B2B lead generation, much more so than its B2C counterpart, is a complex process for many reasons, with much of the difficulties involved due to scale.
First of all, communication is also a more difficult and formalized process since it can be rather complicated to tease out exactly who the decision makers are and how to best appeal to them. With B2C sales, on the other hand, you’re often dealing with individuals who are empowered to make their own decisions. When dealing with a prospective buyer of one, it’s not hard to determine who to tailor your approach to. This complication of communication is intra-office as well as inter-office, especially when dealing with larger organizations that need to communicate between departments in order to get things done.
The value of the sale is usually going to be significantly higher than when dealing with individuals, which can add to increased caution. Finally, there’s the often intangible nature of the product being sold, which can make pitching said product more difficult. It’s a lot easier selling an apple to a boy than it is selling a complex CRM solution to a 70-person organization.
All these points add up to one conclusion, or rather two that are inextricably intertwined: The B2B sales cycle is complex and takes time. There’s a handy B2B sales cycle chart we located on an industry blog the other day that really drives this point home. Although there’s a pretty wide and even distribution among the results, with 17% of respondents claiming the B2B sales cycle takes about one month and 11% claiming it takes over one year, the responses clearly skew toward the long side when compared to B2C sales. What B2C sales process takes over a year? Even that most complex of traditional sales, the home, takes significantly less time than that.
Nevertheless, this is a pretty telling graphic which does a good job of illustrating the complexities inherent in the B2B sales process.