with a channel enablement software, then make sure it is easy-to-use and the vendor offers strong technical support.

Lead registrations and MDF fund management

How easy is it for your channel partners to register their leads or apply for MDF funds? By making mundane administrative processes easier, you are giving your channel partner more time to focus on the real stuff:selling.

Despite spending a sizable amount on channel partner incentives and marketing programs, companies often find that there is a gap between their expectations versus actual channel partner performance. Companies can bridge that gap by partnering with a channel enablement company that takes care of every element involved in channel partner management-- from attracting the right channel partner, on-boarding them, providing them with the tools they need to sell to offering the right kind of support, so you and your channel partner can benefit from the relationship.

How Mindmatrix can make you best-in-class?

According to Aberdeen’s latest research, best-in-class companies excel at the following areas

  • Visibility into sales deployment of content 
  • Marketing-to-sales lead acceptance rate
  • Empowering sales with customizable content
  • Reverse visibility for sales

Here’s a quick look at how Mindmatrix can make that happen

Visibility into sales deployment of content

The Mindmatrix platform has a strong asset management module which provides detailed reports on asset usage and consumption—both internally and externally. That means marketing knows exactly which sales/marketing collateral were used, at what stage of the sales cycle and what the response was to them. This visibility helps your company on two counts—one, marketing knows which content pieces are effective and second, you can correct and coach salespeople who are using the wrong assets, helping them to be more effective.

Marketing-to-sales lead acceptance rate

The Mindmatrix platform ensures you enjoy a higher marketing-to-sales lead acceptance rate through its advanced lead management system. The platform first studies each lead in-depth and then scores them by mapping lead behavior and attributes against a custom lead scoring model. Then, it automatically segments them into different categories and the ones truly ready to interact with sales are passed on to the sales team, while others are automatically put into lead nurturing drips to be nurtured till they qualify to meet sales. As a result, there is an overall improvement in the quality of leads that are passed from marketing to sales, which results in greater marketing-to-sales lead acceptance rate.

Empowering sales with customizable content 

Mindmatrix follows a template-based approach to collateral creation allowing marketing to generate content, while customizing it automatically for your prospects the way the sales team wants it. Mindmatrix also gives sales the ability to customize content as per their requirements. In order to ensure branding and messaging is not tampered with, Mindmatrix allows you to decide the level to which your salespeople are permitted to customize the content.

Reverse visibility for sales

Mindmatrix provides a single, consolidated prospect view—that means both marketing and sales know, at any given point in time, what the lead is up to. When lead is passed on to sales, the salesperson has access to the entire activity history of the lead—right from the time of leads’ first interaction with your company. This enables your sales team to present a more custom, unique value proposition to every lead that they contact.

Be best-in-class with Mindmatrix

The Mindmatrix platform has all the capabilities you need to fall into the best-in-class category. Designed to most effectively allow sales reps to access, utilize and measure assets and results so that they can sell more, faster, Mindmatrix is a valuable ally in your sales enablement efforts.