Difference between B2B and B2C sales

Building reflection with sunset

Looking for a sales job but not sure if you are more suitable for B2B or B2C sales?

Let's take a look at the similarities and differences in retail selling, direct to customers, versus selling to businesses in a corporate setting to help you decide which would be right for you.

 

 

Excellent customer service is key

From the first point of contact, sales is about the customer, so providing thoughtful targeted customer service is key for both B2B and B2C selling. Speak with the customer to fully understand what their need or want is, and make informed suggestions on how your products meet this. Being an active and engaged listener is very important in sales as gone are the days of hard selling and having the customer listen to you. Customers want to feel engaged and that they own the decision-making process, hence it is very important to listen to what they want exactly so that you are able to demonstrate how your product/service is able to fulfill that want/need.

After a sale, continuing to provide service by offering the help of your support team (for any problems) greatly increases customer retention rates in both B2B and B2C sales.

Similar sales strategies

Sales, regardless whether it is B2B or B2C, requires a similar strategy to building a successful portfolio or billings. You need to possess boundless enthusiasm, ample energy, a commercially sound head and be motivated by an incentivised environment to thrive in a sales role.

Price points can differ greatly

Whilst some retail purchases may have a high price point (ie: house, yacht, car), it is commonly known that B2C products have lower price points than B2B products.

With B2C products you may use price point as one of the selling points, if you know you are cheaper than a competitor. Customers who are on a budget are more inclined to be influenced by monetary factors. The difference in B2B is that you would want to focus on value-add positives instead of price as such products are at such a high price point that the differentiating factor from one product to another is what else you can provide the customer with - after sales service, concierge service, extended warranty etc.

B2B sales professionals are used to long term strategies and focusing on relationship building. 

Emotional vs. rational selling

B2C sales tend to be based on a perceived immediate need or want. Customers' purchases are emotional and are commonly point-of-sale purchases where no prior contact has been made with the sales professional. This means marketing and branding can sometimes play a much larger point in swaying a customer's buying decision at point of purchase.

B2C sales are often just focused on the end consumer and the decision-making process is not as long drawn out as B2B sales which, due to the higher price point, might involve more people and also take place over a longer period of time. For example, purchasing a car could be a family decision as the outlay can be quite large and the decision process could take place over a few weeks as the family would want to test drive different cars for comparison. B2B will typically involve a lengthier sales cycle with a higher price-point and a more complex network of relationships to build and sell into.

B2B sales changes from the emotionally driven aspect of retail sales to lead-nurturing and relationship building to highlight how your products benefit a businesses' bottom line on a long-term scale.

Thinking about switching?

A successful switch between B2B and B2C sales largely depends on the stage sales professionals have reached in their careers and if the switch between the two is to happen, it’s more likely that sales professionals will move from B2C into B2B.

B2B sales professionals are used to long term strategies and focusing on relationship building. Commonly they can find B2C and retail environments too intense and unpredictable, to move the other way.

There are some instances of where the lines between B2B and B2C can blur, but you’re more likely to find sales professionals identifying a career path in B2B as the earning potentials are significantly higher.

Interested in the latest jobs? Search the opportunities currently available.

Or, find out what you're worth using the Robert Walters Salary Survey.

Red color room with red light on ceiling

Career advice

 

Read more »