Of the various CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software solutions available, a majority are built for B2B (business-to-business) communications. A simple Google search will return page after page of these solutions, while only a few B2C (business-to-consumer) CRM vendors sneak their way in.
The two systems are very different, and one size does not fit all. This is primarily because B2B and B2C marketing and sales environments operate very differently, so it only makes sense that the same software will not work for both. Let’s look at some of the key differences:
B2B Marketing & Sales
- Smaller contact database. Due to a small database of prospects and customers, there’s a natural emphasis on the individual. Contact databases in a B2B environment are more focused on the relationship-building process, where a major emphasis can be placed on the product without the rush, need to run daily specials, etc.
- Smaller number of sales (usually higher priced). Generally, it is a one-time purchase of a product, with customer service playing a big role. If a relationship is built, continued sales over time may occur.
- Personalized email marketing. Email is heavily utilized but on a much more personalized level. Email marketing tools are utilized to ensure marketing campaigns are clear, concise, and influential to each prospect or customer.
- Longer sales time (months, years). Most of the time it is a long sales cycle, where there are multiple stages and periods where other options are eliminated. Documents such as RFPs, RFIs, or RFQs are utilized to pinpoint the most appropriate product or business partner.
- Fewer leads and fewer potential customers. Leads are fewer, and staying with them throughout the process is critical. Because each lead is so valuable, spending more time on each is common.
- Higher sale value/costs. Given the time spent evaluating and the overall impact and general scope of the products, costs vary greatly, but will almost always be costly. Products costing millions of dollars are not uncommon.
- Sales are a business decision. Sales is considered a business decision, and one that’s reviewed and processes numerous times over by multiple levels of a business or organization. More decision makers are involved in B2B due to the scope of the product.
- More customized product. A big impact product that needs to be purchased with thought and analysis. A poor decision can have a negative impact on the business. In addition, each product is significantly different and unique.
- More complex, long-term relationships/sales. Building the relationship with the salesperson is critical. People buy from people, and this is no more evident than in a B2B sales scenario. Relationships are depended upon to sell B2B products.
B2C Marketing & Sales
- Larger contact database. Large number of prospects and customers, with an emphasis on results-driven email marketing campaigns. B2C sales more typically rely on timing, specials, strategic marketing campaigns, etc.
- Larger number of sales (usually lower priced). A consumer can make multiple purchases of the same item so the amount of repeat business and need to continue to sell is important. Customer service isn’t as big an issue, but still plays a role.
- Grand-scale email blasts. Email is heavily utilized, but on a grander scale. Large email marketing campaigns segmented by locations is common, and sales directly related to a mass email can be used as a KPI.
- Faster sales time (days, weeks, months). Often a quick purchase decision, varying between a matter of seconds to days. It depends on availability, timing for specials, and opportunity. Resources utilized aren’t as robust or in-depth.
- Less decision makers, less relationships. There is almost no relationship because the focus is on the product. A quick decision is generally made without consulting with others. However, when relationships do occur, they can be powerful.
- More leads and more potential customers. An abundance of leads in the B2C space. Besides handling the scope of leads, the issue is finding the right time to influence the decision and complete the sale.
- Lower sale value/costs. Given the less complex nature and quicker cycle, the products are usually more affordable. Could be a 50-cent candy bar or a $1000 TV.
- Sales can be emotional and impulsive. Sales can be made based on emotions or “in the moment” decision-making by an individual rather than multiple levels or hierarchies in a company.
- More uniform product. A less complex product which individuals can purchase on a whim with no severe consequences. Products are more uniform from business to business as compared to B2B.
Now that we’ve clarified some basic differentiators in how the two business environments operate, here are some of the important differences in terms of what they demand and expect a CRM solution to provide:
B2B CRM Software
- Built for long-term management of a potential customer. Built to better track contacts/companies, stages, and representatives. Data is focused on quality, and honing in on sales that are more likely to close. The goal is to automate the sales process and close deals one by one.
- Stronger emphasis on automation of the sales process. Sales automation is crucial to save time and help sales reps in handling all contacts and leads without losing data, conversations, historical data, etc.
- Emphasis on forecasting on customer behavior based of buying history, bills, business success, etc.. Future sales are looked at piece by piece, and each contact or company is evaluated to determine their likelihood of closing. Nothing is assumed or guaranteed. Focus is on customer behavior and financial readiness.
- More visibility for users to see status at any stage in sales process. There can be many different stages in the sales process. Some common ones include: consumer, suspect, prospect, near close, and customer. Knowing exactly which stage they are in and at what point they will progress to the next becomes a big factor in communications.
- Better integration with other company software. Integration with email is important, but other solutions like accounting, shipping, and other industry software is critical as well. B2B products must be flexible and built with integrations in mind.
B2C CRM Software
- Built for long term consistent sales through various marketing activities. The focus here is on keeping the data updated with new consumers to keep the numbers where they need to be to get results. Consistent sales year after year is the focus.
- Capability to manage a higher amount of leads and contacts. Built to manage a lot of data to maximize the impact of email marketing and website lead generation. Organizing a lot of contacts and companies is critical to better manage communications and stages. The goal is long term, consistent sales and developing brand ambassadors.
- Emphasis on big picture projections and updating large amounts of data within the system, fast. Projections are built to look at the big picture and focus on pure numbers. This is pulled from large amounts of data and analyzed from there. Focus is on buying history, statistics, and timeliness.
- Fewer sales stages to manage. Often there are two or less stages: customer or consumer, prospect or buyer. Due to the sheer volume of consumers, there is not much tracking desired for other categories.
- Stronger emphasis on keeping all data organized and managing specific parts of sales process. A lot of moving numbers and figures, which means managing and keeping track of large quantities of data is a must. Specific sales processes are segmented and emphasized more than others and need to be tracked closely.
No matter what business environment you’re working in, there’s almost always a need and a benefit to the utilization of Customer Relationship Management software. To learn more about the B2B and B2C-customized CRM solutions provided by OnContact, contact us today.