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.
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