Understanding B2B Interaction: Who is the B2B Buyer?
B2B & B2C: They’re Different
The way in which businesses interact with each other is fundamentally different from the way in which businesses interact with consumers. The B2B process is essentially one business selling a product or service to another business, as opposed to an individual consumer. This difference in the target audience is what separates B2B businesses from B2C businesses. It is not always easy to identify exactly who the B2B buyer is. Is it the manager? Is it an analyst? Is it a panel of people? The answer is it can be any of these depending on the size and type of company, and it may vary from purchase to purchase. Despite this unique range of customers, B2B buyers have the same objective: To purchase a product or service that will benefit their company.
This is a much more emotional and careful process than a B2C transaction largely due to the fact that the entire organization can be affected by the decision. Companies may generate tremendous profits or losses depending on the B2B purchases they make, but a consumer that buys an MP3 player does not feel that kind of pressure. Therefore, the B2B process often involves presentations, careful consideration by decision makers, and contracts to ensure the right decision is made. There is an important relationship established between two businesses during this process. One could even say that this relationship is the B2B process.
Because B2B transactions have so much more at stake, and can affect an entire company organization, these purchases typically take much longer and are more carefully researched than a B2C purchase. However, B2B buyers are equipping themselves with information to make faster and smarter decisions than they did before the introduction of the internet. The relationships made in the B2B world are now taking place on blogs, through email, and on social media sites.
These new modes of communication allow B2B decision makers to have a more complete picture before making big decisions. With access to online content and social media sites, B2B customers are able to make the best informed decisions in a shorter amount of time.
The new B2B buyer is fundamentally the same as a B2B buyer from 30 years ago, but they are better informed and can make more relationships more quickly with other businesses online. With the rapid advancement in technology, it is important to recognize that the B2B buyer is evolving. Therefore, the strategies used by B2B firms must continue to mark the moving target that is the B2B buyer.