Just a decade ago, not a lot of people aspired to have a career in sales. Our mental image of a sales professional is a cutthroat, sweaty, fast-talking person–someone who uses trickery and smooth-talking to close a sale.
Today, more than three billion people are connected to the Internet. Globally, there’s a growing emphasis on value-based sales–and more people are looking into selling as a career. Search terms like ‘What is B2C?’, ‘What is CRM?’, and dozens of other questions flood Google each day.
The confusion stops with this post–you will know what B2C is, and why understanding it matters to sales professionals. Familiarizing yourself with B2C–and its difference from B2B–is vital to your career success.Ready? Let’s start.
In a nutshell: What is B2C?
B2C stands for business-to-consumer.
Investopedia defines B2C as “businesses or transactions conducted directly between a company and consumers who are the end-users of its products or services.”
To understand B2C thoroughly, it’s imperative to contrast it with B2B or business-to-business. Simply, B2B transactions are done between two businesses while B2C refers to transactions between businesses and end consumers.Where B2B offers services for other businesses to improve their operations, B2C directly addresses consumer needs through their products.
Sandeep Krishnamurthy’s piece published by Inc.com and Wikipedia divides the B2C space into five categories:
What is B2C Sales?
In the B2C sales model, businesses prospect and sell to individual consumers. B2C companies and sales professionals sell goods like dining options, cars, and other consumer-facing commodities.
B2C vs B2B: Key differences in the sales process
B2C sales is fast and consists of a few targeted touches and a continuous presence. B2B sales is a more long-drawn sales process which can take several months to years of presence, lead nurturing and engagement.In the B2C space, there is an emphasis on making all transactions as fast as possible.
Although the same can be said for B2B companies, the nature of products and prospects don’t always call for fast transactions. In fact, taking their time throughout the sales funnel can deliver bigger contracts for B2B sales professionals.
- Decision Makers
B2C sales decisions are usually made by one or two people. A whole company department, often in tandem with consultants, can be involved in making decisions regarding a B2B product purchase.
B2C sales cast a wide net in attracting and qualifying leads, whereas it is imperative for B2B sales professionals to laser-target sales prospecting and lead qualification.In terms of where they source and generate their leads, B2B and B2C companies intersect on many platforms.
HubSpot reports that 41% of B2B companies and 67% of B2C companies have acquired a customer through social media site Facebook.
- Price point
The price points of B2C goods are relatively lower that those of B2B products. B2B sales can reach millions of dollars and are usually executed by long contracts.Still, B2C sales take a huge chunk of the whole sales block.
According to eMarketer, global B2C eCommerce sales were pegged as high as $15 trillion, with this steady growth primarily driven by emerging markets like Asia Pacific.
- Variety of Offers and Buying Process
B2C transactions are clearly spelled-out and straightforward. Product offers are usually mass produced, hence uniform in character. B2B offers are highly customizable and the nature of the buying process is complex and case-to-case.
Case Study: Coca-Cola
Banking on Emotion in B2C Sales & Marketing
For B2C goods like food, homes, and cars, it’s not so much what can it do for me, but more about how does it make me feel.This is why emotion-driven and emotion-triggering marketing campaigns run rampant in the B2C space.
From social media to TV network ad spots, marketing and advertising decision-makers are spending more of their budgets toward campaigns that bank on this attribute.
Dr. Peter Noel Murray of Psychology Today’s Inside the Consumer Mind went as far as stating, “Emotions are the primary reason why consumers prefer brand name products. After all, many of the products we buy are available as generic and store brands with the same ingredients and at cheaper prices. Why do we decide to pay more for brand name products?”
Yes, these efforts and resources are not spent in vain. B2C giant Coca-Cola is the biggest global spender in terms of marketing. Ad Age Datacenter reports that in 2013, the company spent $3.3 billion on advertising, globally. Company CEO Muhtar Kent said that they will increase their media spending and brand-building initiative by around $1 billion by next year.
Most of Coca-Cola’s resources are spent in the creation and promotion of campaigns that seek to spark certain emotions, far removed from their product: a hyper-sweet caffeinated beverage long criticized for its ill effects on health.Coca-Cola sits comfortably as the third best and most successful global brand, behind tech giants Apple and Google.
Skills for B2C sales professionals
B2C sales professionals target vast and diverse markets–anyone can be a customer. It’s very difficult to collect a set of behaviors and features that is unique to a prospect, lest you risk slicing your market. It’s imperative for a sales professional in B2C to be able to turn issues and problems into opportunities.
As with any sales position, all jobs under B2C sales requires great communication skills, the ability to take criticism and rejection, strong multitasking skills, being results-oriented, and a natural inclination to mingling with people.
An Aspiring Minds study revealed, “English communication skills combined with conscientiousness and extraversion show the strongest correlation to the success of (sales) professionals.”
With Google’s push toward helping small local businesses get their operations online, the playing field for B2C inside sales professionals is expanding at a good pace.
Getting thoroughly familiar with B2C and the processes in this space is crucial to sales success. In future posts, we will take on more in-depth topics within B2C and B2B. For now, we have a ton of helpful information on the Callanize Inside Sales blog–from tips and skill-building guides to opinion pieces on the trends and issues in inside sales.
Now, we want to ask you–where do your strengths lie? In B2C or B2B?
Let’s talk about it in the comments below!