Business to Business (B-2-B) Sales are Different
When we think of “sales”, we usually think of products moving from the manufacturer to the consumer. But before a consumer can buy the finished product many products move from one business to another with each business adding another piece to the puzzle. In business to business marketing, both the buyer and seller within the equation are companies rather than individuals. Sales will typically hinge on bottom line considerations rather than on a fleeting desire for a product like an individual consumer might have. Here are some factors that make up business to business marketing.
In B2B Goods and Services Are Still Exchanged
Just like in traditional marketing, the end goal of business to business marketing is to sell some kind of good or service. Examples of business to business marketing might include selling raw materials to a manufacturing company or even paper sales to a book publishing company. In both examples, every part of the equation is a business or organization. However, there is still a need to be met and an item or service that is bought or sold.
In Business to Business Sales Cycles are Extended
When a product like a pair of jeans or a new car is sold to a consumer, the cycle typically ends after the purchase. With business to business marketing, however, the cycle is much longer. Sales may be in monthly installments and the relationships that are formed may last years. If you are selling cotton to a clothing manufacturer, for example, your sales will not be a onetime deal. Instead, you will sell large amounts more often in order to provide the company with the materials they need to constantly produce items.
Business Sales Are All About the Numbers
Advertising to a private consumer might pull on the heartstrings or use expensive commercials and advertisements to attract attention. In business to business marketing, the process is much more based on the bottom line. Companies need to make calculated decisions about their supply chains that can provide them with income and that will make their products and services profitable for themselves. Although marketing is still important, the bottom line will be a key factor.
Other Considerations for a Business to Business Sales
In addition to price, a major consideration for business buyers is reliability of supply. If a supplier can’t meet the demand in a reliable, timely fashion it could cause an entire manufacturing facility to come to a screeching halt, costing thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost production, so reliability can actually be more important than saving a few pennies on the cost. Other key factors are quality. If a business is looking to build a quality product it has to have quality components to work with. Thus quality is a prime consideration for buyers. And finally customer service, if a business has to work with a supplier on a regular basis and all other factors are equal, they will choose the one that is easier to work with, friendlier, provides better terms, etc.
B2B – Different Advertising Venues
Typically, advertisements for a finished product for a consumer might include television spots, billboards or magazine spreads. Advertising or marketing to a business, however, involves very different techniques. A large portion of business to business marketing is done over the internet and includes social media, white-papers, Internet searches and more. Expos, fairs and manufacturer organizations also play a large role in business to business marketing.
Understanding the Business Supply Chain
The supply chain is the term for the movement of raw materials and labor into the final product. For a T-shirt, the supply chain might start with the designs, the raw cotton materials, the thread, the factory manufacture, the wholesalers and finally the individual retailers. Understanding where your business exists on the supply chain is vital for business to business marketing.
Business to business marketing is an important part of the manufacture process. Before items can ever be advertised to individual consumers, they need to be make their way through every step of the supply chain.
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Frank Portman writes for several business and education blogs. If you’re interested in business and management, several schools offer MBA’s degree programs, including Ohio U and University of North Carolina.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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