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B2B vs B2C CRM: Comparison of the Difference Between Them

Do you know the difference between B2B and B2C CRM? Have you ever wondered how customer relationship management differs in various industries? 

Business owners can use the customer relationship management (CRM) software to organize their customers and track them. 

CRM has two types: 

  1. B2B – Business-to-business
  2. B2C – business-to-consumer

The difference is that B2B focuses on a company’s internal processes, while B2C is more focused on external consumers. 

Read on to learn more about this topic. 

Customers are the heartbeat of any business. So it’s critical to manage that relationship if you want to see long-term success. 

However, that doesn’t mean all CRM software is a good option. Why? 

Because B2B CRM software and B2C CRM software aren’t created equal.

A B2B CRM (which stands for Business to Business Customer Relationship Management) is a software platform used to manage your customer (and potential customer) relationships. Your cold leads to your long-serving customers enable you to see and manage all information from sales, marketing, and customer service in one platform.

B2B deals tend to be quite large and can involve multiple decision-makers. Sales cycles can also range from weeks to months, where there can be a lot of communication across various channels. A B2B CRM has features and capabilities to fit your company’s needs and manage all your customer relationships in one place.

As a CRM buyer, you need to distinguish between the capabilities of the two. They’re very different and do different things for an enterprise.

Selling to a company of people over a lengthy, complex sales cycle is vastly different from selling to an individual in the fast-paced consumer world. As such, the tools that power a B2B solution won’t be identical to those aimed at B2C companies.

However, in practice, many systems will offer both B2C and B2B customer relationship management functionality. Especially those on an enterprise-scale that comes with all the bells and whistles.

Confusing, I know. That’s why we’re dedicated to helping make the software selection process easier for you.

In this article, we’ll explore the differences between B2B vs B2C CRM. We’ll also go over some examples of capabilities you’re more likely to find — or need — in each.

Leverage Collective Knowledge


Before we jump in, let’s quickly talk about what some of these terms mean.

  • B2B: Business-to-Business describes companies that sell products and services to other companies. Marketing agencies, vendors that sell HR software and manufacturers are examples of B2B organizations.
  • B2C: Business-to-Consumer describes companies that sell straight to end customers. This includes hotels, retailers, banks, car dealerships and airlines.
  • Customer relationship management: The actions and strategies companies use to manage their interactions with customers. The term can be misleading since this starts at the prospect stage before people convert to paying customers.
  • CRM: This term can refer to the definition listed above, but more often, it refers to the actual software used to accomplish those goals.

Differences between B2B & B2C CRM

Now let’s see how CRM systems are different based on the end audience. On the surface, they may look pretty similar. After all, marketing and selling — and the tools to accomplish them — are the same, no matter who the target customer is. Right?

Not so fast.

Mark Twain once said, “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is a large matter — ’tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning.”

The same goes for CRM software. “Almost right” for your company won’t cut it. You need a system that fits your company’s unique needs based on your selling environment.

B2B and B2C solutions will have overlapping features and capabilities, but their differences are significant enough that you need to distinguish between the two types. That’s why it’s valuable to thoroughly research the products on the market and build your list of CRM requirements ahead of time so you can more easily weed out the products made for a different sales process.

To help you understand the distinction between B2B CRM and B2C CRM, we put together a shortlist of the significant differences:

1. Complexity

CRM Complexity

B2B systems require more complexity because the B2B sales process is much more involved.

First, there’s channel complexity. A B2B company often works with vendor partners, resellers, or affiliate companies, selling to other businesses through multiple channels.

B2B CRM systems need to account for these diverse pipelines that target various products across a range of channels and markets. Pipeliner, for example, lets users create multiple pipelines that make it possible to track different buyer journeys. 

This is helpful if you need to separate your sales process into segments based on outbound versus inbound sales, partnerships, and other situations unique to your business.

However, a much more important and distinctive feature of B2B CRM software is a process that focuses on developing individual contacts within the larger company.

Because B2B buying isn’t based on a single person’s needs, it’s not as simple as someone deciding they want ribs and heading to Outback Steakhouse. Instead, the process is more like trying to pick a restaurant during a family reunion.

Gartner’s research suggests that B2B buying groups are anywhere from six to 10 people. On top of that, they each gather information from several sources that need to be merged into a unified plan before a decision happens.

Many of the best B2B CRM tools have specific functions to identify “gatekeepers” or influential people within a business. For example, customized fields track the progress of a deal based on whom your salespeople are talking to. 

Getting through to the right person or people is paramount in B2B sales, and B2B CRM software reflects that.

B2C selling, by contrast, is straightforward. Think about the last time you bought a pair of shoes or went out for dinner. You may be looked at some reviews and checked prices, but it wasn’t an extensive process.

Because the demand for customer-facing sales is much less complex, B2C CRM software doesn’t require the same functionality level in managing channel complexity. But B2C businesses face their challenges and need a CRM that has its range of tools to get the individual customer to make a choice.

2. Sales Cycle Length

The B2B sales cycle is more like a marathon, while B2C decisions are similar to the 100-yard dash. The length of a sales cycle in the B2B world varies and depends on several factors, but it can last anywhere from a few months to upwards of a year.

B2C purchases can happen in as little as a few minutes. If you include the various marketing messages people are exposed to before they buy, that pushes it out to days, weeks or months in some cases. That’s still significantly shorter and requires software with features that cater to the shorter period.

3. Deal Sizes and Number of Leads

B2B CRM Leads

B2B purchases will almost always cost more. Sometimes significantly more. B2C products and services cost far less, apart from exceptions like down payments for a house or car. That impacts how a CRM is designed.

B2C companies focus on repeat purchases in the consumer world since they don’t get nearly the ROI from a single purchase as B2B companies do. This creates a need for deep data analysis. These insights can show B2C businesses how customers interact during each purchase, revealing trends and showing where users can cross-sell and upsell products.

On the flip side, B2C generates significantly more leads than B2B, which translates to a much higher number of customers. This means that the database in a B2C CRM needs to support a greater volume of leads and have deep functionality for handling data for thousands or millions of individuals.

Along those lines, B2C CRM systems also need more robust tools to handle marketing and customer retention in massive quantities. Another main difference is that B2C solutions include contact management elements to help sales and marketing teams track everyone in the system. Software for B2B efforts more often turns to tools for account management.

4. Marketing Touchpoints

In today’s information-soaked environment, the traditional, esteemed marketing funnel is a bit of a misnomer. Instead, the decision process is complex and more often mirrors Sam and Frodo’s wandering journey to Mordor than a neatly linear path.

That aside, for our purposes, the how — marketing funnel vs flywheel vs consumer decision journey — isn’t as important as the what. Namely, the different ways your company interacts with prospects, leads, and customers.

This goes back to complexity. If a company will drop $150,000 on new ERP software, they’ll need more convincing than a college student buying a refurbished MacBook Air. Therefore, the tools used to handle and track these touchpoints are different based on your audience.



Suppose an organization sells BI tools to other businesses. Its CRM will likely have features for building profiles of the companies in its target audience and picking out key individuals in those companies. Sales reps and managers can follow the progression with company representatives through every stage to nurture each lead and take advantage of upselling and cross-sell opportunities.

CRM cross-sell opportunities

If you’re on the search for a CRM for B2B, here are a few specific capabilities you should be on the lookout for:

  • Automation: Because leads are more valuable, losing even one or two can deal a significant blow. Automated workflows help sales reps manage their workloads to keep contact information so nothing important slips through the cracks.
  • Forecasting: Sales cycles are more predictable in B2B, making it easier to forecast growth based on historical performance. The goal is to predict customer behaviour and project financial outcomes accurately.
  • Enhanced tracking: B2B sales processes cover more stages than B2C. To that end, B2B CRM solutions provide greater visibility into exactly what stage a prospect or lead is at.
  • CPQ applications: These modules or integrations allow B2B companies (and some B2C businesses) more effectively sell complex, highly configurable products, such as industrial equipment. They’re handy for organizations in a supply chain.
  • Quote management: Generating quotes is an essential part of the B2B sales process. Before a sale is finalized, the customer will want a breakdown of what their money is buying. Quote management software allows users to create a document that lays out the details and can help prevent order mistakes for complex purchases.

Manage Customer Relationships with B2B CRM to Win More Revenue

In brief, B2B CRM, similarly to B2C, provides automation capabilities for your marketing, sales, and customer service. Yet, B2B processes are usually longer and more complex than in B2C. They involve building tighter customer relations and collaborating with multiple stakeholders within marketing sales and customer service activities. Gladly, B2B CRM is up for the task.

1. Marketing

While in B2C, businesses usually focus on generating as many leads as possible, B2B businesses care more about the quality of information and attracting those who will potentially stay loyal. B2B CRM attracts leads through targeted and personalized marketing campaigns with the help of email marketing, ads, and other means.

2. Sales

Once the lead got qualified, your sales team starts a conversation with it. This stage is likely to involve multiple stakeholders from your customer’s side. To keep the conversation effective, B2B CRM stores all the contact information of each respective representative and notifies you of essential sales milestones and activities, like quota deadlines, meetings, etc., up until the deal is closed.

3. Customer Service

CRM Customer Service Automation

While B2C and B2B customer service processes have a lot in common, in B2B, customers tend to stay with your brand longer. Thus, in B2B, it’s essential to maintain your customers’ trust and loyalty by personalized, in-depth help. So, practices standards for B2C customer service, like bulk actions and chatbot assistance, would not be relevant in the B2B sector.

B2B CRM core features

  • Customer journeys

To design your sales process and plan your customer interactions across all customer lifecycle stages, from a prospect to a contract.

  • Marketing and sales workflow automation

Automate your marketing and sales repetitive tasks and streamline content delivery with various templates, including emails and landing pages.

  • Sales and marketing performance analytics

To track sales and marketing teams’ progress and timely spot opportunities for improvement.

  • Lead and opportunity scoring

Via advanced analytics based on your sales data and AI-based predictions on how likely you are to close the deal with a particular customer.

  • 360-view of a customer

Unifies all customer data, including all the decision-makers contacts, requests, and interactions at every stage of the customer journey.

  • Omni-channel outreach

For the comprehensive coverage of marketing campaigns and extended collaboration opportunities during the sales process and after.

  • Case and knowledge management

To set automated case assignment rules and provide your customers with documentation and fulfillment of customer’s inquiries through customizable templates.

Best CRM software for the B2B market

1. Salesforce

Suitable for businesses of all sizes. 

According to the 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant, Salesforce yet holds the position of market-leading CRM provider for another year. To aid B2B businesses, Salesforce provides the following key features:

  • Contact Management
  • Customer Journey Management
  • Lead and Opportunity Management
  • Reports and Dashboards
  • Sales Forecasting
  • Workflow and Approvals
  • Partner Management
  • Case and Knowledge Management
  • Omni-Channel Outreach

Pricing: Starts at $25 user/month

2. Dynamics 365

Suitable for businesses of all sizes. Listed as one of the market leaders in Gartner Magic Quadrant 2020, Dynamics 365 provides the following key features for the B2B market:

  • Advanced Lead & Opportunity Scoring
  • Workflow Automation
  • AI-power Insights and Analytics
  • 360-degree Customer View
  • Business Card Scanner
  • Customer Journeys
  • Prospects Segmentation
  • Event Management
  • Case and Knowledge Management
  • Omni-Channel Outreach

Pricing: Starts at $95 user/month for the Enterprise edition


Suitable for small businesses. While, in general, it may seem more appealing to B2C companies, here are some more prominent HubSpot features for B2B are:

  • Reporting Dashboard and Company Insights
  • Deal Tracking
  • Sales Pipeline Management
  • Automated Logging and Updating of Customer Deals and Sales Activities
  • Email Automation
  • Activity Stream with notifications on email opens, link clicks, etc.
  • Case and Knowledge Management
  • Omni-Channel Outreach

Pricing: Starts at $40 user/months


Perfect for small and mid-sized companies, Zoho CRM is the leading software for niche businesses in Gartner Magic Quadrant 2020. Here are some prominent features for the B2B market:

  • Lead and Opportunity Scoring
  • Lead and Deal Management
  • Advanced Contract Management
  • Workflow Automation
  • Sales Process Builder
  • Sales and Marketing Analytics
  • Case and Knowledge Management
  • Omni-Channel Outreach

Pricing: Starts at $12 user/month

Custom CRM development

Custom CRM Development

If none of the platform-based solutions seems to fit your business needs due to the nature of your marketing and sales processes, you may always go for custom CRM. 

You may either obtain it via deep customization of a platform-based solution or by fully developing your own custom CRM. Both options are viable and may bring up to 123% ROI. Here is an example of how one of ScienceSoft’s customers obtained a custom Dynamics CRM solution to address their specific sales management needs.


For your B2B CRM to bring the desired value, at its core, it should provide the functionality to streamline your collaboration with clients on various stages, tailored to your and your client’s business specifics. 

If you’re looking for a CRM solution to support your CRM objectives, ScienceSoft is ready to help you choose the most feasible option and assist with its technical implementation; just let us know.