With time, more and more industry reports are rolling in, with the statement that B2B marketing is increasingly becoming similar to B2C. What’s more, 80% of B2B customers expect a B2C customer experience in 2018.
Some of the consequences include the increased number of touchpoints and a more personalized approach. However, the burning issue remains – what does this mean for lead generation? Outlined here are some of the main differences between generating leads while marketing to businesses and consumers.
The sales cycle is vastly different
One of the major differences between B2B and B2C is that in the case of the former, there’s usually much more money involved. And as the price tag goes up, so does the number of people making a decision. In fact, the average B2B sales cycle has 6.8 stakeholders. On the other hand, in B2C sales, there’s usually just one stakeholder on the other end.
With more decision makers, it’s not that easy to make a call. As a result, the sales cycle is much longer for B2B, spanning from months all the way up to a year and more.
A longer sales cycle means that leads can easily become disengaged at any point, so a great lead nurture system needs to be implemented. As stated in Forbes, the average B2B nurture cycle is now 12 months.
Vastly different audiences
If you’re marketing to consumers, your audience is as broad as it gets because everyone with enough money in their pocket can make a decision and become a paying customer. This means that you can tweak your lead-gen efforts and target very wide audiences or have a laser focus on a single niche in one industry.
When trying to generate B2B leads, there’s only a handful of people within a given company that you’re trying to target, as they have the purchase power – such as CEOs and heads of departments. Because the target audience is smaller and more demanding, it’s crucial to do proper research and know exactly whom you’re targeting and be aware of where they are in the sales funnel.
The content is different
Although the lines between B2B and B2C are slowly blurring, there are some things that are inherently different. Content marketing is one of the most effective lead generation methods, whether it’s B2B or B2C. However, the type of content differs vastly.
B2B consumers tend to have more knowledge about a certain subject than B2C and they expect content tailored specifically to them. For these consumers, the ideal content forms are in-depth blog posts, detailed case studies, and whitepapers. B2B stakeholders expect actionable advice and proven tactics that they can immediately apply or where they can see the value of your offering.
On the other hand, B2C content is often times more general in nature, while B2B content needs to target accounts with laser precision, offering content pieces for each stage of the funnel. Although it’s not necessarily always the case, B2C content allows more freedom in format, design, and copy as well.
The communication methods (and channels) are different
Even though inbound is leading the way in the modern marketing world, outbound still has its place, especially in B2B. When interacting with companies, it’s not unusual to give them cold calls or drop by for a demo or a meeting. For the Doubting Toms out there, cold calling does still work and get results in B2B.
B2C is a completely different kind of story. Generating leads in this way for B2C is anything but possible, as consumers see cold calls as a disturbance and invasion of their privacy. In fact, in countries such as UK, it’s practically illegal.
The social media channels are different
As we’ve mentioned, B2B and B2C leads are different audiences, they have a different sales cycle and they consume different types of content. Naturally, you won’t find them on the same social media platforms either.
In terms of general marketing effectiveness, social media isn’t really that convincing compared to other methods. However, there’s one platform that stands out – LinkedIn.
In a research analyzing the overall number of B2B leads from social media, over 80% of leads came in from LinkedIn, with Twitter at 12.73% and Facebook at 6.73%.
For example,72% of B2C marketers prefer using Facebook for their campaigns, compared to 43% of B2B marketers. Although research confirms that Facebook is still the top channel for B2B in terms of popularity, LinkedIn tops the list for B2B marketing effectiveness. Alternatively, you can leverage your own website to generate leads as well.
Who does the work?
When doing lead gen, your team has to interact directly with the leads and reply to their questions and concerns. This process differs vastly in B2B and B2C lead generation.
With B2B lead generation, marketers need specific, in-depth information about the product/service. Just as these clients require in-depth content, they also have specific questions that only experts can address.
With B2C, those in charge of lead gen do not need to have such in-depth product/service knowledge and they can do their job well without going too much into detail.
This leads us to outsourcing. If you want to outsource your lead generation, for B2C, it’s generally a good idea as it will make your own staff’s jobs easier and they can devote time to other tasks.
In the case of B2B, however, outsourcing is not a great idea as outsourcing agencies need to invest significant time to get in-depth knowledge about your product. As stats confirm, only 12% of companies outsource their lead gen, so this is not the most popular option, for B2C or B2B.
Are B2B and B2C really alike?
Even though some aspects of B2B are becoming B2C-like, the very essence of marketing to businesses demands a different approach, catering to specific needs of the involved stakeholders. However, with a well thought out lead-gen strategy, savvy marketers can navigate both B2B and B2C waters with ease.
About the author:
Marcus Svensson is responsible for the Growth of Albacross with previous experience as a founder and background in Mathematics from Stanford. Albacross is one of the top lead generation tools in Europe today and growing with hundreds of new companies every day. For best lead generation visit albacross.com.