What’s the Difference Between a B2C and B2B Customer?


Gallup research showed that almost 70% of business to business (B2B) customers were totally disengaged with their vendors.

The problem arises when the vendors forget that they are dealing with individuals; instead, they treat their customer as one impersonal enterprise unit. I have seen sales professionals pitch from their marketing approved slide deck to a company without first discovering the individual roles and preferences of the decision-making unit receiving the presentation. Then they wonder why their seemingly perfect product solution did not make the shortlist.

In the business to consumer (B2C) world, we know the customer has personal preferences and decides to advance with research or purchase. We are talking about the customer is a real individual person.

Granted in the B2B world, the decision is more complicated but much of the complexity is embedded in with individual preferences. There is never one decision that is begin evaluated but hundreds of very personal choices. Just think how many colours there are in a rainbow and then add to the mix the tones and finishes, this is the variable quality of a unit of people bent on solving one problem.

A B2B customer’s decision-making unit comprises of individual roles described as a buyer, an influencer, a decision-maker, a specifier, a user, a gatekeeper and an initiator. Within the customer company, some may hold more than one role, however, the individual has the responsibility to fulfil their specific preferences and criteria for advancing their decision to purchase.

How to Change you Approach and Engage B2B Customers

The discovery process may start with the buying company problem and criteria for fulfilling the customer’s customer need, but it does not end there. As much time, if not more, must be devoted to the individual roles and personalities. After all, it is not the customer’s customer who makes the decision to purchase or even the company. It is a unit of individuals within the customer company, that have particular preferences and a need to advance their decision to purchase the best solution.

Just like in a customer company, a vendor has many sales roles from sales development rep (SDR), business development rep (BDR), account executive (AE), sales rep, sales manager, and sales executives, and all have a different perspective of their customer role.

The common denominator where B2B or B2C is to solve the customer’s problem and to secure a sale. A buyer, whether B2B or B2C, wants to buy, and conversely, a seller or vendor wants to sell the product that solves the customer problem. It seems that we are in perfect symmetry!

If B2C is product-focused rather than customer-focused, they are fast becoming dinosaurs. Similarly, if B2B is focused on the monolithic enterprise customer, this means they do not understand the customer as individual personalities and likely focused on selling rather than concentrate on the buying process and psychology of the individual buyer.

B2B can learn a lot from B2C about personalising relationship, and it starts with.

  • Treating the decision-making unit as independent individuals.
  • Personalising the approach to individual preferences.
  • Understanding everyone has a different perspective on solving one problem.

Many companies in tech such as Google, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon, now operate in both the B2B and the B2C world. Although operating in both B2C to B2B is nothing new, if you think of the wholesaler Costco, many others traditional B2B sales models like Alibaba are offering direct to market and some like Amazon Business going the other way. The evidence is that where once there was clear ground between B2B and B2C, the differences are now less defined.

Treating the buyer as an individual with a unique personality and set of preferences,   whether B2B or B2C is the responsibility of every seller and vendor.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

About Us

We help you grow key customers and accelerate your results through the rough, via online and offline consulting and masterclasses, based on modern thinking, process change, and social and customer-focused techniques

Let’s Socialize

Scale Your Sales Janice B Gordon

Related Posts

Why Frictionless Selling Sells

0 (0) As promised in the previous article, let’s discuss the 4-step strategy for the frictionless selling process in more detail. What is your intention when you step into a sales conversation? Is it to hit your quota or

Scale Your Sales with Frictionless Selling

0 (0) I recently keynoted at a conference presenting: How to Scale Your Sales with Frictionless Selling. Scale Your Sales with Frictionless Selling is an approach that removes barriers to buyers’ buying. In a complex world, your ability

What Buyers’ Want from Sales Innovation Suppliers

0 (0) The global pandemic shift towards a digital business landscape has accelerated rapidly, from business face to face to digital platforms, we review what buyers want from sellers and how some suppliers are adapting. The Sales Innovation