What is the difference between B2C and B2B lead generation? 

Getting to the stage where you place your product or service in front of the right audience is key to successful selling. Developing strong business lead generation services is the start of that process. You will first create a content marketing funnel to define and adapt to that target audience. First there are questions to ask:

  • What do you want to accomplish, how will you get there and how long will it take?
  • Who is the audience you need to target?

Know which type of lead generation your business requires:

  • B2C lead generation caters to business to the customer: Selling directly to a consumer. Focussed on serving individuals.
  • B2B lead generation caters to business to business: Selling to other organizations and corporations. Focussed on serving other businesses.

The lead generation end-goal is the same

Although they are essentially two animals of the same species, there are fundamental similarities and marked differences between B2C and B2B lead generation. After all, the target audiences are both customers, right? The end goal is also the same — to continually improve and successfully implement the sourcing of new business, and make a profit. They share many of the same behavioral best practices.

Let’s take a look at both types of lead generation, and the different approaches required. This may help you to avoid costly mistakes in developing your successful lead generation strategy, especially if you are considering a move into a new market.

The length of the B2C versus B2B sales cycle

Most will agree that the length of the sales cycle is the obvious difference between B2C and B2B lead generation.

B2C sales cycles tend to be short, to the point, and straightforward. The customer knows what they want and how much they have to spend. And if you can provide it then it’s just a matter of showing them why you are better than the closest competition. Working correctly, the customer sees your product, reads some reviews and engages with your B2C lead generation content and then will be confident enough and sufficiently swayed to buy your product. 

With B2B lead generation, the stakes are higher and the cycle itself is longer. It takes on average 12 points of contact to turn a prospect into a sales-qualified lead (SQL) and you may need to hand-hold every step of that journey. Your lead generation marketing team will nurture each lead until they reach a sales qualified status. Scaling into new European markets require that stage to be handled via multichannel lead generation in the local language. Communicate the right message to the right culture and create a localized campaign for your new foreign market. It all takes time to build that strategy and get it right. Don’t waste it cold-calling to launch your technical product or service, especially in new and unexplored territory. A smart move for this crucial stage of the sales cycle is to use an outsourced sales agency. Work together to tailor your business message and cadence from identifying your ideal customer right through to that vital multi channel approach. If your business is SaaS, for example, it’s vital you get this right, before the crucial and often lengthy sales cycle, with all the boxes already ticked on all the touchpoints from sales and marketing, as advised by our partners, Hubspot. You don’t want to waste time creating a localized campaign for a foreign market where you know nobody. Allow a local lead gen and inside sales team to get you in front of doors where you can close deals fast.

Lead generation that knows what the customer wants (before they do).

B2C lead generation starts with targeting the customers who know what they want and have the budget to buy. It’s often desire-driven buying, dictated by what’s trending, or what someone else has. The must-have factor. Customers want that product and are ready to sign up. B2C lead generation might include freebies or special offers to draw prospective customers to landing pages, ready to be converted quickly to closed sales. 

B2B lead generation is rooted in finding SQLs and thereby solution-selling by your international sales representatives. First lead generation will ask the questions, and discover what issues a prospect currently has. Then your sales representatives offer a solution to those issues, and demonstrate why your product or service is a better fit for the customer and their business. Better than perhaps others they have considered.

But, the prospect may not yet be aware of their problem, so a good B2B lead generation strategy will endeavor to create high-quality content to encourage the prospect to look within and examine their own business and identify where it needs improvement. Essentially, where it lacks the product or service you can supply.

Broad market versus narrow market

A B2C market can be broad and diverse. All interested customers will have purchasing power and usually a one-on-one conversation between the sales representative and the customer is enough to seal a deal, once the lead generation team has sourced and supplied good SQLs. That’s not to say it’s easy. The broader market is also more likely to be oversaturated, so only the best B2C lead generation strategies will be noticed.

However, the B2B market is much more narrow. To start, you don’t have the advantage of casting the same wide net as B2C. You may have to approach an entire network of names within an organization in order to obtain the one with purchasing power. That’s after a business relationship is carefully crafted and built upon. Trust is gained (and is more easily granted in a foreign market when the process is handled by locals, speaking to locals). Once that is accomplished, further relationships are cemented, and a purchase decision is made because they trust your advice, your judgment and your product or service. You are selling them your brand and building on your reputation, so it’s not going to come overnight. B2B is a much more personalized experience than B2C, here you are really tailoring your service to match the needs of a customer, and being prepared to go with the flow of any changes that need to be incorporated during a deal, something that also can add to the length of the whole cycle.

A simple or complex lead generation strategy

The difference between B2B and B2C lead generation is very much the difference between a quick fling and a longer, more serious relationship! Essentially, B2C businesses focus on short term relationships with their customers, and the emphasis will always be on product promotion and smart, attractive advertising, and so their lead generation strategies will follow suit.

However, B2B business is built on a solid foundation of brand and trust, due to the reasons we already mentioned so it’s all planned and logical approach, making the marketing and lead generation strategy more complex, supplying insights across multiple vertical markets, and ready to hand the baton to your international sales representatives.

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