What Is B2B Sales?

Jul 27, 2022 | Blog, Lead Management

B2B Sales
Business text is full of acronyms, abbreviations, and quite honestly, jargon. We want to help you cut through the clutter and make sense of it all, starting with the fundamentals.

What Is B2B Sales?

Business-to-business (B2B) companies sell their products and services to other companies rather than individual customers. Under this economic model, B2B sales are the transactions between two businesses. Think about wholesalers that sell products to big box retailers or manufacturers that create and sell parts to automakers. The retailer and the car dealership ultimately sell the products to the customers, but those products would not be available without the B2B marketplace.

B2B vs B2C Sales

In B2B sales, the customer is another business enterprise. You might be selling to businesses that ultimately sell to individual customers, which defines the B2C (business-to-consumer) economic model, or to other B2B businesses. One of the greatest differences between the two sales disciplines is the customer. In the B2B market, sellers are interfacing with professional buyers, senior executives, and corporate entities at scale. They are not interacting with the customer on an individual level.

For example, a grocery store requires numerous B2B transactions before they sell products to their customers (B2C). Not only does a grocery retailer need to order all of their produce and products from a food wholesaler, but they need to have cash registers, barcode scanners, inventory databases, storage facilities—and the list goes on. In order to create the infrastructure for their business, a grocery store interfaces with dozens of B2B Sales teams, from software solutions to supply chain vendors.

While B2B sellers absolutely need to understand the end user, they are ultimately responsible for understanding their B2C customers and how their businesses serve individual customers.

B2B Sales Examples

We touched on grocery store operations as an example of wholesale, but let’s dive into a few other sectors and how B2B sales shape their businesses.

  • SaaS –
    Software as a Service (SaaS) has grown exponentially with the digitization of commerce. SaaS companies are businesses that sell software and digital services to businesses seeking to streamline internal and external communications, sales touch points, customer service, marketing efforts, and the like—just about every component of the supply chain is supported by SaaS enterprises. Automation and customer engagement are just a few examples of ways that SaaS companies maximize leads and move customers down the sales funnel.
  • Supplies –
    Supply companies sell goods that support other businesses. This includes items like consumable goods, equipment, employee uniforms, office supplies, and beyond. Suppliers maintain a curated inventory and sell large quantities of goods to businesses as opposed to individual customers. Instead of selling a local mom-and-pop shop a dozen reams of printer paper, a paper supply company will sell reams in bulk to larger enterprises that use a lot of paper (i.e. academic institutions, banks, real estate firms) on a consistent basis.
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  • Distribution –
    While distribution is closely related to the wholesale business, the difference is that distributors are in contact with the manufacturers and ultimately act as the intermediary between production and the final B2C buyers. Wholesalers are not in contact with manufacturers and do not influence the production of goods as distributors do.

The B2B Buying Process

Given these unique market attributes, the B2B buying process varies greatly from B2C. The primary differences between the B2B and B2C buying processes can be boiled down to three key elements.

  1. Transaction size –
    Selling goods, especially consumables, in bulk means B2B transactions are inherently much bigger than B2C transactions.
  2. Educated customers –
    Higher product volumes mean bigger transactions and additional layers of approval. Stakeholders and decision-makers are looking at key performance indicators (KPIs) that demonstrate value and a return on investment (ROI). B2B customers have insight into the marketplace, read trade publications, and understand benchmarks for success.
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  4. Sales cycles –
    Bigger quantities with multiple layers of budgetary approval mean longer sales cycles. Buyers aren’t spending on a whim or an impulse or to meet an immediate need. It’s more of a marathon than a sprint.

Marketing teams have also been increasingly tasked with acquisition, meaning more collaboration with Sales teams to move customers down the funnel. In fact, Marketing, Sales, and Customer Success teams are working closer than ever to create a B2B sales ecosystem that funnels customers in through all touch points. It’s no longer a linear process.

How to Leverage a Digital Assistant for B2B Sales

The pandemic accelerated digital growth and created new consumer expectations with regards to customer service, delivery options (curbside pickup, contactless dropoff, etc.), and on-demand services from the companies they buy from. Almost all consumers are omnichannel shoppers now.

Where expectations have changed in the B2C world, B2B has followed. Buyers in the business world are much more likely now to do extensive research before they want to talk to a Salesperson, but they expect the companies they buy from to know their individual needs and treat them like a human, not a lead.

Given this accelerated digitization of the marketplace and the increasing need for personalization at every point in the buyer journey, customer experience (CX) has become the primary business priority for many companies in 2022. To meet this goal, companies must value their revenue efforts, increase customer engagement, and optimize all buying touch points. That’s a tall order for any team.

Enter Conversica Digital Assistants. Powered by AI, Conversica’s Conversation Automation platform supercharges revenue teams for growth. The digital assistants act as part of your Marketing, Sales, and Customer Success teams to acquire untapped revenue through perfectly structured conversations.

Unlike chatbots, Conversica Digital Assistants are powerfully human and can hold meaningful conversations at every touchpoint. They fuel the conversations that create brand loyalty and maximize every revenue opportunity, even the ones you don’t see. They know how to say just the right thing at just the right time to help you grow revenue, improve customer experience, reduce costs, increase operational efficiencies, and build the brand.

As talk of a recession grows louder, sellers and CX teams need to focus on engaging, qualifying, and accelerating revenue opportunities. To meet this moment and stay competitive in the marketplace, teams must find ways to automate elements of the sales funnel. Conversation Automation solutions like Conversica help companies of all sizes scale personalized, two-way conversations that drive revenue opportunities.

Our AI-fueled Digital Assistants autonomously engage leads in two-way conversations, battled-tested to move leads through the customer journey. By scaling prompt, persistent, and personalized conversations across email, SMS, and website chat, businesses generate over three times (3.7x, to be exact) more opportunities than standard automation and see greater than 10x ROI. Not to mention, Coversica Digital Assistants give more than 30 hours a day back to your team—extra time to focus on the stuff they do best.

See how Sales teams are using Conversation Automation to supercharge pipeline. Download the Conversation Heroes eBook.