What B2B Sellers Can Learn from B2C Consumers

Contributed by Donal Daly.

Maybe today will be the day when you won’t have to adjust, adapt, reorganize, or rework. But I don’t think so.

Change is happening more quickly than ever. In the next 30 minutes;

  • 700,000 apps will be downloaded from the AppStore,
  • Users will spend 146 days on Facebook (yes, in the next 30 minutes), and
  • 21,000 new Twitter accounts will be created.

But, wait, you’re probably saying to yourself. I’m concerned about B2B sales – should I care that Lady Gaga has 20 million followers on Twitter? (That’s about one person for every 20 people in the US, by the way – or one for every 400 in the world.)

I think we can learn something from this about the overall metamorphosis of human interaction. Why? Consumers are often first to travel the journey before businesses follow.

Consider the changes you’ve seen in business over the past 10 years – particularly when it comes to technology. Consumer behavior is always a good indicator of what will happen in the business world.

As an example: Consumers were the first players in the App Economy, downloading applications from Apple’s AppStore, only to be followed by businesses that are now both distributing and consuming applications in this self-service model.

Think about this: Not all consumers are B2B buyers, but all B2B buyers are consumers. Consumers are conditioned to new ways of thinking, and begin to expect similar capability or convenience from business connections. And it happens without anyone noticing; because changes in behavior and expectation, satisfaction, and dissatisfaction are incremental.

If we take the time to step back for a minute we can observe continuous evolution. It is evident in how people connect, communicate, and collaborate. It’s also evident in their

  • quest for visible progress and feedback,
  • limited attention span,
  • changing personal motivations,
  • unusually peripatetic career paths,
  • desire for increased autonomy and self-mastery,
  • shift from traditional workplace obedience to entrepreneurial attitude,
  • preference for where and how they work,
  • expectation or demand for an array of tools to apply,
  • acceptance of disruption and interruption, and
  • predilection to disrupt and interrupt.

If you’re hoping that today will be the day that doesn’t change, then I expect you are out of luck. The best you could hope for is that the rate at which change is happening will find cause for pause, and you might get a chance to catch your breath.

On the other hand, you could choose to embrace the change, and be part of it, seeking new ways to do the tasks that are perhaps mundane or not operating optimally, and then – and here is the exciting part – you might find that there are new opportunities emerging that you never thought possible.

Donal Daly is CEO of The TAS Group and the visionary behind the Dealmaker software application. On June 7, 2012, at the Sales & Marketing 2.0 Conference in London, he will present “6 Factors that Are Transforming B2B Sales.”

About Lisa

Editorial Director at SellingPower.com.
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2 Responses to What B2B Sellers Can Learn from B2C Consumers

  1. Pingback: Consumerization: What Is It and What Marketers Need To Know

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