What is B2B Marketing?

Upsail team


B2B (“business to business”) is a sale in which both customers and sellers are legal entities.

Unlike B2C, where the buyer purchases the product for himself, in the B2B sector, the company buys the product for further processing and sale to the final consumer. A service (for example, legal advice) improves business performance.

B2B examples

The B2B sales cycle starts with resources and ends with the delivery of the finished product to the end user.

  • Resource providers. Oil, gas, minerals, ore. It is where any production begins.
  • Component suppliers. Raw materials are processed and converted into semi-finished products for further sale. For example, metal sheets, wooden beams, parts for a lathe, and nails. All this is bought in tons by large enterprises.
  • Product suppliers. From hundreds of components, factories assemble finished goods. Machine tools, ships, aircraft, cranes, and large excavators.
  • Users. Finished products are bought by airports, shipping companies, agriculture, construction firms, and manufacturing plants. And they can also work in the B2B sector. For example, to grow wheat, grind it into flour, and sell it to a bakery.

In addition to selling physical goods, B2B also has a developed service industry, which includes advertising and marketing agencies, banks, insurance, law firms, IT companies, and many other types of businesses.

Some companies work exclusively for the B2B market. For example, they produce transformers or parts for lathes.

What is b2b mean and features of B2B Sales

There are different ways to sell a smartphone to a teenager and sell plywood to a manufacturing plant. I will highlight the main features of B2B sales:

  • Long cycle. First, an acquaintance, then a commercial offer, then negotiations, adjustments, and, finally, the conclusion of a contract. All this takes a lot of time and can last for months.
  • Lots of agreements. The more expensive the transaction, the more people participate in it. It is in marketing for B2B that the term decision maker is used – the decision maker. It is the person who decides the outcome of the transaction. Every sales manager wants to hook him.
  • Expensive deals. McDonald’s sells 500,000 burgers for $3. But a manufacturer of CNC machines will sell only 20 of their products and get the same amount.
  • The priority of rationality. In B2C sales, a person may purchase under the influence of strong emotion or for an instant solution to a problem. In B2B, the main goal of buying is to get the maximum profit at the minimum cost. All decisions are balanced and consistent.
  • Not sales, but a partnership. To sell and forget is a so-so principle for the B2B segment. The vast majority of companies strive for long-term cooperation. Regular partners mean regular profit.

Stages of B2B sales

In the classical approach, there are 5 main stages of B2B marketing:

  • Establishing contact. An acquaintance at a professional exhibition, a cold call from a manager, a meeting. The purpose of this stage is to be interested and motivated to continue communication.
  • Identification of needs. At this stage, the manager who negotiates plays the key role. He needs to determine the decision maker, understand the criteria for making a decision and find out what is essential for the buyer: price, terms, ease of paperwork, or technical characteristics.
  • Presentation. Considering the revealed facts (this is important), the manager presents the product. At the same time, it covers the client’s needs as much as possible and describes the offer in the language of benefits.
  • Handling objections. One of the most challenging sales stages. The customer does not always voice his doubts aloud. The manager’s task is to identify them, provide the necessary information, and give examples of successful contracts or cases.
  • Coordination and bidding. At this stage, heads of sales, purchasing, or senior management are often involved in the deal. They must decide on the price and conditions and reach a compromise with the client.
  • Important: all these stages are mixed. On each of them, long waits are possible. It takes a lot of time to get a review from the manager, to wait for the consideration of a commercial offer, or the end of the vacation of one of the decision-makers.

Therefore, you need to control all stages of the transaction. Sellers should regularly remind themselves, make follow-up calls or send out emails. To do this, the company implements CRM systems. They provide transparency in the sales department’s work and help analyze managers’ effectiveness.

The specifics of promotion in the B2B market

B2B actively uses several promotion channels:

  • Event-events. Large companies regularly participate comfortably in professional exhibitions, conferences, and business missions (collective trips abroad to negotiate with potential buyers). There they demonstrate products and samples of goods and find partners for many years.
  • Contextual advertising. Companies use contextual advertising to find the right audience and demonstrate their offer to decision-makers.
  • Trade representatives. Company employees communicate directly with partners, present products, and sell them. They go to the client and work on the ground.
  • Websites and landings. The company always has at least one official website. He presents the product and collects contacts of potential customers using the subscription form. And then the commercial and marketing departments are included in the work.
  • Email marketing. One of the key sales channels in B 2 B. It helps companies to remind themselves, inform about promotional offers, send trigger mailings, and strengthen audience loyalty with the help of useful emails.
  • Telemarketing. This is a cold call to potential customers based on a ready-made database. Labor intensive and routine. But this is how most young companies find partners.
  • Commercial tenders. This is competitive bidding. Companies place large orders for goods or services and negotiate the conditions they are ready to work. Contractors submit bids and compete to pick up the order.

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