Someone has to say it: General marketing is a waste of your resources. Lead generation, for example, fails miserably with a one-size-fits-all approach. The type of prospect you want to target determines the overall strategy and specific tactics
Most marketers are aware of the obvious differences between B2B and B2C lead generation. The top observation tends to be that the sales cycle length for B2B lead generation is longer and more elaborate because you will likely engage with more people involved in the purchase decision. B2B transactions usually also are higher in value. But, what else is there to know?
Big dog, little dog
There’s a difference between chihuahuas and dobermans. Still, it’s easy to say they’re both popular dog breeds. The same generalization might be made about B2B and B2C lead generation. Both seek to connect and develop human relationships. So, why not just take the same approach?
Tell a doberman owner that it’s just like taking care of a chihuahua. Consumer leads and business leads must be handled differently.
B2B lead generation comes from a significantly smaller universe of prospects. It’s estimated that there are about 32.5 million businesses in the United States. Meanwhile the country’s population is around 329,600,000. Businesses looking for decision-makers at other businesses focus on vertical markets. The offer involves a complex value proposition. It’s slow-going, often taking months from establishing a relationship to making the sale.
The conversation – and the marketing content – that accompanies a prospect along the buyer’s journey is more fact- and statistic-driven. It’s because the decision to make a purchase is built upon a business case. A sale might have a price tag of thousands or even tens of millions of dollars.
Lead generation for consumers isn’t necessarily easier, but there are more prospects to be found. Marketing to consumers focuses more on emotional connections and brand identity. It’s a conversational approach. The decision to purchase is far less complex. There are exceptions, such as buying a vehicle or a car.
Otherwise, B2C lead generation depends more on making your product or service discoverable, and then providing perspective or education to accompany a prospect as they go from being an anonymous stranger to making a purchase.
The people connection
People make the purchase decision in both types of marketing, so in the end it is appropriate to say both types of lead generation strategies must revolve around people. The tactics change because you must isolate your target market and then identify the decision-maker so you can engage them and ultimately make the sale.
B2C lead generation used to rely on organic search and social media. B2B focused on cold emails or cold calling. Both approaches are no longer as effective as they once were.
B2B lead generation must be effective because there is a finite amount of prospects and a growing number of businesses competing for them. Lead nurturing is one way to prepare businesses to be a future customer, but just like consumer prospects, they’ve become mostly anonymous. They’re no longer filling out forms or responding to offers. They’ve completed two thirds of their buyer’s journey before they even identify themselves.
The key to marketing success for both types is to learn their identities sooner, and to have a higher level of confidence that they are ready to make a purchase decision. Who’s ready to buy, and how do you obtain their contact information? Learn how technology is removing the cloak of anonymity, and how we can help you use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to dramatically improve your lead generation efforts.