b2b sales and marketing

B2B Marketing and Sales vs. Consumer Marketing and Sales

jennifer cox

Jennifer Cox operated a family embroidery business beginning in 1990. She is one of the founders of the National Network of Embroidery Professionals (NNEP), a national organization that supports embroidery and apparel decoration professionals with programs and services designed to increase profitability and production. Cox is currently the president of NNEP.

Several key factors set B2B marketing apart from consumer marketing:

  • The business buyer wants to buy
  • The business buyer is usually more sophisticated
  • The business buyer is often in an information-seeking mode and will read to gather information
  • The business buyer sees making decisions as a multi-step process
  • The final decision is often made by more than one individual
  • The business buyer buys for the benefit of the company AND his benefit

The end user typically makes a buying decision that will benefit them at a personal level. They buy something because they want it, need it, like it, feel it will enhance their status with peers, can afford it, and an endless list of other possible reasons. The business buyer must buy products that benefit their company. It must meet needs other than those that are personal in nature. 

Your task when marketing to a business is to make sure that you understand what the needs of the business are, and then you must present how those needs can be met with your goods. At the same time, it is critical to remember that the buyer is still an end user, even though they are making a buying decision for a business. 

It is critical to remember the buyer’s “play it safe” mentality. They are less likely to make buying decisions if it poses any threat to their job security or their position in the company. The business buyer also wants to buy from someone that does not create or add any stress or hardship for the buyer.

With B2B, sales and marketing are indeed different than consumer marketing. You have to meet the needs of the buyer and the company. You have to provide all the pertinent information. You have to be responsive to the buyer’s inquiries. You have to reduce any perceived risks. You have to eliminate guesswork from the buying process. If you can make the process informative and simple, you will capture more business orders.

Find Cox's full-length article on B2B versus consumer sales and marketing in the October 2017 issue of Printwear. Subscribe today!