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B2B Marketing

Marketing to B2B Audiences: And How It Differs from B2C Strategies

November 3, 2022

Let’s be honest… B2B marketing isn’t easy. 



Lots of marketers are adept at crafting effective B2C strategies, but when it comes to selling to other businesses, the waters are a lot murkier. Fewer agencies specialize in B2B marketing, and marketers at B2B companies often struggle to find the right “secret sauce” that works to generate and convert high-quality leads. 



That’s part of the reason why HubSpot’s latest research found that 40% of sales teams failed to meet their targets in 2021.



If you want to ensure that you’re part of the 60% who do succeed, the key is first to understand your audience for your B2B marketing strategies. Then, you need to know how to market to them in a way that produces relevant outbound leads consistently, helps you nurture them, and also generates inbound leads. 



But the way you go about doing this is very different if you’re focused on a B2B niche, like business services or SaaS, rather than in Business-to-Consumer (B2C) industry, like retail. So let’s take a look at the two and how they’re different.



The Difference Between B2C and B2B Audiences


If your company is selling directly to consumers, your sales cycle might look something like this:


  1. Awareness: Potential customers find you on social media or through an online ad.
  2. Interest: They visit your website.
  3. Desire: They learn more about your product and decide it’s what they want.
  4. Action:  If they’re interested, they add the product to their shopping cart and checkout. Then, hopefully, they love it so much that they tell all their friends about it and leave you positive reviews.


When marketing to businesses, however, you’re not just selling to one person—you’re selling to an entire organization. This means that you have to take into account the wants of the key decision-maker, as well as the different end users within the company.



Because of that, a typical B2B sales cycle might look more like this:


  1. Awareness: A potential customer finds you on LinkedIn or through online ads.
  2. Interest: They visit your website and compare your product to competitors. After some research, they request a demo of your product. You give them a demo and they’re interested in using the product for their business.
  3. Desire: They get in touch with you to discuss pricing, licensing, and implementation.
  4. Action: You sign a contract and they start using the product.


As you can see, the sales cycle for B2B marketing is generally much longer than for B2C marketing, particularly in the interest phase. Businesses shop around a lot more because it’s an expense and often a more complicated purchase.



Because of that, you need to be prepared to nurture your leads over a period of weeks or even months before they’re ready to buy. The average SaaS company, for example, has a sales cycle time of 84 days, so you can’t expect your B2B marketing campaigns to generate immediate results.



How to Effectively Market to B2B Customers


Now that you know the difference between marketing to businesses vs consumers, let’s take a look at some specific strategies you can use to reach your B2B audience.



1. Tailor Your Approach


One important difference between marketing to businesses and marketing to consumers is that you need to tailor your approach to each. When marketing to individual consumers, you can use the same message and the same marketing channels for everyone. But when marketing to businesses, you need to segment your audience and customize your message for each segment.



For example, let’s say you’re marketing a new CRM system.



The decision maker in a small business might be interested in hearing about how easy it is to use the system and how it can help them save time. In this way, it’s a lot more like a B2C relationship. 



The decision maker in a large enterprise, on the other hand, might be more interested in hearing about the system’s features and how it can be integrated with other software. In that case, you have to get more technical and really show you know what you’re doing. And the end users in both small businesses and large enterprises might be interested in hearing about how the system can make their job easier.



As you can see, marketing to businesses is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. You need to segment your audience and tailor your message to each segment in order to be successful.



2. Focus on the Bottom Line


Another key difference is that businesses are usually more price sensitive than individual consumers. This is because businesses have to justify their spending to their shareholders or owners, and they are always looking for ways to save money. 



Ultimately, this means that you need to be able to show businesses how your product or service can save them money—with much more evidence than you’d otherwise give a B2C prospect. 



“Unless you are selling a commodity, you want to position your pricing as an investment, not an expense.”


Judi Hays, Author & Marketing Strategist



3. Take into Account Multiple Stakeholders’ Needs


One of the key differences between marketing to businesses and marketing to individual consumers is the number of decision-makers involved. 



In a B2C transaction, there is only one consumer who makes the decision to buy or not buy a product. However, in a B2B transaction, there are usually multiple decision-makers involved. In fact, according to a Gartner report, there is an average of 11 stakeholders involved during a B2B buying decision. 



This means that you need to take into account the wants of all the different decision-makers when marketing to businesses. These could be executives in operations, finance, development… the list goes on.



You also need to consider the competition and how they present their value proposition, unique features, customer service, and even their sales funnel. It’s not always a race to the bottom when it comes to providing B2B services, after all.



Expert Marketing to B2B Audiences



If you can keep these key differences in mind, you’ll be well on your way to success when marketing to businesses. Just remember to tailor your approach to the specific industry you’re targeting, and always back up your claims with data.



And if you’re looking to level up your marketing campaigns to grow your B2B business in your niche, and you need it right now, drop us a line at ScaleUpSales. We’ve helped clients change the way they market their services within a variety of industries, allowing them to reach more customers than ever before.



Contact us today to find out what we can do for you.