Is selling to individual customers any different from selling to businesses represented by individuals? Actually, yes. If an end customer has different sales goals, motivation, and deal size, the entire sales cycle is different, too. The B2C and B2B sales processes are similar in general: Leads need to be generated, sales funnels need to be developed, and sales representatives are doing their job using marketing and promotion. As for the details, B2B sales and B2C sales couldn’t be further apart in terms of workflows, strategies, lead generation processes, and skills required from SDRs.
What’s the difference between B2C and B2B sales jobs?
Let’s first clarify the terms. The term business-to-customer (B2C) refers to companies that sell products and services directly to end users. For example, Apple, Amazon, and Netflix use advertising and direct sales to find consumers and sell directly to them via retail outlets or on subscription.
In turn, business-to-business sales (B2B) refers to companies that sell their products and services directly to other businesses. For example, FedEx and Oracle are B2B companies. At that, it is common for many companies to have both B2B and B2C sales, assigning different sales teams for each industry.
Here’s a rundown on different major aspects of sales to individuals and businesses:
Decision-making process. The customer is at the center of each sales process, but as B2B and B2C customers are different, they respond to different approaches. Universally, it is accepted that B2B buyers have rational motivation as there are more decision-makers involved in making a purchasing decision. Contrastingly, individual consumers in B2C selling are more likely to make their buying decisions based on emotions, such as happiness, trust, status, and so on.
Sales cycles. B2C sales involve only individual customers, so their sales cycles are shorter since buying decisions can be made and realized right on the spot. In contrast, B2B sales cycles are longer and have multiple stages as the product is often high-ticket and business requirements are specific.
Lead generation. In both types of sales, marketers use segmentation and targeted messaging. Accessing individual customers via paid ads and social media works for B2B and B2C alike. However, B2C customers are on all social platforms, whereas B2B lead generation works best on LinkedIn.
Relationships. In B2C selling, the vendor-customer relationship is purely transactional. The selling process is more straightforward: Once a customer realizes their need and has money to make a purchase, a transaction happens. Because B2B products are on average more expensive and complex in use, B2B leads need to have personal relationships with sales reps who educate them about the product and help to find solutions to their pain points.
Audience. It is essential to know your audience before you can sell anything to it. In B2C, the market is large-scale. Paid advertising attracts a wide audience, and then marketers target and retarget the most qualified top-of-the-funnel leads. B2B companies often sell niche products and services, so their target audiences are small and focused, which affects their B2B lead generation tactics.
What is a B2B sales rep in charge of? Duties & Responsibilities
In terms of jobs, the B2C sales industry is relatively easy to break into. There are entry-level B2C positions that don’t require previous sales experience or training. On the other hand, B2B sales jobs usually require technical knowledge and specialized education.
In B2B selling, a sales rep can be in charge of the entire B2B lead generation process or some parts of it like email list building, lead nurturing on LinkedIn, appointment setting, and so on.
B2B sales roles include SDRs and BDRs (sales and business development representatives), account executives, lead generators, appointment setters, closers, and the following responsibilities:
- Identifying target accounts and searching business contacts across the board.
- Looking up data on business-to-business leads on social media and using AI tools to personalize outreach.
- Managing cold emailing campaigns to nurture leads.
- Scoring and qualifying leads.
- Scheduling appointments with qualified leads and handing them over to closers.
- Doing demos and handling objections.
- Negotiating and closing deals.
What skills are needed to work in B2B sales?
To work in B2B sales, sales reps need to have skills in three areas. For one, they should know how business-to-business sales and marketing work. Next, they are required to have technical knowledge and expertise in the industry. Finally, advanced communication skills are a must as social interactions are implied in B2B sales.
Technical skills are different for each industry. As for sales skills and soft skills, here are the Top 5 Skills for B2B Sales Roles.
- Research is the Number One skill for SDRs because successful lead generation and lead nurturing are pivoted on the reps’ ability to research leads and find their pain points. To craft an engaging message, SDRs need to look up data on a lead, his or her company, decision-makers and be able to tailor that information to their own value proposition.
- Active listening is essential for B2B sales. Although SDRs need to know a lot and be able to have an intelligent conversation, they also need to be able to listen to what a lead says and hear what they need. B2B selling is not about blurting out your sales pitch in under 1 minute. A successful SDR with high sales rates hears a lead’s unique pain points and comes up with unique value propositions tailored to the problem.
- Speaking and writing skills are required for all SDRs these days. In the post-COVID world, the bulk of business communications occur online in messaging. Salespeople write templates and craft messages all the time.
- Creative thinking is helpful. Even though job descriptions rarely include creative thinking as one of the requirements, those SDRs who can come up with unorthodox solutions are more likely to generate more leads and bring in more deals. From adding a video to your emails to finding a way to approach a top executive, creative thinking is a must.
- Knowing how to use a CRM and relevant software is crucial. SDRs cannot be successful if they fail to use automation and marketing tools in their line of work. All stages of lead generation and sales cycles are managed and monitored in the company’s CRM and sales enablement platforms.
Thinking about a sales role?
If you have skills and experience for a sales role, Belkins is always on the lookout for talent. Let us know your scope of expertise and we’ll see what we can do for you.