Is 2013 the Year to Add a Direct Consumer Sales Channel?
Adding a B-to-C sales channel will require a big change in focus and scale. For example, a B-to-B customer service department is going to have to starting answering a wider range of questions. In addition, legal and regulatory infrastructure and costs will increase. A PR department will receive more work because communication is going to move more in the public eye than it was in the B-to-B space.
2. Increasing business development. In terms of growth, B-to-B companies work directly with purchasing managers who are responsible for buying a narrow range of products and services. On the other hand, B-to-C companies work with consumers directly who buy a wide range of products and services. It's important that organizations looking to make this move have the bodies on board to develop and maintain strong relationships with retail buyers and consumers.
3. Establishing well-timed campaigns. While every campaign requires planning, B-to-B campaigns can essentially be launched over the phone or via email to known buyers. It's as simple as that. On the other hand, B-to-C campaigns take a tremendous amount of planning, precision channel management, public relations and a host of other marketing efforts in order to reach the intended audience. Clearly, there's a lot more work and specific targeting required in the latter model. Moving to a B-to-C model might call for additional marketing staff or the need to create new positions such as a mobile marketing or social media strategist.
4. Increasing internal bandwidth. When it comes to adding a consumer channel, there are some very important questions that a company must be able to answer. First, do you have the capacity to handle production? Do you have the ability to interface? These are crucial questions that you need to be able to answer "yes" to before moving forward. With B-to-B, purchasing managers provide a forecast of what product is needed and when. The business can push back if delivery dates are unrealistic. Only high-end customer service is required, as the end user should be familiar with product capabilities.