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Strategy
Paul McAvinchey
Co-founder of Product Collective
Asked a question 6 months ago

Is it better to go into the B2B space or B2C space?

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Ant Murphy
Product Coach and Consultant | Occasional Cat Herder 🐈

Tricky question because that's like asking if you should work for a big or small company. Everyone has their own preferences.

There are differences and there are similarities between the two - it's more of a question of personal preference. 

For me I've worked across both and honestly don't mind either. I do find B2B to be a bit more complex and tricky but in saying that a lot comes down to your industry and product too. When I worked in the B2C health space it was super challenging, navigating the regulations, etc was complex!

If you haven't been exposed to both spaces my advice would be to talk to some PMs who have worked in the space you haven't and learn more about it - would it be a good fit for you?

But here is a brain-dump of some of the differences. Not an exhaustive list.

Typically...

B2CB2B
High numbers of customers/usersTypically lower numbers of customers (users however can still he high but generally lower than avg B2C)
Sell direct to usersSell to buyers (often procurement managers) who are different from end-users
As buyers = users, only one set of problems to solveNeed to solve both buyers and users problems. Sometimes competing, who do you prioritize, not always black-and-white
Lower price-point. Simple and transparent pricing.Higher price point. Less transparent pricing, more tailored to the customer
Product-led growth is much more common in the B2C space as well as marketing-ledB2B typically more sales-led as there is more reliance on direct sales teams to win new customers
Typically only have few market-facing teams to work with: Growth + Marketing teamsMore market-facing teams to align too. Growth + Marketing + Sales + Customer Success + etc
Easy to access users for testingCan be tricky to get hold of customers/users to test with
Customers can be forgivingBig corporates can be demanding. Demanding features, special conditions, etc
More saturated marketLess saturated market
More competition and the cost of change for users is low. Therefore higher churnLess competition. Cost of change for companies is generally high. Therefore lower churn/higher retention
'Fail fast, fail often''Fail-safe, and minimize impact to your customers' (your product might be core to running your customer's business)

That's a question that really depends on the type of environment you are interested in. I will say, as a B2B PM, that really good B2B PM's are hard to find. It's not the same environment as B2C, and often you're really more B2B2C if that makes sense. 

Your user base is typically smaller in B2B so experiments take longer, validation takes longer. You also have to deal with big companies demanding features because they pay the most. 

You have to be very comfortable saying no, very good at research techniques, and know how to understand the user AND the buyer. Often, you also have the complicating factor of customer success teams which can mean you have internal and external users. Knowing how to balance all that is a skill and the B2B world needs more PM's with said skills.