B2B sales vs B2C sales - what is the difference?

Professionals discussing sales tactics

Sales is sales, right? Here we look at similarities and differences between retail selling, direct to customers, versus selling to businesses in a corporate setting to help you decide which would be right for you.



Excellent customer service is key

From the first point of contact sales is about the customer, so providing thoughtful targeted customer service is key for both B2B and B2C selling. Speak with the customer to fully understand what their need or want is, and make informed suggestions on how your products meet this. 

After a sale, continuing to provide service by offering the help of your support team (for any problems) greatly increases customer retention rates in both B2B and B2C sales.

Similar sales strategies

"Sales, regardless whether it is B2B or B2C, requires a similar strategy to building a successful portfolio or billings.  Energy, enthusiasm, being motivated by an incentivised environment and being commercially sound are all important" says Stuart MacSween, Manager of Sales Recruitment at Robert Walters.

Price points can differ greatly

Sales, regardless whether it is B2B or B2C, requires a similar strategy to building a successful portfolio or billings. 

Whilst some retail purchases may have a high price point (ie: house, boat, car) it is commonly known that B2C products have lower price points than B2B products. 

With B2C products you may use price point as one of the selling points, if you know you are cheaper than a competitor, but in B2B you want to focus on value-add positives as the price will be much higher.

Emotional vs rational selling

B2C sales tend to be based off a perceived immediate need or want. Customers' purchases are emotional and are commonly point-of-sale purchases where no prior contact has been made with the sales professional. This means marketing and branding can sometimes play a much larger point in swaying a customer's buying decision at point of purchase.

"B2C sales relates to the end consumer so the decision often lies with one person, this can vary if you are purchasing a car, for example, which can be a family decision as the outlay can be quite large" Stuart continues, "whilst B2B will typically involve a lengthier sales cycle with a higher price-point and a more complex network of relationships to build and sell into."

B2B sales changes from the emotionally driven aspect of retail sales to lead-nurturing and relationship building to highlight how your products benefit a businesses' bottom line on a long-tern scale.

Thinking about switching?

"A successful switch between B2B and B2C sales largely depends on the stage candidates have reached in their careers and if the switch between the two is to happen, it’s more likely that candidates will move from B2C into B2B" Stuart highlights. 

B2B sales professionals are used to long term strategies and focusing on relationship building. Commonly they can find B2C and retail environments too intense and unpredictable, to move the other way.

"There are some instances of where the lines between B2B and B2C can blur, but you’re more likely to find sales professionals identifying a career path in B2B as the earning potentials are significantly higher."

Looking for an exciting B2B or B2C sales role? View the latest opportunities from Robert Walters.

Or if you have a friend looking for a new job, why not be rewarded for recommending Robert Walters? Learn more about our excellent referral scheme and refer your friend today.

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