Netcomm Forum 2024

B2B focuses on business with corporate customers – with at least two companies. The target group lays the foundation for a successful business: Who do I want to sell my products to? Is it private consumers or other B2B companies? 

Inhaltsverzeichnis

  1. What is B2B?

  2. B2B: Focus on business relationships

  3. The target group

  4. B2B in the world of marketing

    1. Your own online shop

    2. E-mail marketing

    3. Social Media marketing 

    4. Content

    5. Booth

  5. Current marketing trends in the B2B sector

    1. Mobile first

    2. Target group-oriented marketing

    3. Customer-centric content

    4. B2B influencer marketing

    5. B2B platforms

    6. Augmented and virtual reality 

  6. Differentiation from B2C

  7. Customer feedback has top priority!

  8. FAQ

What is B2B?

Business-to-business (B2B) refers to the business and communication relationship between two or more companies. This involves companies offering their products and services for sale to other companies. In addition, the focus is on the trust factor between each other, as this strengthens long-term cooperation. 

B2B: Focus on business relationships

In the B2B sector, long business relationships are worth their weight in gold. The aim is not to collect as many contacts as possible, but to maximize trust and reliability with a few – keyword: customer care. 

Compared to the B2C (business-to-customer) sector, entrepreneurs benefit here from higher sales per customer, as delivery volumes by retailers in B2B are often much higher. Customers whose business requires regular maintenance or generally recurring work are the main winners here. Fixed prices are typically absent from B2B concepts, as these are negotiated individually with manufacturers and vary from regular customer to one-off order. 

The target group

As with all marketing measures, the target group also plays a decisive role in the B2B sector. Thus, a founder decides with the development of his product portfolio whether he sells to B2B or B2C customers, as private buyers and business customers differ greatly in their motivation to buy. 

Since there is no universally valid definition of a company's target group, every entrepreneur should conduct a target group analysis and then include it in his or her own business plan. In order to identify the target group of future customers, it is useful to ask oneself the following questions

  • What task do I solve for the future customers? Why is my solution better (more sustainable, cheaper, etc.) than those of the competition / other manufacturers?

  • Which companies fit the own product or service? 

  • Create an address list for the acquisition of new customers (company size, industry, characteristics, etc.)

  • Which company values do potential customers have? Tradition-conscious companies vs. start-ups?

  • How do the contact persons decide? Who has the final say, etc.

The more precise the target group is defined, the better offers can be adapted. Furthermore, the more successful companies will be with their business plan in the end. Speculations do not help here, direct questions do. For example, the sales department obtains the information needed for further steps from potential customers. Surveys of these customers can also help in the brainstorming process when setting up one's own company, in order to get a more precise overview of which market niche is worthwhile for one's own business. 

B2B in the world of marketing

Addressing business customers is more important than ever in the B2B sector, because it differs massively from the inquiries of private consumers. While in B2C emotional spontaneous purchases sometimes prevail, customers in B2B deal with open needs on a daily basis. The first step in marketing: create an online store that is convincing at first sight. This is followed by other measures such as email marketing, social media marketing or SEO content. The challenge for companies: Align these measures with B2B customers and meet their exact needs. 

Your own online shop

How professional is your own online store? Entrepreneurs should always keep this question in mind when starting a company with B2B products or services. Only a competent and knowledgeable first impression will lead to inquiries and successful deals. When creating your own web presence, the first thing to decide is whether a store construction kit or a store system makes sense. Both have advantages and disadvantages and, depending on the case, are a good basis for building your own website. 

On the homepage, website visitors should find all the important information about the products or services offered, and to such an extent that they are properly picked up – keyword: expert status. Contact details should be displayed visibly to enable potential buyers to contact the company quickly. 

E-mail marketing

Potential customers are still in the decision-making process? With newsletters, a company shows its presence to potential customers and can display new offers. Whether it's opinion polls, interesting offers or exciting marketing campaigns – reaching out to the target group from your own industry brings many advantages. Someone shows interest? An e-mail with a newsletter sign-up link or free info materials can help to facilitate the final step to closing the deal. 

Social Media marketing

Social media has become an integral part of our lives. A company account is therefore ideally suited for communicating and interacting with future partners. In addition, regular communication via platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, XING and Co. is a perfect basis for a long-term partnership. Posting regular industry news helps in your own social media strategy. However, the right platform is crucial to reach the right target group. On Instagram and TikTok, companies tend to reach fewer industry partners and retailers, but mainly private end consumers. 

Content

Content is king: According to this, companies should produce enough content so that they can prevail over the competition in the Google ranking. The focus is not on selling, but on providing information for website visitors who are looking for more input. When it comes to content, SEO suitability plays a big role because without the necessary optimizations such as

  • Bullet points /  lists 

  • Different headings

  • Highlighting

  • Short paragraphs

  • Links 

the respective text automatically ranks worse. Because let's be honest: Who wants to read a long block of text when there are also plenty of reader-friendly alternatives to be found on the Internet? 

Booth

In addition to the limitless online possibilities, many companies are active at trade fairs. Accordingly, these have a high value in B2B marketing and should not be disregarded in the targeted measures. Being present pays off in the end: Conversations at trade show booths remain in the counterpart's memory, and a cooperation starts directly on a common basis – if supplier or future customer – the possibilities are endless.

Current marketing trends in the B2B sector

Technology-driven methods are in focus in the B2B market. These include customer-centric approaches such as account marketing or the use of Big Data and AI to optimize customer contact. In order for a company not to get lost in the masses, an informative website is therefore an absolute must-have! 

Thanks to technological developments, it is now possible to carry out personalization in the B2B sector as well and thus develop tailored concepts for customers. 

Mobile first

Whether smartphone or tablet – mobile devices are becoming more and more popular and are increasingly used for shopping. Website operators should therefore keep the mobile first aspect in mind when planning a website so as not to diminish the customer's shopping experience. Apps developed in-house can also be useful for some products or services. 

Target group-oriented marketing

This involves creating individual customer profiles – the more accurate, the better. The goal of sales is to target few, but the right customers and thus achieve a higher conversion rate. In doing so, they distribute the tailored content across all channels. Contrast this with content marketing, which is used to initially attract numerous customers, only to sift them out at the end. 

Customer-centric content

Customers expect content to accompany them on their customer journey. Step by step, this provides them with the information they need to evaluate a product or service. Compelling video content, for example, spurs potential buyers to purchase a specific product.

B2B influencer marketing

Even in the B2B sector, there are industry-specific influencers who make their opinions known on social media. The promising factor: A personal story from an influencer comes across more authentic than a faceless company. 

B2B platforms

Whether Amazon Business or Alibaba – sales platforms are becoming increasingly important in the B2B sector. The forecast shows that they will achieve a high reach in SEO and SEA in the future. The best B2B ecommerce platforms constantly evolve.

Augmented and virtual reality 

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are playing a role in more and more products and services. Whether it's sounds, haptic feedback or the display of graphics, new methods of attracting customers are being tapped all the time. A furniture store, for example, is using these features to strengthen customers' imaginations with the help of AR images and to have furniture displayed directly in their own rooms.  

Differentiation from B2C

Online stores and companies that sell their products and services to private end consumers rely on a business-to-customer (B2C) approach. Typical examples are the H&M store in the city center, as well as one’s favorite restaurant on the next corner. But in some industries, there is no sharp distinction between the two. In a hotel, for example, both private and corporate customers stay overnight. Furthermore, meeting rooms are also used by companies. 

B2B

B2C

Target Group

Companies

Private end users

Market

Rather a niche market

Larger target groups

Marketing measures

Marketing measures that emphasize problem-solving as well as risk minimization.

Loose, entertaining marketing

Target

Build trusting business relationships 

Identification with the brand

Sales

Sales representatives in a company

Advertisements on social media, TV and Google

Customer feedback has top priority!

The customer is king – or queen: In the B2B sector, customer relationships last significantly longer than in the B2C sector. The personal level of communication should therefore not be neglected here. Proactivity is the keyword, because approaching customers directly and seeking a personal conversation improves part of their customer journey as well as the general customer experience. 

In addition to a telephone call, surveys and comment functions in contact forms are suitable for obtaining feedback from existing customers and developing further on the basis of this. In this way, companies improve the customer experience over time and focus on customer centricity. 

Sales reps should start a call well-prepared to avoid unprofessional behavior. There is nothing worse than not knowing your industry and being exposed in a customer conversation. After all, companies from the same sector are talking to each other here and can share their knowledge. 

FAQ

What does B2B stand for?

B2B refers to a business relationship between at least two companies. The abbreviation stands for business-to-business. 

What is the difference between B2B and B2C?

B2B describes the sale of products or services to other companies, while B2C represents the offer to private end consumers. 

What is the target group of B2B? 

The target group in the B2B sector differs depending on the industry. Which companies are suitable for one's own products or services must be determined during the start-up process. 

Related links about B2B

https://www.shopware.com/en/solutions/b2b/

https://www.shopware.com/en/products/b2b-suite/