How to pick the right B2B and B2C stories.

If you’re selling B2B, what kind of stories should you tell? Who is your actual audience: the B2B customer or the ultimate consumer (ie; your B2B customer’s B2C customer)?

Here’s a great example of this puzzle from one of our customers on the Slack channel.

So who is the audience? And which story do they need to hear?

Zeeshan’s buyer (the Rep who buys the product but doesn’t use it) is your B2B customer, but the end-users (the employees who do use the product) are your B2C customers.

B2B brand stories are simple.

The moral of a good B2B story is “trust us to deliver” A typical B2B brand story goes something like this:

“We will be your trusted partner.
We understand what you need. We deliver on promises. We fix stuff that goes wrong.
What’s good for you is good for us.
For example [insert Simple Sales Stories of existing B2B partner who already trusts you to deliver]”

B2C brand stories are more varied.

There’s room for a wider range of morals in a B2C story: “trust us to deliver… protect… inspire… reassure… delight…” etc. This is because B2C customers are trying to satisfy one of a much wider range of emotional needs.

Rags to Riches and Hero & Guide can help you explore what your B2C customer really needs from you.

Now here’s the clever bit.

In this situation Zeeshan can give the Rep both stories. The combination of B2B plus B2C stories goes something like this:

“We will be your trusted partner…
For example… [B2B story of existing partner]
And your colleagues will love us because we [protect… reassure… simplify… etc]
For example… [B2C story of existing end-user]”

If you’ve got a good B2C story, that’s what your B2B customer will re-tell within the organisation to make him/herself look more credible: “Hey guys, I’ve bought you this new piece of kit. It’s working really well in [X Corp] already.”

2 thoughts on “How to pick the right B2B and B2C stories.”

  1. I’m a B2B product marketer, and I’m pretty excited about this product because I need to do a lot of storytelling to a lot of different audiences in my new job. But after reading this post I’m wondering if I’m really the right customer. This post represents a fundamental misunderstanding of what B2B and B2C means and how companies buy products. B2C is for selling consumer products and consumers pay for their products out of their household budget. The purchase of non-essential goods is usually an emotional one, and you use tactics that appeal to some kind of feeling or lifestyle aspiration. B2B is for selling to businesses and there is a planned budget category that you have to convince them to draw from with the promise that, directly or indirectly, they will make more money. In this example, you have different buyer personas with different interests and different levels of influence on the sale, but neither are B2C.

    Reply
    • Hi KG, it probably wasn’t the best example. But the idea holds good – you need two kinds of story if you’re selling B2B. One for the end user or customer and one for the person who’s making the decision.

      Reply

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