The term B2B is used in the fields of business, marketing and trade. Internationally, its meaning is well known, as it is commonly used. Do you know what B2B means and how it differs from B2C?
we are going to clarify these doubts from Nextport.
B2B meaning and B2C meaning
B2B companies are companies that have other companies as customers. In other words, the natural customers for their business transactions or services are other businesses.
B2B meaning: business to business.
What is B2C?
B2C companies are those whose customers are private individuals. In other words, their natural customers are end consumers, individuals.
B2C meaning: business to costumer.
B2B meaning vs B2C meaning: most relevant differences
Considering the B2C and B2B meaning, it can already be easily deduced that the differences between one type of business and the other are very relevant.
Who is targeted and what is the buying process like?
This is the main one, as it is at the core of the term and its meaning. In practice it affects marketing, sales and other issues.
B2B companies target a relatively small number of customers who buy a large volume of goods. They are also focused on specific and small markets of which they have a very high level of knowledge.
B2C, on the other hand, targets a very large number of customers who buy small volumes of goods. Their knowledge and requirements may be extensive depending on the case.
In terms of sales, what is the main difficulty for B2B? It is that they do not have to convince anyone of the importance of their product, its benefits or the desirability of choosing it. In business, this decision rarely depends on a single person. Often, several people must agree. Or the approval of the purchase must go through different hierarchies or processes from the time the purchase is suggested until it is made.
This means that the sales process in B2B is longer. The purchase decision is more thoughtful. And the value of the product is more relevant to achieve the sale.
In B2C, personal, motivational and even emotional factors can make the sale. In B2B everything is more rational.
As we have seen, B2B means business to business. And in this field, it is rarely that the emotions are the ones that motivate the decision-making process. Generally, the process is:
- A need is identified.
- Risks and benefits are studied.
- Purchase approval or budget acceptance phase.
- Active search for product suppliers.
- Analysis of the offer and negotiation phases.
- Purchase. And, probably, after-sales support.
Points of sale, distribution channels and after-sales service.
In B2C, the main points of sales are the shops. Whether physical or virtual.
But in B2B, sales points are more specialised and segmented. Congresses and trade fairs, for example, are among their main preferred points of sales. So are networking events. And events organised by Chambers of Commerce, other institutions or companies specialised in promoting contacts between businesses.
The distribution channels are also different. Because in business-to-business, large volumes make it necessary. In addition, it is important that it is extremely secure. Because the monetary cost of these is usually very high and the insecurity could compromise the financial stability of the company itself.
Moreover, in B2C, relationships are short. Of course, customer loyalty is always sought. But once the sale is closed and unless there are problems, the relationship ends there. In B2B, the relationship is usually long-term or even permanent. After-sales support is key.
There is another issue to be considered. And that is that this after-sales support often does not take place with just one person, but with several. This is a further difficulty that requires more care and a higher quality of support.
Nowadays, new technologies and programmes make easier to give a coordinated and coherent response to these people. It makes possible not to fall into contradictions. And it avoids repeating problem-solving processes.
B2B and B2C marketing: differences
All the differences between B2B and B2C outlined so far mean that marketing must be approached very differently in both types of business.
Now that you know the meaning of B2B, can you imagine a manager of a large company choosing suppliers for his company because he sees an ad on TV that appeals to his emotions? No, you can’t, can you?
Reason, quality, advantages and benefits are key. In B2B, logic is important. The emphasis is on product features. What advantages does it bring to the buyer to choose them? How is it going to benefit them? Because their choice will depend on it or not. In B2C, provoking emotions closes sales.
In addition, marketing should be clear about the return on investment. When you target a person, it is different. It does not make sense to target a family to sell them food, for example, and talk about investment. You can appeal to its nutritional and health value. Or the pleasure of tasting it.
But we have already seen when defining B2B as businesses that sell to businesses. And businesses when buying will always consider whether it is profitable for them. Therefore, those who want to sell those products to them need to focus on the quality and profitability of those products.
Any strategy should focus on making clear these issues, which are the ones that will enable sales to be closed.
That is why marketing strategies are different. Just as the marketing channels are different. In B2C, TV or radio commercials or ads on Facebook or Instagram can make perfect sense. In B2B there are more appropriate channels such as specialised magazines for professionals or organic or paid publications on LinkedIn, for example.