It’s easy to forget that B2B (Business to Business) marketing is profoundly different from B2C (Business to Consumers). B2B providers may know this but, too often, they treat marketing to their B2B audience as if they were B2C. It’s not the same game. So, knowing the difference begins with understanding these 4 types of B2B customers.

The Price First prospect

Price first B2B customers are primarily motivated by cost — everything else is secondary. It may be due to tight budgets, or a frugal staff; either way, this customer will not work with you unless you meet their price points. They’re easy to identify because they begin with price and don’t stray far from it.

How to approach the price first prospect

Establish their expectations up front. There’s no need to offer products or services without establishing their budget. Getting this cart before the horse can backfire. Presenting a solution that doesn’t fit the budget may create a scenario where the customer won’t budge from the product OR raise their budget. First, establish the budget, and then offer the best solution within their budget, which may mean doing it in stages. Rather than present a product that fits the budget, but is inferior, start them on the best path with quality they can build on.

The Quality Rules Customer

This B2B prospect is the opposite of the price first customer. Quality rules their business. You can see it in their offices, transportation, and company apparel. They work on high margins and are used to the best. They believe quality, when delivered, pays for itself in the long run.

How to approach the quality rules customer

Don’t try to shave the price by undercutting quality or omitting integral components. Present the best solution you have with all the bells and whistles that fit this B2B prospect’s needs. Don’t tell them what your product does; show them what it does for them. Share the benefits. Are you selling the benefits of your product?

The Service is Supreme Client

This potential customer has been disappointed with service after the sale. They’ve had bad experiences with products that didn’t meet their expectations and providers that did little more than shrug their collective shoulders when a product didn’t meet their needs. This customer can be identified by their questions about product testing and service channels.

How to approach the service is supreme client

This customer lacks trust so, show them your credentials such as time in business, accreditations, training, and awards. Share testimonials from customers and don’t be afraid to share mistakes you’ve made, the lessons you learned from your mistakes, and the changes you’ve implemented to avoid mistakes in the future. If possible, introduce this prospect to your customer service staff.

The Collaborator

This customer wants to be involved. They want to be part of the process. They bring a team to your presentation. It’s seldom about working with one person but working with the many individuals from multiple departments (this may change after they place an order).

How to approach the collaborator

Easy as pie. Give them what they want — involve them. Treat them as part of your team. Let them be part of the product/solution decision-making process, and you’ll be rewarded. Be prepared to offer group seminars and presentations.

4 Types of B2B Customers

B2B shouldn’t be marketed like B2C. Business to business should be marketed in the best way to fit businesses needs and the best way to accomplish this is by understanding what motivates them in the buying process. Are you a B2B buyer, which customer are you?

How Can I help You?

I like to help people and organizations, but I have three criteria I consider before taking an assignment – I believe in what the organization stands for, I know I can help, and it looks like fun. If you have any questions, Contact Me. 

Does your business have a  management training plan? Many organizations, large and small, use my book, The New Manager’s Workbook a crash course in effective management, as the basis for their leadership development program. Check it out.

If you enjoyed this post you might also like, 13 Pieces of Sales Advice for my Grandson. 

Photo by Adeolu Eletu on Unsplash