The term B2B (Business-to-Business) was coined during the 90s, but it’s still challenging to explain to some business leaders that this market is different than a typical consumer market. Many people still won’t accept that this market is different from the B2C (Business-to-Consumer) market and requires different approaches.
B2B has unique challenges, different marketing approaches, different buying intent data, and many other mechanisms that you must understand for your business and how to make it grow. The adoption of data in the industry has made these differences obvious.
Let’s see what the data shows and how you can adjust your approach to achieve better business results.
Decision-making is more complex in B2B.
Making decisions in B2B is usually more complex. You can delegate things like acquiring new chairs or office furniture to a single person. However, when it comes to making strategic business decisions that will impact the whole organization, you must involve everyone.
Many professionals take part in different complex areas and have valuable knowledge that you can use to make the right decisions. That affects organizations from within, but it also changes the markets and the associated companies.
Buying intent changes as different professionals join and leave companies since this fluctuation affects their essential strategies and business goals.
Buyers make more rational decisions.
Even though we’re emotional beings and can’t completely exclude feelings from our decisions, we look to contain them while at work. As individuals, we often buy objectively overpriced products because we like how they look or come from a known brand.
Things are slightly different with emotions in B2B decision-making, which requires more objective and rational thinking
Companies always look to save money and go for the cheapest option that fits their criteria. In this environment, it’s vital to keep track of intent data frequently to anticipate demand and predict these rational decisions.
What is intent data? It’s the information that tells you about your potential customers’ behavior and how they consume content online.
B2B companies have more complex products.
Buying consumer products usually doesn’t require any expertise, and making buying decisions is easy. However, acquiring products like industrial-grade machines requires extensive expertise and analysis.
Consumer products typically have a one-size-fits-all approach, while you need to personalize and fine-tune B2B services and products.
Most industrial products are integrated into larger systems and need to work cohesively within that ecosystem. That is why they require extensive modification, examination, and analysis. Buyers are interested in comprehensive technical details about their products and want to know if they will help them stay competitive in the market.
Different number of customers
Most B2B markets have fewer customers who buy many products. As for consumer products, customers will usually purchase a single product and sometimes maybe two.
However, sold products can go in large batches in transactions between companies. For example, an individual might buy chocolate twice per week, while your partner might order a weekly delivery of materials that last much longer.
Since a small number of customers have a significant impact on companies, it’s essential to manage customer relationships and contract and transactional records.
Companies must focus on key accounts and be ready to react proactively to approach potential clients and anticipate their needs. The emphasis is on delivering large quantities of products on time while providing the necessary support to tackle technical issues.
Strong emphasis on personal relationships
Another reason B2B markets are different from their B2C counterparts is they place immense importance on personal relationships.
Having a small number of potential clients that regularly buy from your business makes it easier to create deeper connections. Technical and sales teams frequently meet with customers and quickly start communicating on a first-name basis.
It’s crucial to develop trust and personal relationships over time. B2B companies often have suppliers or partners they have worked with for many years. That is why companies spend a lot more money on people and look to establish relationships through networking.
It’s all about sticking with fewer relationships that have long-term quality instead of looking to grab as many customers as possible. Face-to-face contact is more crucial and rewarding, and people are reluctant to do business with strangers.
Buyers in B2B markets are looking for long-term cooperation.
Even though consumers buy items like cars or home appliances that they will use for a long time, they purchase most products for short-term use. In B2B markets, long-term and repeat purchases are more common.
Long-term services and products in this market often need ongoing technical support and servicing. For example, buying an IT infrastructure that an organization will use over a long period will require proper installation and maintenance.
Another reason why long-term cooperation is prevalent in B2B markets is fewer customers. Companies look to earn their trust, nurture their relationships, and build long-term loyalty.
To sum things up, B2B buyers have higher expectations than their B2C counterparts. They must consider more variables to make an informed purchasing decision, and companies have to understand their buyers better to meet their needs.
That’s why B2B data is so important and why companies are looking to analyze their market extensively to provide the services and products their customers desire.