For decades, business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing strategies have largely been kept separate. However, with more access to detailed consumer data than ever before, and increased reliance on social experiences in consumer decision-making, B2B and B2C audience behaviors are converging, as are the marketing strategies used to reach them.

Perhaps it’s most important to understand and acknowledge that both B2B and B2C customers expect personalized sales experiences. B2C businesses understand this and have been hard at work on it for years, but B2B businesses, generally speaking, have been late to the party in realizing that there are emotion-driven human beings at the end of their customer journey touch points. Isolating how a professional behaves in their business role only tells half the story. Business professionals, last time I checked, do normal consumer things outside of the office, which is to say they engage in B2C media tactics as well. As a result, understanding B2C channels and the importance of each in reaching your purchase decision makers provides a more holistic view that will benefit businesses on both sides of the aisle.

So, where are B2B and B2C audience behaviors colliding?

A timely response to inbound inquiries is the difference between success and failure.

While everyone knows that having a clear digital presence is vital, responsiveness to online inquiries has never been more important because consumers have countless options at their fingertips. A solid engagement strategy builds good rapport and shows your customer that you are proactively thinking about their needs. In other words, responding to inquiries quickly builds brand confidence. In fact, according to an study, up to 50% of sales go to the vendor that is the first to respond because the first to make contact is the best able to frame the conversation and define the value proposition.

They know you before you know them.

Customers are researching your company and your products well before they walk through your door. For B2C, social reviews and peer referrals are increasingly more meaningful and trusted than marketing campaigns. According to a report from marketing agency gyro (email required), a massive 97% of customers have a preferred vendor in mind before the purchase group is established. Further, they found that 84% of the time, the group has a champion for the winning vendor, 83% are more likely to buy from a business whose culture and personality matches their own — similar to consumers — and 89% stated that feeling their needs have been understood is the biggest driver for the group.

CLICK HERE to continue reading the Forbes article by Trever Ackerman, Chief Marketing Officer of WellBiz Brands, Inc. and Fitness Together®.