B2B vs. B2C Marketing: A Difference in Mindset

When you’re selling to businesses, your sales and marketing tactics may often differ greatly from those you’d use to reach individual consumers. There are significant differences in terms of the buying cycle and what influences a buying decision when it comes to B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer) markets.

Here’s an overview of the main differences.

The complexity of the sales cycle. In the B2B world, it takes longer to make a purchasing decision. Often, purchasing decisions involve large sums of money, and the insurance the company chooses may have big effects on its daily functioning.

These decisions aren’t made lightly. In these situations, it pays to build strong relationships and trust with decision-makers, and be in it for the long haul.

Compared with that, consumers have a relatively simple sales cycle. True, they may take time to research insurance options. But in the end, consumers are often focused on speed and convenience, and many would prefer to make the decision without talking to a representative.

Number of decision makers. When selling insurance to a company, you may be facing several decision-makers—all with different priorities. The CEO, CFO, CTO, and others may all look at the issue differently—and need to be persuaded individually.

When selling to larger companies, it can help to understand their sales cycle and decision-making process, and to develop marketing materials that speak to decision-makers at all levels of that process.

Whereas with consumers, they may and discuss things with their spouse or other family members, but in general, you only have one or two decision-makers per purchase—and your message can be simpler.

Focus on cost. Because the buying process takes so long and it’s a challenge to switch, most companies are less focused on bottom-line cost than individual consumers are—although cost is definitely a factor in many companies’ decision-making.

Whereas in many B2C insurance markets, consumers are fairly cost-conscious. They’re more prone to switch policies if it gets them a lower premium, even when the coverage isn’t as comprehensive.

Level of technical knowledge. To sell insurance to a B2B client, you must be able to explain on an expert level why your coverage is the best choice—to an audience of finance and benefit professionals who understand insurance coverage. By contrast, most consumers don’t want that level of detail—they’d prefer you break it down for them in laymen’s terms.

Business and consumer markets have different needs when it comes to sales and marketing. Tailor your outreach strategy to both, take your time to get to know your prospect—and you should be able to do well, in both B2B and B2C environments.

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