B2B isn’t a Target Market

How-to Build A Customer-Centric Sales Process 

Here’s the thing about target sales that no one is telling you; it’s counterproductive to market your sales as B2B or B2C/DTC. People who work at businesses are consumers first and foremost, so there shouldn’t be a distinction in B2B versus B2C. Instead, the conversation should be about B2Everyone.

As an entrepreneur who’s built two companies focused on branding, I’ve learned that business are filled with people. So, if you’re marketing to a business, you’re actually marketing to the people who make up the business. 

There is no such thing as B2B 

B2B is not a target. There… I’ve said it. 

People are individuals, with kids and spouses and messy relationships and shopping habits and pets. They love posting on Facebook and checking Instagram in the morning. They love going to Target to check out the dollar bin. 

And they think more about their personal lives and what’s best for them outside the walls of their office building. So why should we expect that it’s the not the same when we’re trying to reach these very same people who work inside a business?

We confine the possibilities when we choose to target “B2B” or “B2C”, you really should be focusing on personalities and on people. When I start a partnership with a business and get on the phone with them, I speak to people. 

I then tend to learn what this group of people need from me. How my work will make their jobs, lives, anything better. What does my service offer them as people who work for this business? 

Instead of marketing to the business, I market to the people who make up the business. 

To be customer-centric, you have to think about the customers

Pause for a second. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. 

As a consumer what do you value from products and services you consume? And what do your customers gain from consuming your product?

The truth is, when I’m making a business deal with someone I have to answer one huge question of theirs. They are sitting there wondering “what’s in it for me?”, and I have to let them know. They may not come out and ask that directly, but it’s what they are thinking. It’s what most people are thinking when it comes to any transaction, which is one of the reasons why putting myself in the other person’s shoes is my mantra in life. 

Time and time again I ask myself: If I was a consumer looking at a brand and being asked to do something, what’s in it for them? 

My former agency worked on a B2B campaign for Michelson Found Animals (which won Digiday’s best B2B Campaign). They asked us to update the existing corporate materials, reinforce their mission, get more customers, and ultimately, sell more microchips.

When we dug deeper and looked into the efficacy of the existing marketing pieces. We quickly discovered they were not doing well–at all. Why? All the materials were answering questions for the internal team. It was doing nothing to answer questions that an outsider might have. In fact, in trying to explain everything that they did as a company they were confusing any potential new client.

So, the first thing we asked ourselves was: what would make people care about Found Animals’ mission? What would keep them engaged, and ultimately persuade them to buy products? What do people want and need to see from Found Animals to make them care?

Essentially, we put ourselves in our audience’s shoes and asked:
“What’s in it for me?”

They wanted to know FA cared. We had to show them that FA understood them at an emotional level. We wanted to show that FA is fun, We wanted to provide a solution to the audience’s problem.  We wanted to demonstrate that everything FA does is in support of their customers. So, we display how easy the process and completing tasks could be. 

And it worked! This wasn’t just a one-off. It worked because people are at the end of the line and they have *feelings* one way or another. 

Once you start to realize that businesses are made up of people, you will start to become more efficient. You can start by asking yourself what the people you’re marketing to desire.  Stop marketing yourselves to a business, or a group consumers, because businesses are made up of people! Instead, you need to market yourselves to everyone.

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