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What is B2B Business-to-Business Marketing?

Business-to-Business Marketing – At the moment in which we have information on all the departments that intervene in the B2B (Business-to-Business Marketing) commercial processes of the organizations, we will be able to have the reference of the level of complexity to which we refer and, also, we will be able to ask ourselves the question: how can we relate to the marketing department, how do we get to the purchasing department, how can we approach the production people, how do they value us in the engineering department, do we offer what the financial department needs? The lowest line is that we will do business with companies like ours. Larger, smaller, with more or less bureaucracy, with more or less hierarchy, with similar or different organization charts. the blogger outreach service, However, organisations where decision-making is delegated to various departments and where we must cultivate relationships with each of them.

The Buying Center

The Buying Center or Purchasing Department/Committee/Area is where purchasing decisions take place regarding the hiring needs -in general- of the entire organization. Within this department, or the purchasing committee that is built for a certain procurement or bidding decision, different roles are identified:

  • The Buyer Himself
  • The influencer (also known as sponsor, prescriber or even “client”).
  • The Gatekeeper (the Gatekeeper, the one who controls access).
  • The decider
  • The Initiator

Conditional on the organisation’s size, the internal processes at a general level or the specific purchasing procedures, we may have more or less representation of each of these roles. It may even be that different parts concentrated in the same person. Similarly, several people can represent the same role. The combinations can be different according to each case.

The Gatekeeper represents one of the most critical roles within a purchasing process because they have a high level of control over the flow of the process and, specifically, over how the information flows, how they allow or block access to certain people, over how they determine -on many occasions- the speed at which progress is permitted or the level of blocking that is applied to a certain stage.

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Although the hierarchical level of the goalkeeper is low -in many cases, this is the case- his power can be remarkable. And it is even more so to the extent that the cultural influence of certain regions complicates the process. In some areas, such as Asia, due to aspects related to hierarchy, it is often a very complex exercise to try to identify who is the real decision-maker. In this case, determining who controls the process is complex. The concept of frontmen represents the idea of ​​that team or group of people who ” block or control ” the flow of information and movements within the purchasing process.

The Selling Center

An ideal practice, a B2B buying and selling process should function as a basketball game. On the single hand, we have the purchasing department with the five identified roles -buyer, influencer, goalkeeper, decision-maker and initiator-and on the sales side. We should have another sales team prepared to be able to respond in a balanced way.

Reality generally differs from this ideal situation. It is mutual for a single individual to act on the selling side. And also, It implies that, regularly, sellers outnumbered and outnumbered, which means an imbalance of forces that can greatly condition the B2B buying and selling process. It is possible that the seller does not know as much about the product and the specifications of the same as other departments, which places it at a certain disadvantage when it comes to offering the best support to this sales process.

Trying to sell B2B individually, with a Selling Center reduced in team power against a Buying Center that exceeds in number, focus and dedication, is extremely complex.

The Stages of Total Marketing

Another relevant concept within Total Marketing is the different stages that must take place in each B2B buying-selling process. We talk about rotational execution, at least in its three main stages.

  1. The first stage is pre-marketing, also known as pre-engineering due to the industrial concept of many organizations and their B2B value chain.
  2. Once the commercial process is advanced, we enter the bidding stage. The requests for proposals made, the quotations are made, the negotiation is developed, and the eventual agreement between the companies is reached to supply the product or service execution.
  3. Finally, once the contracts have been formalized and the delivery made, we would enter an after-sales period, generally prolonged.

At all stages, we must balance between who has the influence, who has the experience, who has control of the information, who has more need, who benefits from the business process, who has more or less interest, and even, in some cases, who are motivated by ” low passions ” or by intentions, not entirely transparent or lawful, before a certain commercial process.

In Total Marketing, we must consider

The circumstances of the B2B buying and selling process can significantly determine the final result.

The three stages of the business process can remain separated, coordinated, distributed, and organized through different roles within the organization.

If we have accessory stages, we must understand if they are part of the pre-marketing, bidding or post-sale to associate the appropriate resources to each activity or sub-stage.

Continuing with sporting similes, rotational execution is similar to a zone defence attack in FIBA ​​basketball, a pick and roll, or Phil Jackson’s triangle offence in his Chicago Bulls and LA Lakers. In these tactical systems, the defence or attack teams, as the case may be, have to coordinate among various members to block or attack the opposing team. It is, in short, a team effort impossible to do individually.

B2B (Business-to-Business Marketing) Relationships Matter

One of the fundamental characteristics of B2B business processes is based on the fact that the number of target customers -the target accounts and our IPCs- are lower, as we have seen in several of our previous articles on Account-Based Marketing.

But beyond it may seem that this is a disadvantage, I think just the opposite. It is an opportunity and can be much more positive from building relationships and involvement in a business process. In the end, we are talking about people. People must relate to each other, whether we are talking about an existing network of suppliers. And also, a steady relationship with the purchasing team of different organizations by the supplier.

As we mentioned at the beginning, the complexity of B2B Marketing is high, and it is, among other things. And also, because relationships between people are not always simple. There is an erroneous perception that these relationships in B2B processes can generate certain transaction costs. My perception is again contrary in this regard. The links built between people from different areas. However, either in the Buying Center or the Selling Center- help reduce those transaction costs. The relationships established between the teams, between the suppliers and the buyer. However, once an experience based on relationship and trust acquired. It can remain very solid and contribute very positively to providing positive inputs to the value chain.

The B2B (Business-to-Business Marketing) Process, How do Companies buy?

A B2B buying and selling process occur in different stages, as previously mentioned: pre-marketing, bidding, and post-sale. The pre-marketing and bidding processes can stay divided into sub-stages. Each of which has a greater or lesser influence on the first or second stage. As we progress through each sub-stages, the supplier’s sales opportunity is reduced, and his room for manoeuvres becomes more limited.

This opportunity sale becomes an inverted pyramid. As we progress through the process, there are fewer business opportunities for an aspiring new supplier. And also, less flexibility to adapt or condition your proposal. And even the possibility of managing the business process reduced to the maximum. However, if the sales team is proactive and can enter the pre-marketing stage early. We will face Early Vendor Involvement. The more at the beginning, the better.

Conclusion

Business-to-business B2B is a form where one business makes a profitable transaction with another. It typically occurs when: A business is obtaining materials for their product development for output. And also, if raw material to the other company will produce a result.

Also Read: What is Marketing? – Advertising, History, Origin, Plan and More

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