An article by Darrell Wilkins on 08 Feb 2022
Summary: In FinTech, B2B and B2C are inadequate terms to describe your audience. Retail and enterprise more realistically represent your prospects and help you optimise your website more accurately.
Most people (correctly) assume positioning, marketing, and sales should be different for B2B and B2C consumers. You wouldn’t target a high-powered CEO looking for a banking API solution for their company the same way you’d target an everyday person searching for a new credit card.
But simply differentiating B2B and B2C isn’t sufficient. And basing your marketing and sales strategies on whether you're a B2B or B2C FinTech often means wasting precious resources on ineffective tactics. That includes optimising your website’s performance in a way that doesn’t reach your audience.
There’s a more useful way to discuss your company and target your prospects: enterprise or retail.
Why the Terms B2B and B2C Are Insufficient
B2C is a relatively straightforward term. It describes one consumer (maybe two if that person has a partner) looking to buy a product or service from a business.
On its face, B2B seems just as easy to understand. It’s a business purchasing a product or service from another business. But there are different types of B2Bs and the way people buy from there is very different.
Consider this: A FinTech selling a recurring billing system or expense tracking software to small businesses or solopreneurs is technically B2B. But so is a company like Mambu that offers large scale API infrastructure to build a new bank.
The consumers who need a plugin for a five-person business vs. an API for a bank are obviously not the same. Selling to them both in the same way would be a mistake. They require different kinds and amounts of information to make their decisions.
The bottom line is that the price or size of the solution you’re selling is much more indicative of the types of customers you must target rather than if you’re a B2C or B2B business. That’s why enterprise (large, costly solutions) and retail (smaller, commodity-like solutions) are much more useful terms.
Characteristics of an Enterprise FinTech and its Customers
An enterprise company sells large, high-value systems and software. They create and distribute the infrastructure on which others build — think Cloud banking APIs and card issuing technologies. Enterprise-scale solutions are always B2B.
Attributes of enterprise-scale organisations include:
- Fewer customers who spend lots of money. You can expect anywhere from £hundreds of thousands to £millions per customer per year.
- Prospects have already viewed your website. Regardless of how a prospect first heard of an enterprise FinTech, they’ve looked at the website and done research by the time they’re talking to your sales team.
- Long sales cycle. It might take several months or even years for an enterprise FinTech to close a sale. The cost makes it a high-risk situation; prospects want to know the reward will be worth the long-term investment. They also need time to research and run options by multiple people.
- Complex, consultative sales style. Because purchasing an enterprise-scale solution is expensive and high-risk, prospects will want to consult educational resources on the company’s website as well as company representatives.
- Multiple decision-makers. It’s often true that members of the c-suite have the final say on whether or not to engage an enterprise FinTech. But typically, six to ten people are involved in the decision before it gets to that level. Interns might research options, and developers will want to sign-off on any solution, too.
Tips for Marketing and Selling to Enterprise Prospects
The reason we distinguish between enterprise and retail — and not B2B and B2C — is because it affects how you target potential customers. So, how do the listed enterprise attributes influence marketing and sales tactics?
First of all, if you work for an enterprise-scale organisation, you need to have ample resources on your website to hold prospects’ interest over the potentially long sales cycle. Make sure they can find answers to common questions and details on what it’s like to work with you.
You also need resources that speak to prospects in every stage of the buy cycle and at every job level. That includes low-level researchers looking for educational materials all the way up to c-suite decision-makers seeking validation for their choice.
Characteristics of a Retail Company and its Customers
In contrast with enterprise organisations, retail organisations sell directly to consumers or small businesses. Importantly, retail can refer to either B2C or B2B companies.
Additional attributes of retail organisations include:
- Lots of small-value customers. Retail businesses are all about customer volume, not value. Each customer spends just a few £hundred to a few £thousand per year.
- Short sales cycle. Retail customers are more likely to have an immediate need, so they pull the trigger quickly. It’s also a relatively low-risk purchase because of both its low ticket price and low cost to switch solutions.
- Transactional sales style. Because a retail solution is generally lower risk than enterprise, prospects don’t require as much information or hand-holding before they make a purchase decision. They may simply look for a sign-up or buy now option and click.
- Single decision-maker. Another factor contributing to retail’s short sales cycle is that only one person is generally required to make the decision.
Tips for Marketing and Selling to Retail Prospects
A retail prospect has different needs than an enterprise prospect. If you’re a part of a retail organisation, know that your potential customers are looking for instant gratification to fill an immediate need. And remember, the person behind the screen is likely the sole decision-maker.
Persuade your prospects in the moment by making it easy for them to purchase your solution then and there. Instead of overloading them with educational resources, point them towards your sign up. Close the deal before they have a chance to consider the many other options competing with your company.
What About Website Performance?
Both enterprise and retail organisations will benefit from improved site speed. You’ll see increased conversions, better SEO, and improved User Experience (UX).
However, each category should optimise its website for different metrics to strengthen overall website performance.
Most Valuable Site Metrics for Enterprise Websites
If you’re an enterprise company, you should primarily focus on two things: Value creation metrics and tuning your UX for repeat visitors.
Of course, UX is important for everyone. But it’s more important for enterprise-scale businesses to focus on repeat visits because the sales cycle is so long and prospects will be using your website so frequently. At the very least, the way you design and test your UX is different from retail businesses. Your prospects are more likely to have arrived on your website from your content marketing or social strategy. You want to guide prospects from there through your product pages and previous success stories. It’s much more powerful if you let them reach out to you when they are ready rather than try a hard sell on your website.
Value creation metrics things like: are prospects visiting your site more than once? How much and what content are they interacting with over time? These metrics are important because you want to optimise your website for repeat visits since enterprise sales can take years.
Remember, enterprise prospects are more particular. Just maintaining a high performance website in general shows them you attend to details and strive to be better than your competitors.
Most Valuable Site Metrics for Retail Websites
The two metrics retail organisations should focus on are quick conversions and SEO performance.
You should care about conversions because retail FinTech’s generally rely on having a large number of customers. If you aren’t converting prospects regularly, you might struggle to reach the customer volume your business requires.
SEO is more important in the retail FinTech space because there’s simply so much competition. Just think about how many credit card options a searcher has, for example.
As a result, even small improvements in performance and SEO can have a bigger impact on conversion rates because of the high level of competition.
One final note: Retail businesses are more likely to have visitors on mobile devices, including low-end phones or tablets. You must build your site for mobile users. Additionally, using real user monitoring and optimising search performance for long-tail keywords can yield significant conversion benefits.
Better Terminology Leads to Better Website Performance
It’s not that B2B and B2C are bad or incorrect terms. It’s just that they don’t fully encompass your FinTech’s specific audience.
By using enterprise and retail instead, you can better optimise your website’s performance and select more effective sales and marketing methods.
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