If you’re a B2B marketer or business owner, you’ve probably spent a lot of time identifying your ideal client. You can rattle off demographics and psychographics, and you have a fully fleshed-out profile of that person.
As much as you know about your ideal client, something you may not have thought a lot about is the massive role played by their emotions in buying decisions. In fact, emotions play a much more significant role in business purchasing 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 B2C brands. They surveyed thousands of people in charge of business purchasing in many different industries. 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 eight times more willing to pay a premium for comparable products and services when personal value is present.
So, what does personal value mean when it comes to a B2B purchasing decision?
For someone at a large company, personal value can mean increased stature in the organization, the opportunity for a raise or a promotion, the pride of being known as the person who saved the day, etc. A decision made by someone in this role has far-reaching consequences for the organization, its stock value if it’s a public company, and its employees.
For a B2B business owner, personal value can mean a feeling of satisfaction that they’re beating their competitors, pride about building personal wealth, and a sense of security that comes with knowing they can easily pay their employees and invest in the business to keep it growing.
But what about ROI and budget, you may ask? ROI and budget, it seems, are considered only after an emotional connection with the supplier or vendor has occurred.
It’s Documented In Science
The role of emotions in buying decisions is well-documented in science, as well. 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 their emotions being involved, it turns out that human beings will struggle to make any type of decision.
Damasio studied people with a certain type of brain damage who could rationally process information when presented with choices, but couldn’t make a decision “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 Content
There’s an old saying, “Your ideal clients don’t care what you do. They only care about what you will do for them.” The outsized role of emotions in B2B buying decisions is well documented, yet most B2B marketing is entirely unemotional. The typical B2B website, for example, completely ignores the fact that emotions affect buying behavior.
To ascertain how well your marketing messages connect emotionally with your ideal clients, take a look at your company’s website. If the copy is merely a list of “who we are”, “what we do”, “our mission”, etc., you’re appealing only to the rational considerations of your buyers and ignoring emotional considerations.
Here’s a quick tip: edit your copy to speak directly to your audience. Think of website copy as a sales conversation – the conversation you’d be having if your ideal client was sitting across the table from you. Try to weave in the words your, yours, and you’re.
As an example, I grabbed a screenshot of a website that showed up when I searched for “corporate training programs” on Google. I rewrote it on the fly:
I made an assumption that a huge problem faced by someone who’s tasked to purchase training for employees is that they never have enough time to get everything done that’s on their plate. This buyer would assign personal value to a solution that promises to help them save time because it would make their lives much easier. I rewrote the main message and injected the word your where I could. The copy is now more personal – more like a real human conversation…
(Note: this were my client, I would have invested a lot of time researching their field, competitors, and ideal client, and I would have developed their Voice of Customer. And I’d fight hard for a more thoughtful design.
How Emotions Affect Buying Behavior For B2B – Three TakeAways
- 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.
- The stakes are higher for B2B purchasers than for B2C purchasers.
- Your ideal clients do not care what you do – they care about what you will do for them.
If your company’s marketing messages aren’t driving sales, there’s a very good chance you’re not emotionally connecting with your ideal clients. Is it time to bring in a conversion copywriter* (like me! )?
Conversion copywriting is copy that moves the reader to “yes” using voice-of-customer data, frameworks, formulas and proven persuasion techniques. It motivates people to act & make a decision; takes the voice, tone and a unique value proposition and combines it with conversion (motivating) and process (research component) and presentation (what you’re saying and how you’re saying it). – Copyhackers
Learn more about the role of emotions in buying behavior:
- Read the Think With Google study here
- Read about buying behaviors in Psychology Today
- Read about Voice Of Customer
- Find out more about here