What is B2C lead management and how does it differ from B2B lead management? When it comes to lead management in the business to consumer world there are some key fundamental differences as to the way things are done compared with the business to business world. Let’s begin with business to business lead generation by transparently looking at this very article you’re reading and the process we hope you will go on. From this quick overview, we will then set out some key differences within B2C lead management.
This article is a form of inbound marketing, created around content that you - our prospect - may very well be interested in: valuable content to educate you around key principles of B2C lead management. If at the end of reading this article you wish to learn more about our business, you might submit your details into a marketing funnel or even request a demo of the software. At that point you would become a “lead” which we will aim to nurture into wanting to use our software should it be suitable for your business, which, we can assume from the fact you’ve searched for this article, involves B2C Lead Management.
In many ways, B2C lead generation follows a similar structure; the only real difference is that instead of targeting someone like yourself (a business owner or marketing or sales professional) you will target a consumer. The principles may be largely the same, but there are some key differences in terms of how a consumer lead is managed between the point of initial generation and the potential endpoint, that is becoming a sale or conversion. We will now work through some of the main differences you need to be aware of, and hopefully demonstrate a few ways you can use this knowledge to leverage better results for your business.
What are the differences between B2B and B2C lead management?
When searching for the key differences between B2B and B2C marketing, you may have seen the word “Emotion” pop up. Indeed, some fairly reputable sources seem to push a very simplistic idea that all B2B marketing is cold, logical and number-focused whereas all consumers are apparently guided entirely by their emotions. If you take one thing from this article, it should be to ignore anyone who tells you this. The concept is abstract, outdated and limiting. There are plenty of business people who are guided by their emotions when making a purchase, just as there are plenty of consumers who are incredibly logical about their purchases.
So, if we remove emotion from the conversation, how does B2C lead management actually differ?
Here are four fundamentals you can take to the bank.
1. Pump up the Volume.
Although CRMs used to manage B2B leads can be excellent, they absolutely could not manage the scale of leads passed through a traditional B2C lead management platform. It all comes down to volume. The volume of leads to be managed in a traditional B2C campaign outstrips that of its B2B counterpart in such a way that a designated system - specifically designed and built to deal with such volume - will always be required.
Even a relatively small B2C setup will still outstrip the traditional volume of leads of a B2B counterpart, and as such, requires a system that is able to process these leads - acquire from multiple points, store securely and compliantly, validate authenticity and eradicate fraud, distribute out to multiple end points, work in real-time - and manage them in a way that maximises the value of each. More than this, even if you do run a small operation, the ambition of scaling should always see the foundations for future plans laid in advance.
2. A Variety of End Points
When it comes to B2C lead management, one of the key differences is the relative importance of lead distribution to the process. That lead distribution is so important comes largely from the fact the final destination of the lead has the potential to be a lot more varied within the B2C world.
When it comes to B2B lead management, new leads are generally dealt with internally. There are of course exceptions, but on the whole, the process is quite simple. To refer back to this article as an exercise in lead generation, if you were to become a “lead” then you would instantly go into our CRM and instantly a member of our team would contact you to discuss what you do, what you were looking to achieve and if you were interested in perhaps getting a demo of the software. At no point would anyone else have your data. At no point would you, as a lead, be moved between any third parties.
However, when it comes to B2C lead management, the journey of a lead has the potential to be a lot more complicated. You get lead generators and lead brokers and agencies and affiliates and a whole bunch of other parties who are potentially buying and selling leads onto their individual endpoints before the point of conversion. As such, in B2C the lead distribution has the potential to be a lot more complicated, which is why a lead management platform can be really useful for ensuring the system runs smoothly and all leads are kept safe and secure and compliant at whatever point they are moved. Since the introduction of GDPR, how you do this has become more important than ever: you not only want a way to facilitate the successful distribution of leads, but a system that helps build transparency between consumers and brands at every step.
For more on this you may be interested in the article: Everything You Need To Know About Lead Distribution.
3. Shorter, Sharper Nurturing
One other way in which B2C lead management is different can be seen in the nurturing times between the point of generation and the point of conversion. As a rule of thumb, B2B lead management requires a longer nurturing time and funnel than is typically seen within B2C lead management. There are multiple reasons for this: B2B purchases are generally seen as a bigger, more expensive investments and tend to require the agreement of multiple decision makers whereas B2C leads tend to be individuals who can perceive the value of the offer in a shorter time frame.
It is from this idea we can trace the notion of emotion being key; it is often said that consumers tend to be driven on impulses and gut feelings and as such require a shorter nurturing time. Again, you should largely ignore this as it tends to draw focus away from the points that should be your take home:
Emotion is a valuable tool in any marketing playbook, but you should not rely on it or use it to paper over cracks. What you should do is use emotion alongside a genuinely great offer. You should appeal to emotions and logic.
You have a shorter time to nurture prospects and as such you need to be impactful with your messaging.
You need to ensure your B2C lead management is on point as the relative shorter time frame and the often more saturated market means you need to act more quickly when it comes to nurturing consumer leads.
For more on this you may be interested in the article: Autoresponder Leads: How To Optimise Your Lead Nurturing.
4. Speed is more important than ever
When we talk about speed in both B2B and B2C lead generation, we often refer to the period between point of initial generation (such as submitting details on a landing page form) and the point of initial contact. As can be seen in the graph below, the percentage of conversion rates when measured against response time indicates, without question, that a lead should be contacted within 5 minutes (max) of initial generation to hugely maximise potential for conversion. To be clear, this is an arbitrary milestone as a measurement, but the sooner the better!
Indeed, it is true in both the B2B and the B2C worlds that you should aim to contact a lead as soon as possible.
However, the points considered in 2 and 3 of the article should be telling you the need for speed is in fact even greater in B2C lead management.
The Fastest B2C Lead Management Software Solution
Sometimes the fastest B2C lead management software is seen as the best solution, and whilst there are many, many things to consider in addition to this, certainly speed is an incredibly important aspect of B2C lead management. The difference with B2B lead management when determining this speed is the fact that the lead journey from generation to conversion has the potential to be a lot longer when it comes to B2C leads, and as such, any aspect of the process which slows down or stalls this journey can be dangerous and massively hurt conversion rates. Whether you are dealing with leads internally, selling them on, or distributing to a call centre or dialler, speed should still be a number one priority and ideally should occur in real time - or as close as possible to this - no matter how complicated the setup.
Why Does B2C Lead Management Rely On Speed?
B2C lead management heavily relies on speed - particularly when it comes to lead distribution - because in short, consumers tend to be more discerning and harder to convert with every passing minute. This speed, the speed at which they become less likely to convert, is certainly greater than with B2B leads.
One key reason why this is the case can be seen in consumer attitudes towards unsolicited calls. Generally, sales calls, even when unsolicited, are expected in an office environment. A typical consumer, however, tends to be far less tolerant. Indeed, since the introduction of GDPR and the growing public awakening as to how data is handled, consumers are rightfully far more protective of their data and as such won’t even give your sales team half a chance to convert from unsolicited calls.
Now, you may well be thinking at this point “But the call would be solicited as they came in as a lead?” That’s true, but realistically, unless a lead is contacted within the first 5 minutes of submission, the chance of them even remembering is greatly reduced. In this sense, unless you contact quickly, you may as well be making cold calls for all they’ll be worth. With this idea in mind, speed as necessity in B2B lead management is massively amplified.
B2B and B2C Are Variations Upon a Theme
In short, there are many key commonalities between the lead generation of B2C and B2B marketing. The premise is usually the same, you attract prospects to your business through an Offer in they hope they are converted to become a Sale of some sort. Who that prospect is and how you attract them may vary, but the absolute end goal is always relatively similar. The key differences lie in that period between lead generation and eventual conversion, and specifically, what you can do to maximise results through the management of this period. This, in short, is why dedicated lead management B2C platforms exist: to make this process more simple and successful for you, and better for you and your leads overall.