How is selling something to consumers different from selling something to a company? In both cases it’s about human beings making buying decisions, right?
There are differences for sure, but in practice they tend to get a bit blurred. Take, for example, a company selling a software solution for more cost-effective advertising to car dealers.
The product itself is definitely b2c: The ads are clearly aimed at regular car buyers. Even company cars can be b2c, like when employees are allowed to choose between two or more alternative car brands offered by the employer.
So, each employee can choose a certain car brand, either based on emotional factors like design, speed and acceleration; or rational factors like trunk space, CO2 emissions, reliability or safety. Or (in some countries) personal taxation of the benefit of driving a company car.
The advertising solution is as definitely b2b. Unlike in b2c, a professional buyer is expected to have 100% rational economic motivations (theoretically). Otherwise, he or she is economically disloyal to top management, the Board, and the shareholders, right? That also goes for NOT buying a product proven to increase revenues, or reduce costs or risk.
For the dealer considering an ad management solution, it’s not only about software functions and features. The knowledge, services and attitudes of the service provider are at least as important. Any lack of sensitivity, competence, reliability, accessibility, or transparency from the service provider can cost the dealer dearly. Even more so with sneaky lock-in clauses.
What about the decision-making? Ordering the car, the employee is hopefully in the driver’s seat, even though a spouse or children may apply some pressure. Ordering a solution for cost-effective advertising, people in various functions are rightly influencing the buying decision: Sales, Marketing, Digital or Business development have different reasons to say Yes!
A mutually rewarding partnership also involves close interaction at several levels, and continues to evolve over many years. Some people argue that this is the greatest difference of all, and the #1 success factor. What would an ingenious ad solution be without a formidable team of Customer Success Managers?
Two Simple Questions
Ultimately this boils down to two simple questions:
- How can I as a Marketing, Sales or Digital Manager make sure that my car ads and showroom are more attractive, engaging, and informative than those of my competitors? (A B2C issue.)
- How can I as a Marketing, Sales Manager apply the most cost-effective solution for the production, management, and publishing of the ads? For all cars in stock? (A B2B issue.)
The answer to both questions is here