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If You Want to Differentiate Yourself Among Your B2B Prospects, Get Emotional

By Jane-Anne Mennella | July 16, 2020 | 19 Comments


Emotions. They influence, both consciously and subconsciously, our attitudes, values and opinions. They can also affect and influence our decisions, including purchase decisions. Companies with a B2C operating model tend to readily embrace this idea. Yet B2B organizations are often surprised to learn that, not only do emotions matter in B2B purchases, they can play an even greater role than in B2C transactions.

B2B Buyers Are People, Too

The misunderstanding comes from the belief that B2C transactions, interactions and experiences are more personal than those conducted or experienced in a B2B environment. However, in a B2B environment, the outcomes of decisions can be amplified because they affect people on both a personal and business level. You may be selling your product to a business, but we cannot forget that it is people who are involved in the recommending, purchase and usage of your product.  People worry that if they make the wrong recommendation or decision, not only can their company and colleagues be affected, but their own career, reputation and livelihood could also be at risk as well.

B2B buyers want to feel confident that they have made the right decision in selecting your company to help them. They want to know you view them as a true partner, that you feel your success depends upon their success and that you feel confident in your ability to help them be successful.

So how does a B2B marketer achieve this, when your buying cycle can be long, complex and customers say they have a hard time differentiating between vendors?

Understand the “Person” in Your Personas and Their Journey

The first step is make sure your personas include an emotional aspect. This means, beyond asking about what role they play, what their KPIs are, and what mission-critical priorities they have, you also should gather insight around their goals, needs, expectations, fears and challenges. You must also understand where those emotions come into play the most, so mapping the entire customer journey is critical. Even if you are focused on acquisition, it is imperative to understand the entire journey your B2B personas. There are pre-and-post purchase points where emotions can play pivotal roles and influence purchase decisions. This is also important because not every step in the journey is equal or will demand an equal focus on the emotional needs of your customer.

Emotional Understanding Builds Relationships

When you understand what matters to your buyers on both a business and personal level, you can create the marketing campaigns, sales pitches and experiences that will resonate more deeply with your prospects by proactively addressing and appealing to a key human mechanism that drives decision-making. Your prospects will feel more comfortable with you and supported by you.  They will feel as though you identify more with them than other vendors, that you care for them more and that you will be able to help them succeed.

Your B2B clients want to know they can rely on you. For them to be able to do that, you need to move beyond knowing what their business and practical needs are to understanding their emotional needs as well.  Take time to understand their emotions, and you unlock the key to their satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy.

The Gartner Blog Network provides an opportunity for Gartner analysts to test ideas and move research forward. Because the content posted by Gartner analysts on this site does not undergo our standard editorial review, all comments or opinions expressed hereunder are those of the individual contributors and do not represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management.

Leave a Comment


  • One of the best posts that I have read recently on B2B sales. Besides emotional understanding, I also believe that one should be a good story-teller too.

  • Vinesh says:

    Emotional aspect is one thing which is mandatory in B2B or B2C & it works wonders. When u spend time on research of buyer persona & execute it perfectly with a bit of emotional contact, it works pretty good.

    Thanks for the insights.

  • Nice blog about the B2B business!, I think we need to consider the emotional aspects while doing B2B sales. Thanks for sharing this article.

  • Sweta Sharma says:

    First of all, I would like to say that this post is fantastic and really beneficial to one who wants to learn B2B strategies. This blog coveys that buyers are human beings, so don’t be harsh to them; be nice to them. You are hundred percent right that emotional understanding builds a strong relationship in business to business professionals.
    Thank you so much for sharing such an informative post with us.

  • Forging emotional connections with B2B marketers is crucial because they have always tended towards a more “intellectual” approach. The majority of B2B purchasers like to opt for a product or service that offers the personal touch. Emotions like sadness, happiness, anger, might work well for B2C marketing but gain the B2B market’s trust, you need to evoke emotions such as reliability and credibility. Thus, understand their emotions and build a community of passionate B2B buyers.

  • Dipak Patil says:

    Whether it’s B2B or B2C the emotional thing matters most because when you connect with each other emotionally then the trust factors come there naturally.

    • Jane-Anne Mennella says:

      Yes! Sometimes those that sell business solutions downplay the fact that they are still dealing with human beings.

  • Hey, Jane-Anne. Thanks for this article. I really loved reading this article about the B2B business!. Keep publishing awesome content 🙂

    Thank you,
    Tushar Prajapati

  • Superb post and additionally simple to make sure you figure out description. Exactly how can Document keep performing obtaining authorization to make sure you publish element for the document into my approaching e-newsletter?

  • Sales professionals can shed some light on the matter. A considerable number of sales professionals can acknowledge that the B2B prospecting has proven to be the most challenging part of their job. Other challenges that come about include qualifying and closing. When engaging in sales trainings, the sales and marketing team should be enlightened on how to use different B2B prospecting tools.

  • Deonde says:

    Only a few blogger would discuss this subject the way you do.

  • Cliffex says:

    In a world of overloaded inboxes and an endless number of online choices, your brand’s story needs to stand out, resonate or you risk being lost for good. You need to generate emotions that will compel people into action – as long as those feelings are appropriate for your audience and reflect your message. If they aren’t, you’ll have a hard time evoking anything at all! So how can marketers use emotion in a way that enhances their campaigns?

  • Arun Ramesh says:

    Emotions can influence purchase decisions. That is why companies with B2C operations utilize this. But still, many B2B organizations are not learned this.

  • The post is nice and easy to follow your blog.

  • Mary M says:

    Selling to B2B customers is hard. At times, it can feel almost impossible.

  • Jay says:

    B2C = business to consumer. Where business sells to the general public, or direct consumer.

    B2B = business to business. Where business sells to the another business, which is infact a consumer or an human or public.

    So, If we implement same sales strategies in both business models, how would it affect? and most important point, if the both end buyer is simple human than what is the difference?