Beyond a simple label, the B4B concept brings together a business model philosophy based on giving the customer what they need and not what the company wants to sell. It represents more than meets the eye because this approach is profound, as it leads you to a digital transformation of your company.
People are very quick to name names and, deep down, I don’t think it’s bad, because we need to communicate. Although, it is also true that language falls short. It happens to me with the B4B, because I imagine it with many links with the clients that support it and that 3 letters are not able to transmit.
Therefore, today I want to tell you what B4B is, why we say that it is a natural evolution of B2B business and why, for me, it is the basis for the success of 21st century companies .
Stay here, keep reading, and you will tell me what you think of this not-so-new business model.
What is the B4B?
B4B or business for business is a business model between companies that seeks to provide solutions to their customers, keeping the buyer’s need as a premise and not the seller’s product or service. (By Sonia Duro Limia)
It is based on focusing the business strategy on meeting the needs of the target customer , which entails a much more humanized business model . It gives a twist to the traditional approach we have about the B2B industry.
If before the company thought of a product and service to sell and then created the need in the consumer, now, with the B4B, the opposite happens: first it analyzes how to cover the client’s needs and, from there, the solution is designed .
In this Leader Selling podcast, “ Digital Selling for successful companies of the 21st century ”, I talk with my partner (Núria Teuler) about this topic: B4B: the evolution of B2B for companies of the 21st century
From B2B to B4B
The move from B2B to B4B was not sudden, although this concept began to be discussed in 2015. It has been the result of a process of brand humanization and the detection and internalization of business values focused more on people and not so much In the economy.
The change of the preposition “to” ( business to business ) by “for” ( business for business ) says much more than it may seem. This way of calling the business model implies a much more natural, more egalitarian relationship between companies, in which mutual benefit and enrichment are the protagonists.
This did not happen in B2B, since the connotation of “to” implies that the seller imposes his product or service and the buyer can decide little.
The 3 main limitations of B2B
Why has B2B become obsolete in the business world?
B2B: business is done between companies
Today we have understood that business is not done between companies, but between the people of those companies . Being aware of this is essential to be successful in a negotiation because you need to know what your customer’s needs are covered by what you want them to buy from you. Therefore, the first thing you have to do is get to know your buyer (your Buyer Persona).
The B2B has little to offer here since the starting point of the negotiation is to show the characteristics of the product or service.
B2B: endogamic point of view
Another aspect that makes B2B die is the endogamous vision of the business , which is focused on its benefit and not on that of the client.
In today’s society, people are more relevant and this directly collides with old business principles. Consumers demand to be able to talk to brands and this concept, typical of the 2nd and 3rd industrial revolutions, does not please the buyer.
B2B: disregard for the environment
The care for the environment is one of the failures of B2B models.
There are still many companies that have their way of production or marketing based on the canons of the twentieth century. Aspects as basic as recycling or the reduction of polluting gases, have not just been fulfilled in them.
This leaves them out of the sympathy of the 21st century buyer.
Let’s see how the B4B model counteracts these details.
The 3 main contributions of the B4B
Why is the B4B imposed as a successful business model?
B4B: Advisory Selling
The Inbound Marketing has greatly helped the B4B because it focuses on 100% in attracting the customer, selling through content that meet needs and answer questions on the buyer.
Therefore, one of the most powerful tools that you can use in your B4B business model is consultative selling .
B4B: Buyer Persona is the center of the strategy
The Buyer Persona appears as one of the first steps to define in a business and marketing strategy, fundamentally the digital one. Knowing your buyer well is key to being able to give away those contents that improve their quality of life (personal and work).
The B4B has understood this perfectly and, precisely this, is what, probably, most differentiates it from the B2B.
This implies a change in processes, digitization, digital transformation and a new way of understanding business. The one in which the objective of a company is for its customers to get theirs.
In other words, if you are my client and I help you achieve your goal, surely you will want to continue working with me. And, that, makes me get mine. Pretty logical, right?
B4B: Care for the Environment
The care for the environment is one of the fundamental principles of the people and this has been integrated rapidly in the securities of companies that base their business model on the B4B.
The SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) were agreed by 193 countries, in the same year that the B4B concept was born. In them, protecting the planet is one of the 3 pillars that are proposed to people. Evidently:
- if people make companies and
- if people integrate them into our way of life,
- then companies incorporate it into their brand philosophy.
It is pure logic. And this, the B4B businesses have understood.
How to evolve towards the B4B? Ask yourself these questions.
Mag Rajasekaran was the first to talk about B4B in 2015.
He posed 5 questions that you too can ask yourself and that will help you reflect on how to evolve towards a model of today’s successful companies .
- What should you change in your business model to help your client achieve their goal?
- How can you structure your organization to push your client to achieve their goal?
- How can you create products, services and, in general, solutions, to help your client achieve success?
- What effective route planning can you define to engage your customer?
- What good experiences can you create to maintain your customer’s loyalty and make their purchase cycle longer?
As you can see, it is a 100% customer-centric approach that does not neglect your own business profitability. It is, as I said a few lines above: your success is your success .
Once you understand the concept of B4B and analyze the limitations of the archaic B2B, it is very likely that you want to achieve a more current and successful brand positioning (or so I would like to think ).
The focus on the client, the person, the humanization of your company, are fundamental in this almost quarter of the 21st century that we live.
Looking back is always to learn and not repeat mistakes. The world evolves, as Darwin said about species, and business models are one of them.
Focusing on the value of the person and protecting the planet we live on are two pillars of this much more humanized business philosophy. But you have to do it for real.
At Leader Selling we already move with a B4B business model , and you? Do you also dare to evolve?