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Why Marketing and Sales NEED Emotion, Even in B2B

HRTech is no longer just a nice-to-have; it’s an essential tool for businesses wanting to stay in the game. Yet despite this fact, many marketing leaders and CMOs still underestimate how important emotionally driven sales pitches are when selling B2B solutions or services. Despite the supposed recognition that decisions involve an emotional process – very little weight is being given to making connections with prospects on a human level. Here’s your chance, folks – get creative; make them laugh, and feel something!

When selling HRTech solutions or services to corporations, the standard sales approach must acknowledge the human element. This is a missed opportunity for marketing leaders and CMOs who understand how important it is for their company’s B2B sales pitch to be emotionally driven.

And yet….

Many B2B sales leaders still don’t recognize B2B purchase decisions as emotional. Even if business leaders say there’s an emotional element in the decision-making process, little importance is placed on marketing and sales initiatives that strive to create an emotional connection between the prospect or customer and the company brand. But research supports that B2B decision-makers see a lot of personal risks and emotional involvement in supporting a particular vendor—so why not work to capitalize on this?

Research shows that injecting some genuine warmth into the process can result in twice as many sales. A CEB study found that 71% of B2B buyers who felt personally valued when making their purchase ended up hitting ‘buy’. So go ahead: show your customers they’re more than just bank accounts.

Those who take the time to understand their customers’ needs and wants may find that an emotional approach is precisely what their customer needs. Let’s explore how to unlock the power of emotional connection in B2B sales.

Why Emotional Intelligence is Essential in B2B Sales

As marketing leaders, CMOs, and VPs of Marketing, we need to understand that we are selling to more than just an organization – we are also selling to a person or group of people. When it comes to B2B sales, there’s more than just “business” involved – we must leverage emotional intelligence too! CMOs and VPs of Marketing need to dig deep into understanding their potential customers, asking questions like ‘how can I make this person a hero at work?’.

B2B purchasers know what they want – and they won’t compromise on personal value. According to research from Google, if buyers perceive something as having personal gain or worth, their wallets open up 50% faster; plus, when that ‘something’ is deemed valuable enough, those same folks are 8x more likely to pay extra for it!

It’ll take some real-life detective skills, but once you uncover what problems they have that could be solved with your product or service, the sky is really the limit. If you know how to tap in emotionally by addressing deadlines and feelings related to those issues…now *that* takes true marketing genius.

Adience has a GREAT article that dives deep into the human psyche (and proves that B2B decision-making isn’t all that different from regular decision-making. First, we’ll go through the cognitive biases that impact decision-making, then we’ll discuss the emotions our prospects typically have during the buying process.

Why Marketing and Sales NEED Emotion, Even in B2B Click To Tweet

I am paraphrasing here but go take a look at the linked article, as it goes way more in-depth than I have room for (this is already pretty long):

Cognitive Biases

Cognitive Framing: Understanding the psychology of how customers perceive value is key – transformational framing can have a dramatic impact on sales. When you’re selling, consider how your presentation can influence the customer to make that final decision. They might prefer it sweetened with a specific ‘dollar off’ deal instead of simply listing percentages – especially if they know exactly what their $500 offsets!

Recency Bias: Have you ever been frustrated with a company’s service, ready to call it quits, before giving them one last chance? That’s the power of recency bias – customers can easily be swayed if their most recent experience is positive. Like how sometimes all it takes for an unhappy customer to become loyal again are quick fixes and fast solutions! This is when customers’ perceptions are disproportionately impacted by their most recent experience or touchpoint with a brand.

Anchoring Bias: When it comes to selling your product, sometimes the devil is in the details – like how fast something can do what you need it to do! Instead of highlighting its speed as a single number (10 seconds), shrewd sellers double up their sales pitch and make sure buyers know that they’re at least twice faster than any other competitor out there. Clever indeed!

In-Group Bias: When it comes to business, people tend to gravitate toward those with the same interests and background. This phenomenon – known as in-group bias or favoritism – often causes buyers to prefer a supplier who feels just like one of the gang over an outsider – even if both offer equivalent services!

Distinctive Encoding: Have you ever seen something so unique it was practically impossible to forget? That’s the Von Restorff effect – and Product A has managed to tap into that impressive ability! It stands out from its competition with a singularly unforgettable message – which is why customers consistently select it over Product B, even though the difference is purely cosmetic or superficial in nature.

Endowment Effect and Loss Aversion: When it comes to our wallets, the status quo is king! We often become prisoners of a specific supplier or product, no matter how much pricier than other alternatives – all because we fear facing unknown risks if switching. It’s like an irresistible force called Endowment Effect & Loss Aversion has taken control and doesn’t want us parting with that dearly held ‘ol’ reliable’ any time soon…

Inertia: Breaking into a market is no easy feat, even if you have the perfect product. The big players are often here to stay because not everyone has time-traveling powers; venturing out of their comfort zone can be too much effort for users who’d rather stick with what they already know – so-called “status quo bias.” Even though there may be better alternatives, customers remain reluctant to switch brands unless given an extra push!

Exposure Effect: When it comes to consumer decision-making, being top of mind can be just as powerful a tool as having an objectively better product. No wonder they say you should always keep your name out there – doing so yields big dividends!

Hyperbolic Discounting: Got an impulse-buying problem? Welcome to the club! Hyperbolic discounting – or present bias, as we like to call it – is when people can’t resist going for a sweet little something right now instead of waiting for that bigger, better reward later. A great example is a subscription service found when they offered a 5% deduction by paying monthly instead of 15% annually– and wouldn’t you know it? Most people decided to get their reward up front rather than wait. It seems convenience really does trump savings. Tl;dr Most buyers still pick what’s immediately in front of them!

Sunk-Cost Effect: So you’ve sunk months of energy and dough into a two-year flop that’s giving your company zero payback? Don’t worry – it’s not the end of the world, just the start of the Sunk-Cost Effect. That’s when our emotions become so entrenched in something we refuse to let go even though logic says otherwise – like trying desperately to wring success from an unsuccessful partnership. Hey, if at first you don’t succeed…better try again!


They’re Apprehensive They’re Making the Wrong Choice

Fear of the next unknown can cause a paralyzing sense of dread when it comes to purchasing decisions, but luckily for us humans, we have something called loss aversion bias. That deep-seated worry that maybe – just maybe – our choice won’t be quite right and will lead to painful consequences keeps many from taking risks. So why bravely venture out into new territory when you know what’s already familiar? But fear not! With loss aversion on your side, no decision has too great a risk after all…or does it?

They’re Frustrated with Poor Experience

The buying process should be a breeze, or else you might find yourself losing to the competition. Customers who experience sluggish and cumbersome service during purchase will likely jump ship in an instant! Product usage must also remain top-notch – otherwise, buyers can wave goodbye forever to your offerings – ready for something much simpler and less exasperating next time around.

They’re Confused About the Process

When making big purchases, buyers deserve the clarity they need to feel confident in their decision. But too often, they’re left feeling foggy and frustrated due to inadequate information on what’s being offered or a lack of support during the purchase process – things that could be easily avoided with more transparency throughout! It’ll take more than a map and compass for us all not to get lost in this maze.

They Don’t Care All That Much

The phrase that best describes why shoppers opt for the familiar over something new? Apathy! Buyers are far more likely to stick with their go-to product without any enthusiasm or excitement than explore the unknown. So if you want your customers hooked on innovation, better make it irresistible – no lukewarm efforts allowed here.

They’re Excited About the Change

Unleash the potential of your brand and free prospects from apathy! You can provide them with a refreshing sense of optimism, enabling them to experience exciting possibilities by switching over to you. Dare they take this revolutionary step? With one bold move, their working life could be transformed – no more drudgery or tedious tasks; imagine what delightful surprises await as soon as they hop onto your bandwagon!

They Feel They Can Trust You

If there’s one thing buyers don’t want to feel in B2B, it’s a fear of the unknown – which is why trust can be an invaluable asset. After all, who wants their boss to ask, “What were you thinking?” after making a bad purchase decision? That kind of trust only comes from previous positive experiences and market reputation – but once established, it reduces anxiety for both parties, so everyone wins!

They Just Frickin Like You

In this competitive atmosphere, it’s not just about offering the product; brands must be savvy when distinguishing themselves. It comes down to creating a positive vibe by exhibiting similar values and a bright brand personality that resonates with buyers on an emotional level – consequently generating in-group bias or favoritism. Establishing strong rapport through successful sentiment-building is essential!

They Look Good By Association

Everyone loves to align themselves with greatness – it’s human nature! Buyers have a natural affinity for partnering up with the hottest, most respected brands out there. They might be looking for knowledge and experience, but really, they just want folks to know that their taste is top-notch!

The Benefits of Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence plays an essential role in successful B2B sales—especially during times like these when employees look for solutions that protect their career security yet still allow room for growth. When marketers take the time to get familiar with their target audience on an individual level—rather than just focusing on job titles—we create campaigns tailored specifically around solving those individuals’ pain points while meeting long-term goals too. This emotionally-driven strategy goes beyond simply making a sale; it builds relationships based on trust between businesses and consumers so everyone wins! By understanding our potential customers’ wants and needs through an empathetic lens and staying ahead of industry trends, we ensure success now and later down the line!

Why Humanize Your B2B Approach?

When it comes to getting buyers on board, remember that they’re just like the rest of us! Whether they work for a giant corporation or are simply looking for the best deal, every customer has needs and desires. Before engaging with them, ask yourself:

What would make this person look great at their job? 

How could I provide relief from whatever was stressing them out? 

What keeps them up late in bed worrying about their situation?

Can you relate to those feelings/deadlines constructively?! Understanding these elements will be critical when representing your product or service – let’s go get ’em!

As you face potential buyers, remember the fundamental truth: behind these big businesses are real people with unique needs and wants. Whether they’re a CEO or just starting out in their career, every customer has an inspiring story to tell. Remember when approaching them that beyond sealing deals, what makes your product successful is making sure each person feels empowered by it!

The purchase decisions of business leaders involve a lot of thoughtful and careful consideration. However, research has shown that B2B decision-makers understand the personal risk and emotional involvement in supporting a particular vendor. When courting potential buyers, approach them like you’d a long-lost friend: no matter their salary or title, they all have unique needs and stories that deserve to be heard.

Ask yourself how you can best make your customer the hero at work– solving problems for peace of mind so that even in late hours when insomnia kicks in due to stress overloads, they know you are fighting on their side! It’s also important to show empathy with any deadlines and feelings related thereto, as it will create an emotional bond between y’all—that’ll surely seal the deal.

Humanizing Your B2B Approach

Now more than ever, employees feel vulnerable when it comes to decisions related to their job security. In this tumultuous business climate, it’s more important than ever to really connect with potential clients on an emotional level. People need solutions and support to bring peace of mind – not just the cheapest deal! We marketers have a chance to create meaningful relationships by understanding their anxieties and building trust accordingly. Let’s show them we care beyond dollar signs!

Emotional intelligence isn’t just about showing empathy – it’s about understanding your customer individually by learning who they are beyond their job title. This can help us create marketing campaigns that foster strong relationships with prospects, making our service stand out against the competition when it is time for them to decide. In other words: get personal or go home!

Knowing the ins and outs of industry trends isn’t just an intelligent measure to stay ahead of competitors; it’s also key for beating your customers to their own wants. So take some time out today – not just prepping for what’s going on now but creating an idea haven that maps out possible future needs too! It shows you care about helping them grow in good times and bad with proactive action and forward-thinking plans.

The Power of Emotion in HRTech Sales

If you want to make a sale in the HRTech world, it’s all about tapping into your customers’ feelings. Sure, helping them succeed and achieve career bliss should be an obvious goal- but what will really seal the deal is understanding how they feel when their job security or advancement is on the line.

That means getting creative during the discovery process. Learn exactly which problems can bring peace of mind – then tailor solutions accordingly! Make sure that personalized approach speaks straight from heart to wallet – feeling heard and understood are as crucial for success in sales as knowing deadlines– no pressure, though!

This personalization makes your customer feel heard and understood—two critical ingredients in any successful sales pitch.

Another powerful tool in creating an emotionally driven sales process is storytelling. Narratives allow you to connect with your audience on an emotional level while demonstrating why your product or service is uniquely suited to meet their needs.

Additionally, stories can evoke empathy in your listeners by putting them in the shoes of characters they can relate with—which means they are more likely to recall those stories later on down the line when making B2B purchasing decisions.

Crafting a sales pitch is like baking the perfect cake. Combining personalization, storytelling, and empathy gives you that magical icing on top – one that helps customers feel heard, understood…and sweetly persuaded! Your narrative allows them to slip into someone else’s shoes while demonstrating why your product or service fits just right, meaning they will remember the story (ahem – cake) when it comes time for purchase decisions.

The Benefits of Emotional Engagement in B2B Marketing

Forget the hard sell – when it comes to B2B, a little bit of humanity will help you go a long way. Building trust and relationships are vital for securing sales in this market, so why not make those connections more meaningful?

Take the time to tailor your proposition based on individual customer needs so everyone walks away happy. A soft approach could result in greater loyalty over time with plenty of repeat business, too… something we can all get behind.

Humanizing Your Sales Process:

  • Establishes trust right away
  • Makes it easier for prospects to say “yes” when presented with an offer
  • Helps build strong relationships over time
  • Leads to higher customer loyalty and more repeat business opportunities
  • Ensures they get exactly what they need out of the purchase, increasing satisfaction overall

Rather than trying to push a one-size-fits-all solution, give your customers a chance to speak up and share their individual needs. Not only will they feel like you genuinely care about finding something that works best for them – it’ll help build trust between both parties, so everyone is extra satisfied once everything’s wrapped! Trust is established by taking the time to help shape a plan tailored specifically for them, and satisfaction levels are through the roof when everything comes together according to plan.

The Benefits of an Emotional Connection in B2B Sales

Connecting with your customers on an emotional level is a powerful way to create lifelong loyalty. This connection isn’t just about gaining trust; it’s also about giving them that ‘feeling of belonging’ so they become part of the family! After all, when you make someone feel genuinely valued and included in something special—they stick around for much longer than if you rely solely on discounts or promos alone.

One way to strengthen bonds? Master the art of storytelling – help clients relate to you by sharing stories about how fantastic your services are or what wondrous outcomes they can expect when working with you!

Your individual values should also be part of this narrative so that people understand why choosing YOU over competitors who offer similar products at similar prices makes sense. After all, everyone loves a good tale filled with unforgettable characters– show them why that character is yours alone. Unlocking this superpower is critical for bringing relationships beyond transactional purchases.

Everybody loves a story, right? As it turns out, your customers do too. That's why the best relationships between businesses and their clients are built on more than transactions - they're founded in an emotional connection of trust emphasizing… Click To Tweet

Sell Through Storytelling

Start by sharing examples of how you help companies increase efficiency and save money and time. Think of yourself as the modern-day Scheherazade – captivating your audience with tales illustrating why they need what you offer. When it comes to B2B sales activities, Storytelling is King; use it wisely and watch relationships grow.

Nothing builds trust and credibility like the success stories of satisfied customers. Show your prospects that you have what it takes to help them hit their goals by sharing actual evidence of companies who’ve experienced great results with your products or services! Become the storyteller in chief – grab those past case studies, dust them off, and make sure everyone hears about how you helped other businesses rock it. When people hear about others achieving greatness through your solutions, they’ll want what you’ve got too.

When words aren’t enough, don’t underestimate the power of social proof; reviews from real-life users are golden in winning over new visitors and keeping current clients happy. Top everything off with a steaming hot dish of social proof for extra trustworthiness; reviews from current happy campers will act like fuel on that fire!

Establishing an emotional bond between your business and its prospects is like building a strong relationship – you need to invest time into it for great returns. Research shows that this connection has the ability to skyrocket customer engagement levels whilst boosting long-term loyalty over time.

How to Create an Emotional Connection in Sales

Crafting personalized messages to directly address your prospects’ individual emotional needs is the key to creating a strong connection. Understanding what makes your prospects tick isn’t rocket science – it’s more like a game of “Where’s Waldo?”

  • Listen closely and act swiftly by identifying their pain points and unmet desires. This shows that you’re treating them like an actual person rather than just another fish in the sea!
  • Speak it right & make ’em feel tight. Understanding what makes each prospect tick emotionally will give you major trust cred.
  • Dive deep into their (professional)  lives to find the answers you seek. Look for their pain points, unmet needs, and curiosities, and then craft personalized messages that directly address those problems.
  • Woo them with personalized messages that speak directly from the heart. Let’s be real: everyone likes to know they aren’t just another faceless contact on the list.

What do your buyers want, even if they can’t tell you? Unearth the truth beneath their surface with innovative research techniques. Don’t just ask questions – delve into how true emotions drive purchasing decisions and find out what buyers really think! With smart tools in hand, discovering the depths of the buyer’s subconscious is easier than ever- unlocking secrets to success without having them give away a thing. You can use both quantitative and qualitative research to come up with…

Indirect questions!

Want to uncover what drives your customers’ decisions or how their feelings influence the way they buy? Forget direct questions – try using projective techniques instead! Get creative with indirect and imaginative questioning, like asking respondents to imagine future scenarios or connecting words and images. Your prospects might not understand why you’re doing this – but it will help unlock insight into people’s true emotions that traditional Q&A won’t access (be careful not to try your prospects’ patience too much.)

Don’t forget laddering as well: a sure-fire technique for peeling back layer after layer of real-life reactions until you hit gold. Laddering is a clever way of helping respondents explore their feelings on any given topic. Think of it as venturing down an emotional rabbit hole! It starts with a simple question, and then, step-by-step, the questions get more complex until you finally reach your destination – emotions unearthed or secrets revealed in all their glory.

Take a walk in your client’s shoes with observational research techniques. Heatmaps, behavioral flow, cookie tracking, surveys, and even eye-tracking are like having an all-access pass into buyers’ emotions. Plus, they show you exactly where they’re focusing – helping you see how effectively your messages grab attention. In short: it’s time for marketers to quit asking, “what do people want?” and start finding out by watching them firsthand!

Using qualitative and behavioral mapping techniques, you can uncover both emotional and functional ‘jobs’ that need to be fulfilled by a product or service. Unlocking this knowledge helps guide research opportunities so that new solutions flourish in providing value where it matters most. It truly is an ingenious way of tapping into innovation potential. (Think product roadmap time if you get it right.)

Don’t let your executive buyers overthink it. When it comes to purchasing decisions, sometimes respondents can be too smart for their own good. Sure they may have thought out all the criteria – but don’t take them at face value just yet.

Deep down, there are emotional and functional trade-offs that data reveals if you dig a bit deeper into how they answer certain questions. It’s like peeking behind the curtain of rationalization when buyers try to make sense of things in real-life scenarios. Resist the temptation to accept what people think you want to hear or an overly reasoned response. This enables you to gain insight into how B2B buyers weigh up functional versus emotional criteria when making their decision, revealing a more accurate picture of what they truly want.

The subconscious rules even in B2B marketing. According to Gerald Zaltman of Harvard Business School, our spending decisions are so deeply entrenched in the subconscious that 95% percent of them take place without us even being aware! Uh-oh. Sounds like we’re stuck on autopilot when it comes to B2B buying – especially with multiple decision-makers involved.

The Role of Risk in B2B Business Decisions

Business decisions are often high-stakes gambles, which can be risky propositions if things don’t go as planned. The stakes can be even higher regarding business-to-business (B2B) transactions. Creating an emotional bond between the customer and your company is essential to make customers feel more secure about their purchase decisions. This creates a shared understanding and trust that helps lower risks associated with making big buying decisions.

Regarding B2B buying decisions, buyers need to know they can trust the company they are working with. The more comfortable they are in trusting you, the less risk they will perceive in making their purchasing decision. Building an emotional connection can help buyers understand that your team is committed to providing quality goods or services and helping them reach their goals.

Creating meaningful bonds makes customers feel part of something bigger, so they're more likely to stick around. Click To Tweet

A Step-By-Step Primer to Addressing Risk in the B2B Buying Process

The key is to focus on creating value for your customer and showing you are invested in helping them achieve success.

  1. Understand the risk. Business decisions are often perceived as high risk—the stakes are high, and there are a lot of personal risks involved if the decision turns out to be wrong.  Customers should know exactly what they’re getting out of the deal and any potential risks associated with it.
  2. Show empathy for their situation; let them know that you understand the challenge they’re facing. Establishing relationships with key decision-makers allows you to better understand their perspective and ensure that your product or service meets their needs in a way that makes sense for everyone involved.
  3. Build an understanding that your team can deliver on what was promised. This understanding comes from communicating effectively with prospects, ensuring they have all the information they need before making a decision, and being transparent so that they know exactly what they’re getting into.
  4. Demonstrate that you genuinely understand their needs and how you can meet them better than any other provider. This means meaningful conversations about their current challenges and providing data-driven insights into how your product or service could help solve them. You should also strive to provide regular updates throughout the decision process so customers feel comfortable knowing where things stand with their purchase decision.
  5. Be transparent and engaging. To create an environment of trust, transparency is key during every step of the purchasing process. Ensure all relevant information regarding pricing, delivery timeframes, etc., is clear upfront so there isn’t any confusion later on down the line.
  6. Keep communication open with customers throughout the entire process from initial contact through after-sales support—so they always feel connected and engaged with your team’s progress on delivering results.
  7. Show vulnerability when helping clients make B2B buying decisions; this helps demonstrate humility and encourages customers to view you as a partner rather than just another vendor. Showing vulnerability also helps create opportunities for collaboration which can further strengthen the emotional connection between both parties involved in the transaction.

Engaging Content & Experiences for B2B Sales

If you’re looking to get people in the driver’s seat of your product or service, look no further than interactive content! Amp up customer engagement with videos, podcasts, and infographics that make prospects feel right at home. Plus, give potential buyers a chance to test drive before they hit “buy” by offering virtual tours or live webinars. This approach takes “try-before-you-buy” up an entire notch while giving customers peace of mind knowing their hard-earned budget won’t be wasted on a subpar product/service. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Invite prospects to take virtual tours
  • Offer live and interactive webinars
  • Provide videos about your product for on-demand buyers
  • Consider creating a podcast that touches on the pain points you’ve collected
  • Allow potential buyers can “test drive” the product/service
  • Dive deep into use cases other customers have discovered
  • Take social proof further by inviting current clients to share their stories
  • Participate in chats on social media or run an AMA (ask me anything) style discussion using Reddit, Zoom, or Quora

The Human Factor in Selling to the Enterprise

Another important factor in developing an emotional connection in B2B sales is emphasizing the human aspect of selling—that it isn’t just about selling products or services but about helping people solve their problems. The key to success in B2B marketing isn’t just about which product has better specs – it’s all about how you make your customer feel.

Truly successful salespeople recognize that there are often personal reasons why someone chooses one product over another; they understand that people want more than just a good deal—they want to feel like they are getting something special from someone who understands their needs. Customers need someone who understands their pain points and can customize solutions that fit them perfectly! Use those listening skills of yours, then tailor each offering in order to give them something special—the kind of thing machines can’t do.

Read More: Selling to the C-Suite

Selling any product involves more than just delivering quality; it also involves understanding what drives customers’ decisions. When it comes down to #HRTech sales or any other type of B2B transaction, having an understanding of how emotion plays into decision-making is essential for any seller to be successful in closing deals with prospective buyers, no matter how big or small size company might be, buying from you.

Humanizing your sales approach through listening carefully and connecting emotionally with each customer’s issues helps create trust while simultaneously giving potential buyers peace of mind knowing they have found someone who truly cares about helping them find solutions tailored specifically to their individual needs! Ultimately leading to higher levels of satisfaction from everyone involved!

The Hidden Power of Emotional Connection in B2B Sales

Creating an emotional connection with B2B prospects and customers should be every marketer’s goal. Not only will this strengthen relationships with current clients, but it will also help attract new ones who may have overlooked your product or service due to a lack of trust or understanding of your offer. By focusing on risk reduction, storytelling, and emphasizing the human factor in selling, marketers can create powerful connections with their target audience that lead to long-term success for both parties involved!

If you’re ready to put all this knowledge to work for your company, give us a shout! We have room for your business!