There is somewhat of an art to understanding how organizations and consumers behave when making buying decisions. At our core, all of us are consumers. We all purchase food, homes, cars, and from time to time we may even work with dealers or distributors. Whether operating as a business or a consumer, we tend to invest in products or services once we realize we have needs that need to be addressed or met – at which point we engage in the process of analyzing available data, researching the market and pursuing referrals from various sources.
The Difference between the B2B and B2C Models
B2B is short for business-to-business and is used to describe the relationship between two companies where one business sells products or services to another. An example of a B2B business is a paper company that sells its products to a photocopier company.
On the other hand, B2C is short for business-to-consumer. B2C companies sell their products or services directly to consumers. An example of a B2C business is an insurance company that sells policies to homeowners, or a cable company that offers cable services to individuals.
Eight Stages of the Organizational Buying Process
Various models can be used to determine how a company buys goods and services. For the purpose of this article, we’ll look at a general model of organizational decision-making called the buy-grid model. The buy-grid model consists of eight stages of rational decision-making:
- Anticipating or recognizing a need and suggesting a solution
- Determining the characteristics and the quantity of the item needed
- Describing the characteristic & the quality of the items needed
- Searching for and qualifying potential sources.
- Acquiring and analyzing proposals
- Evaluating and selecting proposals
- Selecting an order routine
- Providing performance feedback and evaluation
How to Maximize Sales through B2B and B2C Models
Ultimately, all marketing is aimed at people. Whether a company is B2C or B2B, it will face its own unique marketing and operational challenges. Keeping the following five steps top of mind will help keep your business on track and focused on your foremost goal: sales.
- Understand your customers by putting yourself in their shoes.
- Ask your customers what they want and why (You can do this by asking them to provide reviews or to take a survey).
- Go through the buying experience as a customer would, to gain first-hand experience.
- Listen to your customers to understand more about them. Watch body language or listen to their tone of voice.
- Give choices. Have options available to get insight into what your customers prefer.
Keep in mind that catering to your customers through these steps will help generate repeat business, and will most certainly also lead to new business through their referrals.
Understanding the Consumer and Organizational Buying Process
It’s important to gather information to understand your consumers. And there is a very simple way to obtain the information you need: ask questions.
Do your consumers make impulse decisions or complex decisions?
What factors are important in the buying process?
What are the buying criteria of those involved in the buying process?
Where do your consumers prefer to buy? When do they prefer to buy?
Buying decisions can be made by one person or a whole group of people. Those in the buying process fall into the following categories:
- The initiator who starts the process
- The influencer who persuades the others
- The decider who has the money
- The buyer who completes the transaction
- The user who uses the product.
Take time to study how a company and the individuals within it behave. What you’ll quickly learn is that a huge part of that behavior relates to that organization’s culture and its values. You can also learn a lot by being in the organization’s surroundings and observing said behaviors. One can even “see” a company’s values through displayed artifacts. The company may have a visual display of wealth through lavish surroundings, or demonstrate frugality with an environment of austere simplicity.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and How Technological Advancements Have Made CRM Essential in Selling
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is defined as a technology for managing a company’s relationships and interactions with its current and potential customers. Whatever your process for keeping customer records, one key to success in this area is the ability to contact consumers for new or repeat business. Before advances in technology and CRM software, sales reps had to rely on memory or hard copy company records whenever they wanted to access customer information. However, with the array of CRM technology available today, customer information can be kept on central databases and accessed from anywhere and on nearly any device.
How you sell to a business and how you sell to individuals are different. Every salesperson should know and understand the differences between B2B and B2C sales. Check out Knowledge City’s online training to learn more about those differences, including how to understand a consumer, the organizational buying process, and CRM and its technological advancements.
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