12 differences between B2B and B2C marketing

Marketing to consumers is about the same as marketing to companies? If that was the case, buying a molten metal skimmer would be as simple as buying a bottle of shampoo, wouldn’t it?

How are B2B and B2C marketing different?

According to Circle Research, there are 12 differences between B2B and B2C marketing. (This is in relation to a product – you may substitute the term service, if you offer services). In B2B:

  1. The offer is more complex/technical
  2. Association/Interdependence often related to services
  3. Has a tendency to involve ‘’Bigger ticket items’’
  4. There are a limited amount of purchasers
  5. A small number of customers account for a disproportionate amount of the sales
  6. Several people are involved in the sales cycle
  7. The deciders are often experts in their field
  8. Sales cycles are often quite long
  9. The purchase decision has a bigger impact
  10. Decisions tend to be more rational
  11. Relationships are more important
  12. In B2B, ecommerce is more or less important

Do the majority of these points describe your product or service? If so, don’t be surprised if your product or service has a complex sales cycle.

The complex sales cycle

In almost all cases, more than one person, either internal or external to the organization has a say in B2B product or service purchases. Each role has a specific timing and responsibility.

You likely agree that it is simpler to purchase a bottle of shampoo than a molten metal skimmer. The number of people involved and their motivations are different. The sales cycle is more complex but also has a different velocity. The path followed to evaluate and make a purchase decision follows a logic called ‘’complex sales cycle’’ in which purchasers proceed to get what they need to accomplish their ‘’mission’’ at the opportune moment.

To sum up, even if the buying process starts at the ‘’discovery’’ phase, it is often invisible, as it is happening online. It’s at the moment that prospects make contact with you via an online form or otherwise, that they actually reveal themselves to you.

The active buying process gets going at the ‘’qualification’’ phase. The motivation is usually technical evaluation. The prospect wants to know ‘’if’’ and ‘’how it works’’. Then, various decision makers begin work to evaluate the risk and the price of you offer, to finally justify ‘’why buy’’ the offer you make.

After the purchase, the ‘’adoption’’ phase of your product or service mustn’t be neglected. A botched adoption can adversely affect your next sales, but it can also generate opportunities for cross-sell or upsell products.


B2B marketing is different from B2C marketing. The benefit of marketing is that it accompanies the different stakeholders at the appropriate time, throughout the complex purchase cycle. The benefit of B2B marketing is bringing in the most appropriate actors at the right moment to accelerate sales and call on the sales department when all the winning conditions are present.

Find out more

To find out more about the 12 differences between B2B and B2C marketing as well as about the complex sales cycle, I’d like to invite you to attend a conference on the subject at the Stratégies PME event, upcoming November 26th at 9:45 and presented by David Chabot, Vice-President, Sales and Business Development at Exo B2B

This presentation will explain how marketing plays an essential role in the purchase cycle and how it can accelerate sales when applied methodically. Hope to see you soon at the conference and at booth #416. We’ll be waiting for you.

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