B2B vs. B2C is not about who’s buying, but how you’re selling

I had a really interesting conversation with a founder this morning who said that around 70% of their sales were to consumers and that the remaining was to businesses. In the context of a pitch, they asked, how should they tell the story of their B2B sales?

The simple answer is this: You don’t. The truth is that whether you’re a B2B or a B2C startup, the story isn’t about who’s buying your product, but about how you are selling it. Still, getting your classification right is crucial because it fundamentally impacts your operational structure, marketing approach and, most importantly, revenue channels.

Commonly, founders frame their business model solely based on their target customers. Seems straightforward, doesn’t it? B2B if you’re selling to businesses and B2C if you’re dealing with consumers. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. As alluring as this segmentation sounds, choosing between B2B or B2C should primarily be about how your sales strategies are constructed.

Let’s deconstruct the typical misunderstanding. B2B and B2C, while believed to be stark opposites in many ways, are not purely categories of audiences. Instead, they represent distinct sales and marketing strategies that govern a startup’s approach toward audience engagement, relationship management, and revenue generation.