What is B2B Sales, and How is it Different from B2C?
Interested in a clear and concise definition of B2B sales? We’ve got you covered. This quick guide goes over what it is, some practical examples, and the key differentiating factors between B2B and B2C.
Defining B2B Sales
Let’s start with the first part: B2B. It stands for business to business, and it refers to interactions between two companies. When combined with sales, those interactions involve one business selling goods or services to another business.
Helpful Examples of B2B Sales
It’s often easy to understand a definition when you can relate it to something you know. For the TV buffs out there, “The Office” is a great example of a B2B sales environment. In fact, Dwight Schrute could teach you a lot about B2B sales.
Dunder Mifflin is a paper company, but instead of selling paper to individual consumers, they sell it to other businesses. The logic behind it is that the average person probably won’t go through a package of paper in a year, but many businesses require reams every month. By selling directly to another company, Dunder Mifflin is able to significantly increase the amount of product that they move.
Never seen “The Office”? Here are some real-life brands you’ve probably heard of:
- Salesforce: The CRM company has developed a software that helps sales reps perform better. It’s B2B sales-ception!
- GE: Along with consumer-facing appliances, GE has myriad products and services that it sells to companies and governmental agencies.
- Johnson & Johnson: Yes, consumers often buy Johnson & Johnson products, but you don’t go to the Johnson & Johnson store to do so. Instead, the manufacturer sells their products to retail stores, who then sell to the individual consumer.
How is B2B Different from B2C?
There are several key differences in the way that businesses sell to consumers vs. the way they sell to other businesses.
- Buying Teams vs. Individuals: When one person is faced with the decision to buy a product, they might deliberate a little bit, but generally speaking, it’s a simple choice—they want it or they don’t. Buying teams are far more complicated. In B2B decisions, the company often creates a team of people who are charged with finding the best product or service for their need. And it’s very hard to get everyone to agree on one thing. As a result, B2B reps are tasked with making their case with multiple people instead of just one.
- Time: A B2B sale almost always takes significantly longer than a B2C sale. Part of that has to do with how long it takes a buying team to reach consensus, but there are also a lot of hoops that businesses have to jump through in order to close a deal. Often, the process includes multiple demonstrations, proposals, contracts, and approval at various levels of the organization. One small hiccup, like a miscommunication in the accounting department, can cause month-long delays.
- Relationship: Beyond brand loyalty, regular consumers don’t expect a relationship with the stores they frequent. That’s not the case with B2B. An effective sales rep will get to know each member of the buying team. By forming connections and relationships, it’s easier to foster approval both for that purchase and for future opportunities. And let’s face it: with how long the average sales cycle lasts, you’d have to try hard not to form some kind of relationship in a B2B environment.
How does technology help with B2B Sales?
B2B sales reps have a lot on their plate – they need to prioritize which opportunities to follow up with and know exactly what steps are needed to move deals forward. Accent’s sales enablement platform makes it easy for companies to achieve sales goals.
- Track and prioritize the best opportunities with powerful analytics: Dynamic scoring and ranking gives reps a prioritized list of opportunities so they can quickly see which opportunities need follow up for a better use of selling time. Sales reps and coaches can Instantly visualize opportunities without digging through CRM notes and activities so they can collaborate on strong and weak factors.
- Instant access to all sales and marketing resources: A central library puts everything reps need in one place, available from anywhere, with any device. They can grab and send follow-up materials after a meeting, or build custom materials and sales kits for buyers. Content and messages are delivered through private buyer portals, or microsites, to dramatically improve the buying experience.
- Guidance on the best sales plays to move deals forward: Dynamic sales plays contain specifics on how to handle situations and achieve specific opportunity objectives. The recommendations update automatically depending on persona, buyer stage, historic data and much more.