Business-to-business (B2B) is a type of transaction performed between two businesses, as opposed to between a business and an individual consumer (B2C).
As a general consensus, the phrase is used to define the business model of companies that work with other companies. However, B2B companies don’t have to exclusively sell products or services to other companies. Their model can include business-to-consumer transactions, although these will be handled differently from a sales and marketing perspective.
The value of business-to-business services or products is considerably higher than on the consumer level. To manage the higher risks associated with B2B, the decision-making process can take anywhere from a few days to several months and involves various stakeholders.
The business-to-business model covers a wide range of industries, from tech and manufacturing to automobiles, maintenance, SaaS, and many more.
Given the amplitude and diversity of the tech industry, it covers several branches (both B2B and B2C). Take Apple, for example. In addition to its B2C and B2C hardware and software sales, the company deals with several manufacturing suppliers for iPhone components.
Software services (SaaS) can also be provided under a B2B transactional model. SaaS tools like Asana, Dropbox, and our very own airfocus are more commonly pitched as B2B propositions (although there’s nothing stopping users from utilizing these tools in their personal lives, too!)
A successful B2B marketing strategy should follow the essential steps required in marketing planning: defining your audience, building an image of authority, creating a strong content strategy, and diversifying your channels.
As with B2C marketing, social media can provide a fruitful ground for growth. LinkedIn is particularly useful for companies performing in the business-to-business area.
On a more specific level, specialized online directories can become a way to raise awareness about your products and get in touch with interested companies. Trade publications are also a tactic to consider, alongside participating in trade shows and industry conferences.
In addition to traditional marketing approaches, business-to-business companies need to pay special attention to building relationships prior to sales. Networking is a vital component of B2B marketing.