This post is aimed at new entrepreneurs, startups, or others in small companies that are looking to grow, especially people who don’t already have marketing backgrounds.
B2B is far more personal than B2C
Probably one of the most counter-intuitive truths of B2B marketing is that it’s often far more personal than B2C. Selling to a business really means selling to the director of a part of a business, the CEO, or the small business owner. In many cases you can even buy lists of contact info, such as a list of all the CIOs in the Fortune 1000.
For high value B2B sales (anywhere from 10k-millions, depending on the industry), the sales cycle is also relatively long and may include a large amount of interpersonal contact between sales staff and the point of contact person at a particular company.
This often comes as a surprise to new entrepreneurs, who often have more experience as a consumer than as a corporate buyer or seller.
B2C marketing and sales might feel personal, but it isn’t. Because B2C marketing is by nature a wide net, marketing is more about archetypes and personas. Marketing might feel personal to the consumer, but really they are just in a big bucket with others similar to them. In this case, effective marketing is not about getting to know the individual well but rather gaining an awareness of clusters of people — how to group and sort people so they can be targeted en masse.
Driving leads vs Driving Sales
In B2B marketing, the goal is to drive leads for a sales team. Due to the much longer sales cycle, it’s highly unlikely that marketing will lead to an instant sale in a B2B product offering, especially for higher-ticket items. Instead, the goal of marketing is to spark an initial relationship on positive terms that lines up the sales team for success.
In B2C marketing, the goal is to drive sales more directly. A customer sees a TV ad, or reads some content, and can be shunted directly to a point of sale where they can input their credit card and buy.