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B2B vs. B2C: How Business Marketing Differs from Consumer Marketing

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  • 0:05 Key Differences in…
  • 0:29 Individual Roles of…
  • 2:19 Evaluative Criteria
  • 3:41 Buying Situations
  • 4:50 Business Ethics
  • 5:07 Customer Service
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jennifer Lombardo
A business-to-business sales situation has numerous key differences from a business-to-consumer situation. Marketing managers must develop a business selling strategy and be aware of the five different aspects of business buying behavior compared to consumer buying.

Key Differences in Business Marketing

Business-to-business selling is not the same as business-to-consumer selling due to several factors. In this lesson, we'll discuss how marketing managers need to develop a different type of sales strategy for their business customers. In addition, you'll learn why managers need to be aware of business buying behavior, including buying centers, evaluative criteria, buying situations, business ethics, and customer service.

First Difference - Individual Roles of Buying Center

The Charter Fishing Company sells fish products to local restaurants. Today, the Charter Fishing Company (the business seller) is making a sale to La Snobbery restaurant (the business consumer). There can be difficult individuals in the buying center at La Snobbery who the Charter Fishing Company must be aware of and communicate with during their sales pitch.

The initiator is the person at the restaurant who first mentions that fish needs purchasing for the menu. The influencer or evaluator is the individual or individuals who help define what type of fish is needed or the quality of the food. In this case, La Snobbery's owner's wife is the influencer.

The gatekeepers are people who regulate information. Sometimes the gatekeepers are the most difficult for sales people to deal with. The gatekeepers are used to keep out those businesses that are unwanted. Most companies utilize secretaries or front desks as gatekeepers. In our example, the La Snobbery restaurant owner might use secretaries or even office managers to set appointments with businesses.

The last three members of the buying center are the decider, purchaser, and user. The decider has the power to choose which supplier to use. For our upscale La Snobbery restaurant, the decider is the owner, who will decide whether to purchase salmon, mahi-mahi, and other fish from the Charter Fishing Company.

Once a decision is made, the purchaser (the La Snobbery owner's wife), will discuss pricing and terms with the Charter Fishing Company. Lastly, the user of the product can help with some input and further repeat purchases by offering feedback. La Snobbery's fabulous Chef Toto would be considered the user. He has heard great things about Charter's fresh fish and did put in positive words with the owner.

Second Difference - Evaluative Criteria

The evaluative criteria businesses use in the sales decision-making process
Business Evaluative Criteria

A business sales team must be aware of the evaluative criteria involved with making a business purchase decision. In most business sales situations, the decision-making criteria is based on quality, service, and price. Quality's definition in a business purchase decision or situation refers to the technical aspect, the reputation of the sales department/personnel, and dependability. Charter Fishing Company has an excellent reputation (as even La Snobbery's chef recommended them), and many other businesses are also clamoring for their high-quality fish.

Excellent service is also a required component of a business transaction. Customers want sales reps who are trained and knowledgeable in the products they are selling, follow up after the sale, and offer excellent sales support. Charter Fishing Company has a 24-hour hotline to provide around-the-clock orders and support. Their sales team also offers flexible payment plans and a vast selection of quality seafood products.

The least important factor is price. Of course, a business consumer always wants to purchase at the lowest price possible, but they also don't want to pressure their business sellers. The Charter Fishing Company does not offer competitive pricing, but due to limited supply and increasing demand, the company is not at the mercy of the local restaurants.

Third Difference - Buying Situations

Not all buying situations are first-time occurrences. There are actually three types of buying situations that can occur. A new buy is a situation requiring the purchase of a product for the very first time. In this type of buying situation, it is important for the business seller to provide a competitive argument to use their product line and a ton of information to help the business owner make an educated decision. A new restaurant would need to conduct extensive research before choosing their supplier.

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