When recruiting for sales positions, many may feel all sales jobs are similar. This is fairly far from the truth, however, as business to business sales (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) sales are each distinctive. While sales careers often offer the advantage of mobility within one’s career, experts agree it can be difficult to change types of sales careers.
What are the Major Differences between B2B and B2C?
B2B and B2C sales are both similar in that they involve a thorough knowledge of sales tactics and the products being marketed, and they involve becoming familiar with one’s market or target audience. Some of the differences are outlined below.
In summary, one should not enter the market of B2B selling unless he or she has thorough product knowledge or can gain it quickly. When dealing with businesses, knowledge is key, as major business purchases are almost always long term decisions based on the good of the company. After all, a purchaser for a company would likely be regarded as an inefficient one if he continued to make purchasing decisions that were not financially sound. In contrast, an everyday consumer can make decisions based on his or her personal preferences. If one considers himself a “people person,” he’s likely best suited for consumer sales. Those who enjoy interacting with professionals and sharing important information more than casual conversation may find themselves to be more passionate about business sales.
How Recruiting Should Differ
When recruiting for these two areas, one should remember the key differences and attempt to find appropriate matches within the specific field. For example, simply because an individual made record profits selling cellular phone contracts to individuals, doesn’t mean he could sell pharmaceutical products to a doctor’s office. While many may be tempted to cross over into another sales area for the more profitable commission usually found in business sales, some questions should be asked before you make the decision to encourage the placement.
So, What About Changing from B2B to B2C?
This is still tricky, because those selling to businesses may find difficulty in closing sales quickly, especially with products that have emotional meaning. Someone who is accustomed to taking a week or so to close a deal with a business may find it difficult and trying to close a sale on jewelry, for example, as once the customer walks away, the relationship could be terminated. Consumer sales is often much more unpredictable as well, which can test the patience of those accustomed to the more structured days of business salesmen.