Exploring B2B: Definition, Characteristics and Real-World Examples

B2B or business-to-business refers to commercial transactions and activities that occur between two businesses.

Business-to-business (B2B) is a key driver of global economic interactions. 73% of Millennials are actively part of B2B buying decisions, showing their importance. Comprising around 23.6% of business by sales share, B2B transactions play a substantial role in the economic landscape.

At its core, Business-to-business companies craft specialized offerings for fellow businesses, fostering collaboration and trade. However, this model brings unique challenges, like managing cash flow, necessitating ongoing innovation, and steadfast customer loyalty for sustained success. Experts predict that in 2027 the worldwide B2B e-commerce industry will likely hit $20.9 trillion. It represents a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 17.5% from 2020 to 2027.

What is B2B?

B2B or business-to-business refers to commercial transactions and activities that occur between two businesses. For instance, a wholesaler and a retailer, or a manufacturer and a supplier. It involves the exchange of goods, services, or information between businesses, rather than between businesses and individual consumers (B2C). Business to Business companies cover a wide range of transactions, from getting raw materials to distributing finished products and everything in between.

A simple example of B2B is when a big seller works with a smaller shop or a company that makes things partners with a big seller.

How does B2B work?

In the B2B market, one business sells things or services to another. B2B transactions involve one company purchasing raw materials or services from another for manufacturing or conducting business. They are essential for business growth and can include software, marketing, and product suppliers.

B2B companies span across various industries, including SaaS, marketing, and product suppliers. The B2B model involves several types of relationships, including:

  • Manufacturer-Distributor – A manufacturer sells its products to a distributor, who in turn sells them to retailers.
  • Manufacturer-Wholesaler – A manufacturer directly sells its products to a wholesaler.
  • Service Provider-Client – Businesses offer a range of services to other businesses, including marketing, consulting, and financial services.

B2B companies typically have larger budgets and spend more on purchasing, potentially leading to higher profits than B2C companies.

Types of B2B Market

Understanding the various categories within the B2B market is crucial for businesses to target their customers effectively. Here, we examine the four primary categories: Producers, Resellers, Governments, and Institutions.

  • Producers – Producers are companies that purchase goods and services to either transform them into other products or offer them as part of their own services. Examples include large corporations like Procter & Gamble and General Motors and smaller businesses like restaurants and local service providers. These companies rely on suppliers for resources and components to create their final products.
  • Resellers – Resellers are entities that sell goods and services produced by other businesses without significantly altering them. This category includes wholesalers, brokers, and retailers such as Walmart and Target. Collaborating with resellers can greatly expand a business’s sales opportunities and reach new customer segments.
  • Governments – Governments, including the United States government at various levels, are major purchasers of goods and services for diverse purposes, from office supplies to military equipment. The business-to-government (B2G) market offers significant selling opportunities for companies of all sizes, including small businesses and enterprises owned by minority groups or disabled veterans.
  • Institutions – Institutional markets comprise non-profit organizations like charities, hospitals, and private colleges. These entities purchase various products and services, often prioritizing cost-effectiveness to maximize their community impact.

Examples for B2B Companies

Different types of businesses fall under the B2B model, and here are a couple of examples:


Microsoft is a successful B2B company offering various business solutions like cloud services and enterprise software. Well-known products like Microsoft Office and the Azure cloud platform help businesses be more productive.

Microsoft is trusted worldwide for its security, innovation, and wide network of partners. In the year ending December 31, 2023, Microsoft earned $227.583 billion, showing an 11.51% increase from the previous year.


Even though Amazon might seem like a B2C (business-to-consumer) company, it’s also a significant player in the B2B market space. With a massive online marketplace, Amazon provides businesses access to a wide range of products and suppliers.

In the year ending September 30, 2023, Amazon’s revenue was $554.028 billion, increasing by 10.32% year-over-year. Amazon Business, a feature tailored for businesses, helps streamline procurement processes, access bulk pricing, and enjoy specific benefits.

Amazon’s efficient logistics and reliable delivery services make it a trusted platform for B2B sales transactions.

Key traits of successful B2B businesses

Successful businesses in the B2B market exhibit key traits that contribute to their ongoing growth. Let’s look at them one by one.

Key traits of successful B2B businesses

  • Focus on long-term relationships – B2B enterprises prioritize creating strong and lasting relationships. They invest time and effort in fostering trust and collaboration with clients. For instance, a software development company has worked closely with clients, adapting solutions to evolving needs.
  • Vision and value – Successful B2B businesses have a clear vision of their purpose and the value they provide to their customers. They understand their unique selling proposition and focus on delivering tangible client benefits.
  • Understand Target Market – They thoroughly understand their target market, including industry trends, pain points, and customer needs. By comprehensively knowing their audience, they can tailor their products, services, and marketing strategies to address their clients’ challenges and objectives effectively.
  • Customer Loyalty – Successful B2B businesses prioritize building and maintaining strong client relationships. They focus on delivering exceptional customer experiences, providing reliable support, and consistently meeting or exceeding expectations.
  • Value over price – B2B businesses underline the value of their products or services. They showcase how their offerings bring real benefits and a positive return on investment. For instance, a marketing agency will demonstrate how their services boost a client’s sales and brand visibility using their value and ROI metrics.
  • Data-driven approach – Data is a powerful tool. Successful businesses leverage analytics to make informed choices, refine strategies, and improve performance. A logistics company, for instance, might use data to optimize delivery routes and enhance efficiency.
  • Technological innovation – Staying ahead in the B2B market involves a commitment to tech innovation. Prosperous B2B businesses embrace cutting-edge technologies to stay competitive. An IT solutions provider, for example, might consistently update and improve its software offerings to meet evolving client needs.

B2B vs B2C

B2B isn’t the only way businesses are part of the supply chain. Business to Business companies sell things to other businesses, government organizations, and charities. Conversely, there’s B2C (business-to-consumer), where companies sell things straight to regular people. Here’s a simplified table highlighting the key differences between B2B and B2C:

Target AudienceOther businessesIndividual consumers
Transaction TypeBusiness-to-business transactionsBusiness-to-consumer transactions
Decision-Making ProcessComplex, multiple stakeholders, longer sales cycleSimpler, individual preferences, shorter sales cycle
Relationship FocusLong-term relationshipsTransaction-based, emphasis on positive experiences
Product/Service ComplexityOften complex and tailored to business needsMore standardized, geared towards individual preferences
Marketing ApproachDetailed presentations, educational content, relationship-buildingEmotional, brand-centric, advertising, promotions
Sales VolumeFewer but higher-value transactionsHigher volume, often lower unique values
BrandingEmphasizes expertise, reliability, problem-solvingEmphasizes emotions, lifestyle, personal connection

The B2B market offers various challenges and opportunities. Let’s look at them one by one.

Challenges and Opportunities in B2B

B2B startups confront exceptional challenges but possess ample opportunities to thrive and expand.

Challenges and Opportunities in B2B

Opportunities in B2B

  • Higher Deal Sizes – B2B transactions average $491, offering substantial revenue per deal compared to B2C’s $147 average.
  • Increased Customer Loyalty – B2B customers tend to be more loyal due to satisfaction with products/services, resulting in lower churn rates.
  • Diverse Target Markets – B2B sales can target various industries and geographies, providing ample opportunities for growth and expansion.
  • Digital Transformation – Leveraging online advertising and digital platforms streamlines transactions, enabling easy bulk orders in an efficient digital model.

Challenges in B2B

  • Repeat Purchases – Convincing B2B buyers for repeat purchases is challenging, hindering long-term loyalty establishment.
  • Market Size Limitations – Small B2B market poses risks for small and midsize organizations due to limited market size.
  • Intense Competition – Small market size intensifies competition among businesses.
  • Slow Decision-Making – Involvement of multiple stakeholders leads to slow decision-making processes.
  • Price Negotiations – B2B buyers often negotiate for better prices, discounts, or additional services when purchasing in bulk.
  • Supply Chain Management – Managing e-commerce supply chain complexity, especially with multiple partners needing access to the same information, risks slowdowns due to miscommunication.


What is B2B commerce?

B2B commerce refers to the digital exchange of goods or services between business to business companies. In this online landscape, businesses engage in transactions vital for their operations, ranging from supplying equipment and materials to utilizing essential services like manufacturing and distribution.

What is a B2B Marketplace?

A B2B marketplace is an online platform that facilitates business to business marketing by seamlessly connecting B2B buyers and sellers in one centralized website. This digital space serves as a hub where businesses can engage in transactions, streamlining the buying and selling process between different enterprises.

What are the 4 types of B2B?

The four fundamental categories of B2B buyers within business to business companies are producers, resellers, governments, and institutions. These entities represent distinct groups engaging in transactions that contribute to B2B commerce.

Difference between B2B and B2C?

B2B, which means business-to-business, denotes transactions between one business and another within business to business companies. On the other hand, B2C, or business-to-consumer, refers to transactions between a business and an individual serving as the end customer.

What are B2B Products?

B2B products include manufacturing materials, clothing, car parts, and semiconductors, representing examples of items involved in business to business marketing transactions. These products represent the diverse range of materials and components involved in transactions between two businesses.

Grow Your B2B Sales Company With Eqvista!

It’s important to note that business-to-business transactions aren’t solely for big players; they also occur on a smaller scale, where small businesses engage in exchanges. The defining feature of B2B sales is the involvement of two businesses, distinguishing it from transactions involving a business and a consumer.

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