Traditionally, conversion goals B2B and B2C have differed. More recently, however, there has been a convergence of sorts as many B2B companies have discovered the advantage of taking a page (or two) from the B2C playbook. Get more insight from Guidance below.
Nevertheless, despite increasing overlap, distinct challenges remain. If you are in business, then you have to be clear about what your conversion goals are. That way, you can employ the appropriate means to achieve them. With that in mind, let’s look at how the aims differ for each group.
Hard Sell vs. Soft Sell
In B2C, the link is pretty immediate. Essentially, you are tying some action (store visit, online research, or engagement via an app) to a transaction with a dollar value. Brand loyalty and Long-term Value (LTV) have some relevance, but typically they are less prominent considerations.
In contrast, B2B operates according to a different set of assumptions. Conversion goals are less direct and closing a single transaction takes a backseat to building trust as a way of establishing an enduring relationship that yields long-term value.
Let’s look at some B2B conversion goals.
B2B Conversion Goal #1: Discovery
Today’s B2B companies need to drive awareness of their brand or business. Increasingly, B2B customers are are using online search tools to research products and services. In fact, 71% of B2B decision-makers begin their research with a generic search. In today’s market, if your business does not have a digital presence, then you are no longer in the running to be discovered.
B2B Conversion Goal #2: Lead Capture
You need to capture leads. You accomplish this by being easy to find and by providing information that provides value to potential customers by helping them do their jobs.
B2B Conversion Goal #3: Sale
This involves actually clinching the sale. However, typically this requires a longer follow-up than in B2C. Also, the sales cycle is naturally longer in B2B too. As a result, it’s particularly advantageous to utilize CRM software to track and manage your interactions with potential customers. Demonstrating you understand their needs can go a long way to building the kind of trust and rapport that will win their business.
Let’s look at some B2C conversion goals.
B2C Conversion Goal #1: Awareness
Traditionally, the goal is to get the customer to come to your site and then make a sale. In the past, if the consumer left without buying something, then you lost that conversion. Nowadays, however, tracking, attribution, and multiple channels have changed everything. You don’t necessarily need to have an immediate buyer to eventually have a conversion. All your different digital touch points can influence and reinforce each other to drive an ultimate sale.
B2C Conversion Goal #2: Consideration Set
Consumers have so many choices these days. They are constantly bombarded with information and setting yourself apart is more challenging than ever. You have to be in their “consideration set” -- or even more so, at the top of their mind. In particular, that means having a relationship with them is relevant and meaningful. This may be harder than ever, but it is also more important than ever.
B2C Conversion Goal #3: Sale
A more recent consideration is how online activity is impacting in-store purchases. For example, according to Forrester, mobile interaction is now driving $1 trillion dollars in in-person retail sales per year. The most advanced retailers in the world are now tracking the links to these conversions via tools like email receipts.
B2B and B2C both have unique considerations when it comes to conversion goals. For B2B, relationships that lead to LTV are of paramount concern. Here, it’s often advantageous to provide additional features to top customers to drive exceptional sales opportunities. In particular, cultivating the 80/20 rule--where 80 percent of the returns are due to 20 percent of your activities--is worth applying.
In contrast, B2C will be more focused on a different set of priorities--pricing details, front-end interface, and cross-channel promotions--that perpetually remind and encourage customers to act.
A lot has been written about how B2B and B2C marketing have been converging. A fast evolving landscape and wealth of digital tools certainly provide opportunities for experimenting. Nevertheless, it is certainly worth remembering that the different imperatives that govern B2B and B2C will entail somewhat different goals.