Lead generation is one of the most misunderstood & underestimated marketing strategies. Often new marketers and businesses think a cookie-cutter lead generation strategy will work for their business type. They’re wrong.
Difference Between B2B and B2C Lead Generation
Regardless if it’s B2B or B2C, knowing your target audience lays the groundwork for your lead generation initiatives.
B2B and B2C lead generation have quite a few stark differences. Here are some points to remember before setting out to generate leads for your business:
1. Audience Scope
In B2C lead generation, the audience scope is as broad as it gets because every person with purchasing power is a customer to some degree.
B2B lead generation, on the other hand, targets mainly a small portion of people within a company, i.e. the decision-makers in the top management, such as c-suite executives and department heads. In some cases, you may only have a pool of 5000 potential buyers throughout the entire world…depending on your vertical.
And because the target audience is far narrower in a B2B setting, lead generation efforts often demand a more proactive and personalized approach and thus, thorough research is of utmost importance to attract and nurture them effectively.
The B2C sales cycle is much more simple and straightforward because individual consumers often make purchasing decisions for themselves. Individual consumers can come up with a decision in a matter of minutes, even seconds without ever talking to a sales rep.
In a B2B setting, it’s a whole new ball game. B2B marketers and salespeople often face teams within a company. The average B2B sales cycle involves 6.8 stakeholders.
And this often involves satisfying the specific demands and needs of each stakeholder that may influence the decision-making process. This whole back and forth makes the entire sales process more involved and slower. But this kind of interaction is actually crucial when closing a deal and maintaining lasting relationships.
But whether it’s B2B or B2C, digging deeper into the needs of your target customers can help you understand their decision-making process.
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3. Price of Leads
While both B2C and B2B lead generation companies want to deliver the best quality lead for the best price possible, it’s more of an expectation that B2B CPL (cost per lead) are going to be more expensive. However, B2B deals often involve a significantly higher value per lead, anywhere from a few thousand dollars to millions of dollars per transaction much depending on the type for product / service and / or lifetime value.
We’ve seen leads for B2C cost anywhere from $5 to $80 & B2B leads cost anywhere from $75 to $1000. A lot of the fluctuation depends on the type of agency you’re working with, your industry and how hard it is to target your ideal customer.
4. Sales Cycle Length
The B2C sales cycle is much shorter for two main reasons. One, it usually involves far less investment. And two, the consumer involved is usually the decision-maker.
On the other side of the spectrum, the B2B sales cycle is often much longer — which can take months or even years — since B2B deals, as mentioned, involve big-money contracts and multiple stakeholders.
One major tactic to help sales reps sell into B2B companies is ABM or Account Based Marketing. This approach also sets B2B apart from B2C in that you target numerous people inside an organization strategically, and hopefully, influencing the decision making process.
The average B2B nurture cycle is now 12 months, and it’s expected to take longer in the next following years. Longer sales cycles usually mens higher chances of your opportunities falling out of your sales funnel. However, with robust lead nurturing tactics and tech continuously improving, you can prevent potential buyers from falling through the cracks.
Businesses and consumers have different needs and buying processes they go through so they have to be approached differently.
B2B marketing heavily focuses on logic-driven purchasing decisions, while B2C marketing usually relies on emotion-driven purchasing decisions. Businesses are more interested in how a product can help them, whereas consumers are normally more concerned with what they see of a brand or a new piece of something.
Although this is not always the case, this variance is too significant to ignore.
For instance, one of the best ways to market a piece of CRM or B2B software to businesses is to highlight how it can improve business relationships with customers and potential customers. Ultimately, the process involves addressing risks and positioning the product as a solution to make their customer relations more efficient.
On the other hand, marketing a pair of brand-new shoes, you could tell your customers that these are a limited edition rather than explaining how these shoes could benefit them.
Hence, B2C highly depends on branding, promotions, and advertising to make sales. B2B marketing demands a more sophisticated approach using education, content and unique selling propositions.
Content is something both B2B and B2C marketers can leverage to generate leads with less friction. The difference, however, lies in the type of content used to attract and nurture the leads.
Value-added content in the form of case studies, e-books, white papers, videos, long-form articles, and infographics are most effective in turning B2B prospects into marketing qualified leads before passing them on to sales.
B2B leads tend to resonate with content that gives them actionable advice and proven tactics or content that helps them understand the value of your product. The more specific the content is to a certain vertical, the more effective.
However, the content you share with your prospects or target market should be in sync with where their heads at in the buyer’s journey.
7. Product Knowledge
B2B marketers face decision-makers who might grill you with questions that need to be dealt with right there and then. This requires marketers to have profound product knowledge and be able to demonstrate it. Otherwise, the risk of losing the prospect is too high.
This is why many B2B sales organizations have Sales Engineers that are able to explain the intricate details and use cases that the prospective buyers may ask about.
In a B2C setting, while product knowledge is crucial, just being able to pique the customer’s interest is often enough to get your foot in the door.
B2C marketers tend to depend more on explicit and implied permission, while B2B marketers engage potential customers with indirect or no permission at all. For instance, email newsletters, sales calls, and casual drop-in at the office are generally fine during business hours in B2B.
In a B2C setting, this is often regarded as an invasion of privacy or something unethical that many consumers frown upon.
9. Customer Relationships
In B2C, the marketing strategy centers on selling the product at the fastest rate possible. This makes the relationships of customers and businesses more on a transactional level.
In B2B, this strategy is not going to fly. B2B marketers have a far more difficult job at establishing customer relationships because the goal is to create long-lasting relationships (repeat and referral business) rather than just one-time deals. Therefore, the sales process is far too involved and, as I mentioned, requires more time and effort.
Now that you have refreshed your memory on the key differences between B2B and B2C lead generation, it’s time to build a robust lead-gen strategy. At the end of the day, it’s a well-built lead generation strategy that’s going to help you easily navigate the complex waters of B2B.
But again, getting a good grasp of your prospect is critical in helping you choose which strategies will work best. This is where B2B and B2C lead generation strategies intersect.
Although some aspects of B2B are becoming very much like B2C, marketing to businesses requires a different approach. Purely mimicking other business’s strategy won’t guarantee you a solid leads database. Inbound marketers must take different methods to maximize the effectiveness of their strategies.
Dustin DeTorres is the CEO of DeTorres Group, a B2B Lead Generation & digital marketing agency that’s been helping B2B companies across the world since 2008. To learn more about Dustin DeTorres, click here.