The Role Of Emotions In Buying Decisions For B2Bs

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Emotions in Buying Decisions

If you run a B2B business, there’s a good chance you’ve gone through the process of identifying your ideal client. You can rattle off the demographics and psychographics of your ideal clients and have a fully fleshed-out profile of that person.

But much as you know about your ideal client, you may be surprised to find out that emotions play a massive in business buying decisions.

In fact, studies show that emotions play a more significant role in business buying decisions than in consumer buying decisions!

The Role Of Emotions In Buying Decisions For B2B – Research Proves It Drives Sales

Several years ago, Google wanted to find out how emotions affect buying behavior for B2B brands compared to how emotions affect buying behavior for B2C brands. Thousands of people in charge of business purchasing in many industries were surveyed. The results pointed to the fact that not only do B2B brands drive more emotional connections than B2C brands, they aren’t even close!

“On average, B2B customers are significantly more emotionally connected to their vendors and service providers than consumers.” – Think With Google

The Perception Of Personal Value

According to the Google study, B2B buyers are more likely to purchase a product or service when they perceive personal value. (And they’re 8-times more willing to pay a premium for comparable products and services when personal value is present.)

So, what does personal value mean to someone making a business buying decision? 

If your responsibility is making purchases for a large company, personal value may mean increased stature for you in the organization, the opportunity for a raise or a promotion, or the pride of being known as the one who saved the day. Your decisions have far-reaching consequences for you, your family, the organization as a whole, and the employees and their families.

If you own a business, personal value to you could be the feeling of satisfaction that you’re beating their competition and pride in what you’re accomplishing. And not to mention the feeling of security that comes with knowing you can pay your employees and invest in the business to keep it growing, etc.

But what about ROI and budget? Aren’t they the most important factors in making business buying solutions? Well, guess what? ROI and budgets are considered only after an initial emotional connection with a supplier or vendor occurs.

Documented In Science

The role of emotions in buying decisions is well-documented in science. Antonio Damasio, a professor of psychology, philosophy, and neurology at the University of Southern California and an adjunct professor at the Salk Institute, is a giant in the field of research into how emotions affect buying behavior.

His findings show us that emotions are involved in almost every decision we make because we assign an emotional value to each option in front of us. Without emotions being involved, humans have a tough time making a decision.

Damasio’s studies of people who because of brain damage found that they were capable of rationally processing information about choices in front of them, but they couldn’t make decisions “because they lacked any sense of how they felt about the options.” (Psychology Today)

His famous quote: “We are not thinking machines that feel, we are feeling machines that think,” says it all.

The Role Of Emotions In B2B Marketing

There’s an old saying, “Your ideal clients don’t care what you do – they care about what you will do for them.” Although the outsized role of emotions in B2B buying decisions is well documented, the fact is most B2B marketing is entirely unemotional. The typical B2B website completely ignores the idea that emotions affect buying behavior.

To see how your message emotionally connects with your ideal clients, just take look at your website. Effective website copy should be thought of as a sales conversation. The conversation you’d be having if an ideal prospect was sitting right across the table from you.

But if your copy only tells your ideal prospects what you do, who you are, and what your mission statement is, you’re leaving out the most important aspect of marketing: emotions.

I grabbed this screenshot of the hero section (top panel) of a random website that popped up when I searched Google for “corporate training programs.”

The Original:

I am not familiar with the company, but I made the assumption that a huge problem faced by a person who’s in charge of purchasing employee training programs may have a lot on their plate. And…has a lot of reps hounding them to buy their programs. So, this buyer would see personal value in a solution that clearly states that it will save them time and make their life much easier.

I rewrote the main message and injected the word your where I could. The copy is now more personal – like a real human conversation.

If this was one of my clients, I’d be totally clear about their ideal clients and would have the language to use that mirrors what’s going on in their heads when they need this solution.  And, by the way, I would have fought hard for a more thoughtful design.

How Emotions Affect Buying Behavior For B2B – Three TakeAways

  1. B2B purchasers are more than 50% more likely to choose a service or product when they perceive personal value and are more likely to pay a premium for it.
  2. The stakes are higher for B2B purchasers than for B2C purchasers.
  3. Your ideal clients do not care what you do – they care about what you will do for them.

If your marketing message hasn’t been bringing you new clients – or bringing you the wrong clients – maybe you’re not emotionally connecting with them. 

Want to explore this further? Drop me a line at

Learn more about the role of emotions in buying behavior:

Betsy Kent

Betsy Kent

I've guided hundreds of clients through my signature process and formula and as a result, they’ve generated millions of dollars in new business revenue with more ease and confidence than ever before. THE CHANGE IS MILLIONS.

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