The Advantages of Selling B2B

What are some advantages of starting a B2B company over a B2C company? originally appeared on Quora: The best answer to any question.

Answer by Fred Stevens-Smith, CEO of Rainforest QA, YC S12, on Quora.

I'm answering this from a product perspective. I think the sales perspective is more obvious and has already been answered (tldr: you can actually make money before megascale). Also, my company is extremely B2B. So, bias. In short, starting a B2B company is
great for two main reasons:
  • it's very clear whether you've made something people want
  • you tend to build to solve your own problems
Easier to tell whether you've made something people want
As a founder you spend so much time wandering in the desert, trying to figure out what to build and whether it's any good. B2B businesses have a very simple proxy for this: are your customers using the product?

For a business to actually integrate your product into their workflow is a huge hurdle. Much higher than downloading an app or opening a link. If they are willing to do this, you know you have something that at least sounds like it will solve a problem they have.

For a business to keep using your product, and pay for it is another strong signal that you are providing something of real value.

Contrast this with trying to figure this out while building a B2C product. Your route to the customer tends to be a download. Typically free. They don't talk to you. They use your product if it's 'hot'. And if they remember to. And if their friends are using it. They stop using your product because they forgot it. Or their friends weren't using it. Or something newer and shinier came along.

In short, usage is much more indicative of value in B2B, since the bar to using a B2B product is much higher.

You tend to solve your own problems, which is awesome
We built Rainforest because we thought all the other ways to do QA sucked. This meant that the feedback loop was incredibly tight, because we were customer 0. We build the solution to our own problem, so we know better than anyone (at least in the early days, when you live and die on feedback and iteration speed) whether the solution is 'good enough'.

I can't stress how important this is. Outside of key insights into your customers behavior (be them businesses or consumers) you basically have nothing.

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