For years, your business has thrived selling to other companies as a supplier. Those other companies sell your product to consumers. Everything has gone smoothly.
However, now your new marketing lead wants to reap higher revenue margins by offering your product to consumers directly. Three months later, your business buyers have deserted you, your consumer sales don't make up for the B2B revenue losses, and you're actively interviewing for a new marketing lead.
The problem with porting over an existing marketing program is that B2B and B2C purchasing behavior is vastly different. Product or service lifecycle, path to conversion, and simple decision making affect your results and must be accounted for.
Winning Sales Tactics That Work for Both B2B and B2C
When focusing on each level of the purchasing funnel—Awareness, Consideration, and Conversion—benchmark goals are met through audience targeting, call-to-actions, and right-place/right-time messaging. You must create unique messaging even within the buyer silo for each stage to keep the sales flowing.
Regularly delivered content that enhances the conversation will scale to reach all customers. Content makeup changes over time, although video and free giveaways have been effective recently.
An informed buyer always shortens the sales cycle. Education is crucial to demonstrating your unique value and product usage. Though B2B buyers make consumer purchases regularly, no one likes to bring work home. Your messaging must be addressed differently and your expectations adjusted.
Six Areas to Consider with Your Sales Strategy
Rational versus emotional messaging - Business purchasers are logical with their decisions, as costs are generally higher and more stakeholders share responsibility. Consumers' emotions, however, are susceptible to B2C marketers. Are you coming across too formal for a consumer?
Ability to pay - For business marketing, some annual moments are more favorable to generate a sale. In some cases, budget must be spent before the quarter ends. In comparison, consumers may spend whenever they have money, such as paydays or tax refunds. Do you know who is paying the tab?
Active hours - If you have been messaging B2B buyers during work hours, your consumer audience isn't available to purchase or research. Are you expecting a response that simply can't come at that time?
Education versus research - Both businesses and consumers need information about what you offer. Proper business is conducted with the mindset to create a lifetime partnership, supported by B2B customers that are fully educated on your products and processes. Consumers may perform research to get the gist of your unique value, but neither require nor desire extensive explanation. If you're using the same educational content for consumers, is it overwhelming and off-putting?
Stakeholders - Due to the size and importance of B2B purchases, there is likely a chain of command to finalize a sale. In B2C, consumers have the final say. Your call-to-actions may be failing here. ‘Learn More' can serve both audiences, but focuses on consideration. ‘Call Now' indicates you expect a purchase from your next customer touchpoint. Are your marketing messages respecting the consumer as the final decision maker?
Lifetime value - Business buyers aspire to create long-term partnerships for their companies. These provide the best deals, enable nimble request fulfillment, and leverage shared assets. Consumers want to be loyal to a brand, with less interaction with the company. Do you expect your B2C customer to be your business partner or your brand ambassador?
Sales Strategies Don't Multitask Any Better Than You
Your strategies should already be unique to meet your goals, but it's how you speak to your buyer that matters in B2C. If we conducted our personal lives as we do in business, there'd be no work/life separation, essential to productivity.
The same B2B buyers spend two-thirds of their day as B2C purchasers. If you're speaking the right language at the right time, you could just as easily move a thousand units as you could sell your home yourself.
B2B sales strategies fail because it takes a dedicated message using the right voice to close B2C leads. Adjusting your tone will make all the difference.
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