Key Differences Between the B2B and B2C Mindset

Posted on by Grant Johnson

Many of the lines between B2C and B2B buyers have become blured. But there are still some critical differences in how folks buy in each scenario, professionally and personally.

B2B buyers are not spending their own money.
Yes, this statement can be argued based upon company size. An entrepreneur is typically spending his/her own money, but in mid-to large size firms, the buyers are more often purchasing with money that is not their own.

Today, more than ever, the “vendor” needs to justify their role and their value, especially against competitors who will low ball their prices to get in the door. Creating value is the key.

B2B buyers want to make the right choice.
Recall the famous ad campaign that stated “No one ever got fired for buying IBM.” That thinking still is prevalent today.  If you have a new, innovative product or service, it is often very difficult to get old-line companies to take a risk on trying something that is unproven. It boils down to human psychology. “If it is so good, why isn’t so and so using this?”

While most buyers do not want to be me-too followers, they are equally cautious on trying something that is cutting edge, and too new to try. Keep this in mind when developing your marketing campaigns.

B2B buyers still want a deal.
While they do not lay out their own cash, they still want to show their boss that they made a great deal for the company. Presenting offers, a staple of great direct marketing, will serve you well here as you plan your marketing efforts.

Beware of the dreaded TGTBT offer. If it seems “too good to be true,” they will likely pass on even considering you and your firm.

B2B buyers are more skeptical than ever.
Establishing credibility should be a key driver in your marketing messaging. While you want to focus on the prospect’s needs and pains, you still must include enough pertinent information on your company so the buyer feels comfortable enough to meet with you face-to-face.

If you fail to include this key information, the sale will not happen because you will not be invited to quote.

B2B buyers do research before they choose.
Once you impress them, they will continue to research you and the firm. They have the same power at their fingertips as most consumers, the internet. Thus, make sure you have a compelling, relevant website; client testimonials on LinkedIn and other social sites; and that your sales messaging is consistent with your marketing strategies and tactics.

You’d likely be surprised on how often this is overlooked. When it is, you may be eliminated from consideration.

B2B buyers want strong relationships.
In the majority of B2B transactions, the salesperson is the one who owns the relationship. He/she is the key cog to the company’s reputation, expectations and delivery deadlines. On-going, professional communicators tend to fare well in B2B sales. They do not over promise, but rather work with their teams to gather information and intelligence prior to making bold commitments.

With B2B marketing opportunities evolving quickly, those selling into companies will have greater success when they factor in the above list and also think from the mindset of their prospective buyers.

Grant A. Johnson is B2B marketer, and the Ambassador of Fun at Johnson Direct/Responsory. He can be reached at [email protected]

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