Why is the Sales Cycle Longer in B2B vs. B2C Advertising?

The Stark Difference Between B2C and B2B Advertising Blog Series

When we stop to think about it, most of us would agree that B2C advertising must be different from B2B advertising.

And for those who have worn both hats, the worlds can seem quite separate. Our whitepaper, The Stark Difference Between B2C and B2B Advertising, developed in partnership with Oracle Data Cloud, considers the flip side of the coin. What can marketers learn by contrasting B2C and B2B advertising?

5 Simple Steps to Planning for a Long Sales Cycle

One of the primary differences between the consumer and business purchasing process is that the sales cycle is longer because:

  • Business purchase decisions are made by multiple people, i.e. an account
  • The cost involved in B2B purchasing is often much higher than B2C, and thus the evaluation process is more elaborate

Many B2B marketers take an Account-Based Marketing (ABM) approach to address these dynamics. With ABM, marketing and sales create a list of target accounts that includes all potential individuals involved in the purchasing decision.

Here are 5 simple steps to ensure continued engagement over the long B2B sales cycle.

  1. Align with sales to develop an account list for sales outreach and opportunities
  2. Build a custom account list based on in-house business priorities, and the individuals to target
  3. Activate that audience across digital channels, monitor campaign response, and sales activity
  4. Nurture individuals and accounts demonstrating interest and intent
  5. Categorize audiences to tailor content based on where they are in the funnel (e.g. “Content strategy X” for “Accounts” that are in “Advanced Buying Stage”)

Long Lead Nurture

By now most marketers are familiar with lead nurture. But with ABM there are a few very important things to keep in mind. Because the B2B purchasing process is longer, creating a thought leadership and credibility-building engine is of paramount importance.

Each individual within an account will need to be targeted by multiple online and offline tactics. Analyze each persona and apply appropriate tactics based on title, function, tenure, budget ownership, etc.

Because the B2B purchasing process is longer, creating a thought leadership and credibility-building engine is of paramount importance.

As an account goes through the evaluation process, it is necessary to stay top-of-mind. Building sufficient brand and trust equity early and consistently over time tips the scale in favor of brands that make this a priority for their advertising efforts. This image represents one person’s nurture journey. You must replicate this across all decision makers. Depending on the industry, this could be four to 10 or more individuals.


One word of advice: If the account fails to close, make sure to include it in the next iteration of Align, Build, Active, Nurture and Categorize.