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Compare the B2B and B2C Solution Architect Roles

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Explain what a Salesforce solution architect does.
  • Explain how a B2C solution architect and a B2B solution architect are different.

An Architect Is a Leader

Before we talk about the difference between business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) architects, let’s look at the bigger picture. 

A Salesforce solution architect designs systems that deliver world-class customer experiences and real business value. An architect also provides leadership in three key areas. 

  • Business leadership: An architect guides companies as they build multi-cloud solutions, and emphasizes the need to deliver customer experiences that differentiate them from the competition.
  • Delivery leadership: An architect advises on multi-cloud implementation considerations and recommends best practices based on use-case delivery knowledge.
  • Technical leadership: An architect chooses the multi-cloud product features that best align with a company’s vision and goals.

In some cases, a solution architect doesn’t have in-depth knowledge of every part of a business’s systems. But they are familiar with a range of Salesforce clouds, products, and features, and they know how to integrate all of those systems and create a single source of truth for the business. That single source of truth, together with top-of-the-line customer experiences, helps businesses create value-driven relationships with their customers—whether they’re end consumers, other businesses, or both. 

The Difference Between B2C and B2B

A B2C business sells directly to end consumers. If you walk into the supermarket and buy a week’s worth of groceries, you’re buying from a B2C business. In this case, you’re the end consumer. 

A B2B business sells to other businesses. A health food company that sells granola bars to a supermarket chain (which then sells those granola bars to you) is a B2B business. 

Then there are companies that combine B2B and B2C strategies. A B2B business, for example, can be B2B2C (business-to-business-to-consumer). Think of a grocery delivery service that partners with a supermarket to allow end consumers to buy groceries and have them delivered. The delivery service is using a B2B2C model, because it’s selling a service (grocery delivery) to another business (the supermarket), while maintaining direct access to end consumers.  

Or maybe that health food company started selling granola bars directly to consumers as well as to supermarkets, using both B2B and B2C business models. There’s nuance in these categories, but for now what matters is that you understand the basic distinctions. 

The Two Flavors of Solution Architect

You know what a solution architect does, and you know the difference between B2B and B2C business models. But why do we make a distinction between B2B solution architects and B2C solution architects? 

Because businesses sell to their customers in different ways, using different products, depending on which model they use. And these roles are about a lot more than Salesforce B2B Commerce and Salesforce B2C Commerce, although both might be part of the big picture. If you’re a B2B solution architect, for example, you’re an expert in multi-cloud CPQ and multi-cloud B2B order management. On the other hand, if you’re a B2C solution architect, you’re thinking more about the service chat experience and multi-cloud marketing journeys. 

Either way, you’re using the services that undergird the Customer 360 Platform, like analytics, Einstein, and privacy. You’re just using them for different use cases. That’s because  no matter what, the solutions that an architect builds are customer-centric. These days, a business does much more than just sell to customers. Whether it’s B2B or B2C, a company is marketing to customers, supporting them, and enabling them, which means engaging with them across multiple products and channels. And every company needs a complete, 360-degree view of their customers. 

The line between B2B and B2C isn’t always clear. Often a B2B company is looking to move into the B2C realm, or vice versa. A B2C or B2B solution architect’s multi-cloud knowledge and domain expertise allow them to build solutions that are extensible and flexible enough to meet a company’s current and future needs.

The Bottom Line

A solution architect—whether B2B or B2C—creates multi-cloud solutions that help companies build relationships with their customers. Both B2B and B2C architects need a wide range of knowledge, with a focus on domain expertise, Salesforce product knowledge, data strategy, and integration know-how. Ultimately, a solution architect helps companies get the most out of their Salesforce investment by building frictionless customer experiences powered by a single  source of truth (that’s the Customer 360 we’re always talking about).  

To learn more, check out the architect career page here on Trailhead.


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