As I’m currently taking a course on omnichannel marketing, I’ve really been able to dig deep into marketing to both businesses and consumers. For the last two years of my marketing career, I have been on the B2B end of things, targeting decision makers for businesses that have IT needs. Prior to that, I worked at telecommunications companies (Sprint and T-Mobile) where I mainly dealt with regular consumers but still had to target small businesses on a monthly basis.
In comparison to my experience in B2C sales, B2B is definitely the most challenging. With B2B marketing, you rarely get the insights you do when you do B2C marketing. For example, I could use Google Analytics to discover my customers demographic and psychographic information with ease. More accurate information about my customers helps me to develop buyer personas which in turn, shape my marketing strategies. With B2B, it’s harder to get ahold of this information since your consumer is an entire company rather than an individual. Usually, you have to do more intensive research to create buyer personas such as stalking LinkedIn accounts of decision makers or trying to get prospects to engage with surveys or studies. Did I mention that it’s much harder to get engagement in the B2B space?
Although there are challenges in creating strategies for B2B buyers, I can say that B2B buyers often yield higher ROI and longer relationships. When I was working in telecommunications, my B2C customers could leave the company ease and there was only so much that I could add on to a regular consumer. If I sold service to a simple family of four, that was all I could get out of it until they added to their family which could take years. With my B2B customers, if I asked the right questions, developed the right needs, and nurtured the relationships, I could gain so much more. For a simple small business with 10 employees, I could not only add cellphones, but POS tablets, and internet services for their vehicles. Also, a business is more likely to add an employee to their staff at a faster rate than a family was to add a new family member that needed a device with service. Both gave me referrals, but because of my great relationships, I was able to close accounts with up to 50 devices on them (at the time the highest you could do in the retail setting).
Ultimately as a marketer, you should be equipped to handle both types of consumers as businesses are beginning to become blended in who they serve. For the wireless businesses I worked for, we serviced both B2B and B2C buyers. Many other businesses are following suit. I’m grateful for my experiences in sales because they helped shaped me to become a marketer that can tackle any kind of customer or business with a strategic mindset and relationship building skills.