Although a vast amount of sales have moved online over the last decade, B2B still depends largely on relationships.
The complex, lengthy buying cycle means that sales can take months. This is perhaps why B2B sales have a reputation for being more ‘serious’ or data-driven than its B2C counterpart.
When Google and the CEB conducted a joint survey, they asked 3,000 European business owners what made them make a B2B purchase. The answers surprised everyone.
The main driver of B2B sales isn’t price, it’s actually emotion.
When asked, 79% of their respondents said that when making a buying decision, an emotional connection with the brand was the main influencer. Not case studies, nor pricing.
If B2B sales depend on relationships, then marketing should reflect this too. If your business depends on personal networks, then surely your communications should also be as ‘human’ as possible.
The trend continued. Of these 79% of respondents, 64% were more likely to recommend and 60% were prepared to pay more for a brand they felt an emotional connection to. Emotion isn’t just a driver of sales, it’s a powerful force that people will pay a premium for. How can you drive more B2B sales this way? Here are three suggestions:
1. Tap into your customer’s desires
At a recent marketing event I attended, a panel of business owners were asked, ‘What made you choose your accountant?’ The response was surprisingly emotional.
‘I want to work with someone who understands my world.’
To forge an emotional connection with your customer, you’ve got to know and understand their ‘world.’
Being able to speak directly to the pain points of your prospect is a sure way to engage them in your content.
When was the last time you spoke to a client about their pain points? Don’t assume you know your customer.
Take the time to get to know their needs early on in the buying cycle, and use this to tailor your communications. Showing you care, that you’re paying attention to the individual requirements of each prospect, is the first step to fostering a meaningful and lasting connection.
2. Show the people behind the brand
People don’t buy from brands, they buy from people. Organisations are not rational and logical things, the truth is that they are full of people, who buy from your people.
Your company’s greatest marketing asset is not a fancy brochure, but rather the real people who work for you. Making your team visible on the website isn’t enough, nor is social media. Team visibility is about empowering your team to own their voice, and let this shine.
3. The ancient power of stories
One of the simplest, easiest and most proven methods of engaging your customers emotions is with storytelling. This means crafting and deploying a story that explains the roots of your business, your essence, and why you do what you do.
If this feels a little uncomfortable to some, then you should take heed, because B2B messaging isn’t so different after all.
Download a free audiobook of ‘Why You Need a Business Story and How to Create It’ here.
If you enjoyed this, find out more about how to structure your business storytelling in this post from David Sloly.