B2B Buyers are People Too

If you do a quick Google search for “B2B vs B2C marketing,” you’ll see a list of results detailing the overarching differences between the two. But it’s important to remember that, at its core, B2B buyers are similar to B2C buyers in a few key ways.

Buyers are looking to solve a problem.

Whether it’s a pair of shoes or a new ERP system, people make purchases based on whether that product or service is going to make their life better, easier, and more productive. Every person is presented with a colossal amount of brand messaging each day, both at home and at work. In reality, that messaging is filtered through a lens of “what’s in it for me?” Just like Hello Fresh marketing promises the satisfaction of a home-cooked meal without all the shopping and prep work, a B2B brand should be explicit about what they do and how it is going to make that team or organization work better.

Buyers want to feel understood

Taking that a step further, it’s not enough to talk about how a product or service can make life easier in vague, general terms like “better” or “faster.” People feel good and are more likely to listen to your pitch when they feel like you understand their specific needs and challenges. We all want to work with companies who demonstrate specific knowledge of our situation, whether that’s as a parent of a young kid or an equipment manufacturer with tens or hundreds of millions in annual sales. When a potential customer stops by your booth during a trade show, visits your website, or sees your ad in a publication, they want to feel understood and that you know what they’re up against and how you can help.

Buyers want to look good to peers and superiors.

Reading through LinkedIn thought leadership posts, marketing experts will trumpet the importance of “emotional connection” with B2C customers. Often, people won’t want simply to buy something; they want to feel good about what they buy and gain approval from those around them. Buying a Diet Coke, a pair of Nike sneakers, or an iPad Air are all purchases influenced by the question “What does this say about me as a person? Is this how I want people to see me?”

B2B buyers also feel pressure to look good to their colleagues and superiors. The decision-makers in a B2B buying process often report to others within their company, whether that’s C-Suite folks or a board of directors. When they make decisions, they do so partially on what will get the stamp of approval from those around them. If your company can help make them look good, it’s a win-win situation.

Buyers want an easy transaction experience

Ask any regular consumer about the annoying parts of a transaction, and they will inevitably bring up unnecessary roadblocks that stand between them and getting the thing they want. For example: does anyone actually like having to create a whole new username and password just to buy a rug or order takeout? Marketers have taken to calling these roadblocks “friction.”

B2B buyers dislike friction as much as anyone else. If your team is hard to contact, slow to respond or gives inaccurate information, that causes friction for the potential customer. At best, they might buy from you once but never again. At worst, they’ll walk away and spread the word that your company is difficult to work with. It’s more important than ever to take a close look at your marketing and sales processes to identify any potential slowdowns that could affect your ability to nurture sales and relationships.

Keep these points in mind when you’re deciding on who your audience is and what your message is. By recognizing the common needs of all buyers, you can be more successful in reaching them no matter who they are.

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Last edited: 1/5/2023

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