So you’re thinking about marketing your product or service to other businesses. You might be a whiz at reaching consumers but that doesn’t necessarily guarantee you’ll be successful in the B2B (business-to-business) market too. There are some important differences that will impact your marketing decisions. Here are four differences to consider before you start marketing to other businesses.

  1. There’s More than One Player – Businesses, especially larger ones, often have more than one person involved in the purchase. For example, a purchasing agent might sign the agreement, but her decision might be influenced by the manager whose area will use your service. Depending on the size of the purchase, approval by an officer of the company might be needed. First, identify who is involved in the buying decision and the role they play in the buying cycle.
  2. They’re Buying for Others – Consumers are buying for their own personal benefit. Businesses often buy for their customers. They might transform your product or service into their own unique offering. So your quality ultimately reflects on their brand as well. Help businesses sell their product by providing information on the quality of your offering.
  3. Prepare to Invest Time – Compared to consumers, the business buying cycle can be longer. So set your expectations accordingly. You may need to meet with them more than once and over a period of time.  Think gradual steps that will eventually lead to greater success.
  4. Many Suitors, Few Grooms – By the numbers, there are fewer businesses than consumers. That means the market is narrower and likely more competitive. Here’s where your value proposition comes in. Emphasize how you are different from your competitors (and not just in price). For example, if you can deliver your product quicker, the business can replenish supply faster without having to carry a large inventory.

Marketing to other businesses can be one way to grow your own business. But don’t assume you can duplicate what you do for consumers. Consider the differences of the B2B marketing before you start.

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