Difference in B2B vs B2C Sales Cycle for PPC Ads

Admin Jan 31st, 2019

B2B and B2C have different ways of doing business, which is why the approach to PPC is also different. As consumers, we may research a product or service before purchasing and often do not consult anyone else before buying low dollar items. We click an ad for an item, then purchase immediately or view some reviews first before returning to the site with our credit cards.

Making a purchase on behalf of a business, B2B, is much more complex involving multiple decision makers and a lengthier period of time before purchasing. Employees at big companies are unlikely to make that $200,000 purchase without involving other decision makers. With big companies and expensive products, more people take part in the review process before that final decision is made so the marketer’s approach to PPC should be different. The below image from Resonance humorously, but accurately, highlights the sales cycle of B2C compared to B2B.

With PPC for business, the goal is more about awareness and making the business aware of your brand so when it comes time for a decision, you are one of the options. It is still important to speak to buyers at the different stages of their journey while also recognizing the person in the initial research stages is not likely to be the decision maker.

Setting Goals & CTAs

A retailer selling clothes to a consumer looks for an immediate buy. This can be conveyed in an ad with a promo code as an ad extension or an offer of free shipping for a limited time with an ad customizer. The ideal scenario is an immediate conversion for an item that may only cost $50 and the goal is for the site visitor to add to cart and ultimately purchase.

A business selling to another business has a different approach with PPC ads. Rather than inviting an immediate purchase, the CTA is much softer, with phrases such as

try us out, get a free white paper, or schedule a demo. The offer will be an exchange of information rather than an exchange of money.

Since the sales cycle is longer, there is a much bigger investment before a purchase will happen and B2B is about capturing and qualifying leads.

B2B Landing Pages

All PPC ads, whether B2C and B2B need corresponding content on landing pages that match the query that brought them there and facilitate lead generation. Appropriate page copy tells visitors that they will receive what was stated in the ad. White the red button above tells a visitor what they can get (an eBook), the site copy should include a description of what that content is eBook is about. Offering a free eBook is not a strong enough offer for someone to part with their business contact information. Equally important it is to be clear about what happens when they exchange information for that eBook. Are they now on a daily email list? Will they be contacted for a sales demo?

Since B2B purchases are complex, there is a temptation for many to highlight all the features of what they sell along on the landing page and include remotely relevant add-ons. Instead, the landing page should guide users toward what they should do right now. Make it easy by reducing noise and distractions. If the goal is an email address in exchange for an eBook, keep the focus on completing that action.

When setting goals for your PPC campaign, if there is a clear case for having two CTAs on a B2B landing page, the primary CTA should be toward the top of the landing page. A secondary CTA provides an opportunity to get something from visitors before they leave the page but should not compete with the primary CTA. People who are not ready to “commit” by providing their phone number and email address for a download may be willing to at least subscribe to a blog. When using a secondary CTA like this, it should be placed lower on the page or be less dominant visually.

Speaking to Emotions vs Logic

All purchases have some emotion behind them and consumer purchases are frequently about how they make people feel. My favorite example on this is Starbucks. They don’t sell coffee. They sell an experience and their powerful brand enables them to charge a premium.

Emotion can still be used with B2B by appealing to an emotional level but it needs to very quickly include logic because of the stakes involved with a B2B purchase. As a consumer, I can take a risk with a $50 purchase from a brand I’m unfamiliar with or a $5 cup of coffee from a brand I know. However, if I had a say in a B2B purchase that may cost my company thousands, or millions, of dollars, my concern is risk aversion more than emotion. As a B2B buyer, I don’t want to be responsible for that much money down the drain.

What emotion can do in the B2B world is convey a company’s values and demonstrate how they can be trusted. This has to do more with data than feelings. Clarity about what the product or service can do is more meaningful than a flashy website and that is what’s more likely to win the battle between logic and emotions. Your B2B landing page must have rational information to back up your emotional appeal.

Tracking Performance of B2B Lead Generation

Remember that people early in the B2B process are not yet ready to make a significant investment, but they may be willing to exchange their contact information for a compelling offer. Because of this, with B2B campaigns, it’s common to not see an immediate ROI in terms of revenue.

But all marketers know it is still important to monitor what it costs to run ads and how many leads were acquired for that amount spent. This includes tracking the total cost, the volume, search impressions share, and CTR, to name a few. For example, if you discover a good CTR, but low conversions, you have data to help you determine whether your offer should be revised.

One you determine which metrics are right for your business, whether it’s for a Saas business, E-commerce or another category, Supermetrics for Google Sheets is one option for removing the manual steps of reporting on your historical data, helping you review leads and opportunities, and guiding you when adjusting your PPC campaigns.