How to Use Personalization to Shorten the B2B Sales Cycle?
Before going into the use of personalization to shorten the b2b sales cycle, let’s get ourselves familiar with b2b sales cycle and how different it is with b2c.
B2B - Business to Business Marketing
B2B in business means business-to-business marketing. It is a known fact that in a business transaction there is a buyer, seller and a product which is sold to the seller by the buyer for a price. In a b2b transaction, a business sells its goods or services to another business or organization either for the consumption of the organization or for resale to consumers. Office supplies is a good example where goods produced by a business is purchased by another organization for its own consumption. The American multinational company Boeing that designs, manufactures and sells airplanes to other business is an apt example for a b2b company.
B2C - Business to Customer
B2C is business to a customer where an organization manufactures a product to serve a customer. Headquartered in Cupertino, California, US, Apple Inc. that designs, develops and sells consumer electronics is the best example for a b2c company.
Business to Business Sales Cycle
Sales Cycle can be defined as the journey that a company goes through while selling its product to the customer. While the sales cycle can be considered the journey of the company; Sales Funnel can be considered the visual depiction of customer’s journey from the point of awareness about the product till its purchase.
Now that we know what a B2B sales, B2C sales, and a sales cycle are, let’s review the similarities and differences between these two types of sales.
Similarities between B2B and B2C sales
The fundamental requirement in both the types of sales is to a have a prospective customer for the purchase of the product or service. Further, in both the types of sales, an organization to succeed in the market, it would require a unique Sales Process backed by a strong sales strategy. Also, it is imperative for both the types of business to take leverage of technology by implementing software such as Sales CRM to survive, sustain, adapt to the market and reap profits. Alongside, the similarities, there are striking differences between b2c and b2b sales. So, let’s go ahead and review some of those differences.
Differences B2B and B2C sales:
Driving factor for sale
The driving factor for the sale to occur in B2B sales could be the relationship the business is able to establish with the customer, features of the product and also the level of customer support the company is able to provide. However, in B2C sales, the brand appeal seems to be the most driving factor for the sale to occur.
In B2B sales, the market size could be large, medium or focused or small sized unlike in the B2C sales where the market size is huge.
Motivation factors for purchase
The primary motivating factor for a business to become a customer of ‘another business’ could be the ability of ‘another business’ to generate value for the organization. If we take the example of Boeing that was discussed initially, an aircraft carrier company such as British Airways has a strategic alliance with Boeing for supply and maintenance of its carrier fleet. There are other aircraft suppliers available in the market. However, British Airways chose to align with Boeing for its ability to add value by supplying world-class aircraft. Coming to the B2C market, there could be more motivations factors that drive a customer to purchase a product. Some of them could be economic viability, economic status, sense gratification, and emotional attachment etc. Let’s take the example of Apple Inc. that was discussed initially. Apple manufactures and sells its premiere flagship mobile iPhone. The hefty price tag of $1,149 for its 256GB model didn’t deter customers from buying the phone. For some, it could be a status symbol while for others it could be sense gratification.
The pricing strategy is complex and expensive in B2B sales unlike in B2C sales where the pricing is flexible and is altered as per the market requirement such as affordability by customer.
Decision making process
The decision-making process in B2B sales is complex and could involve more than one individual. In B2C sales, the decision-making process could be a single individual. Further, the process of the decision-making process is lengthy and time-consuming in B2B as it requires multilevel approval. In B2C the decision maker could be an individual and has a relatively shorter length.
Sales Team and product knowledge
The Sales team in B2B sales could be domain experts as the marketing of a B2B product involves jargon language and hence demands the specific field expertise. In B2C sales, the demand for product knowledge is relatively low compared to B2B product.
Impact of personalization on B2B sales cycle
When a company personalizes its offering, the effect is immense on the sale of the brand. Organizations personalize the brands at various stages of the selling process to shorten the sales cycle. A few of the stages where personalization can occur are given below:
Identifying the target audience, the smart way
Social media has become part and parcel of our everyday life. Organizations implement media CRM to follow and monitor prospective customers to better understand their likes and dislikes. This provides invaluable information in customizing and reducing the gap between the product and target prospective customers.
Journey with customer
Customers expect a continuous journey from sellers during the course of a sales process. Hence, this kind of personalization by way of maintaining a connection with the customers helps B2B organizations reduce their sales cycle and increase the sale.