April 2, 2015

5 ways B2B food marketing is different than B2C

As food marketers, it’s critical to understand the potential challenges and opportunities each sales channel brings. Here are 5 ways the B2B channel varies from B2C, and how you can leverage the difference for maximum success in foodservice.

1. Sales volume: When you think about an individual consumer in the B2C world, the transaction size is minimal compared to a B2B customer. That means it’s critical to have sales systems in place to protect high-value relationships.

2. Number of buyers: Although there are fewer buyers in B2B, their influence is broad. Imagine the cost ramifications if your company lost favor with the person in charge of your chain account contract. Having a solid CRM system and strong sales accountability are two critical factors in customer retention.

3. Buying influences: In the B2B world, there’s no such thing as an impulse purchase since there are often multiple decisions makers. Ensure that your sales team has relevant information to share with all points of contact. For example, what’s important for a chef may be very different than a dietitian.

4. Buyer-seller relationship: Unlike the B2C market, foodservice sales are much more hands on, meaning your salesforce is critical to your success. But with over a million U.S. foodservice establishments, there’s no sales team that can effectively build so many relationships. One way to augment their efforts is to communicate directly to operators through e-newsletters, blogs and social media.

5. Decision cycle: The buying cycle is much longer in B2B, and it’s often not as easy to measure a campaign’s effectiveness. With that in mind, make sure you’re not abandoning your marketing efforts too soon. Unlike a consumer-focused campaign where a sales spike can be instantaneous, a foodservice campaign generally works at a much slower pace.

What other differences have you seen in B2B marketing? We’d love to hear about your recent successes, and are happy to help with any challenges you’re facing. Contact anita@infoodmktg.com for more information.

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