Purchase decisions are emotional, not logical. Emotion can be as powerful a sales tool in the B2B world as it is in the B2C world, if not more so.

Here are four ways emotion plays a surprisingly large role in B2B purchases.

1. Turn Fears to Cheers

Put yourself in your buyer's shoes. The stakes are huge. An unsuccessful B2B purchase invites great personal risk for the buyer - they fear losing time and effort, credibility, and even their job.

According to research from CEB Marketing in partnership with Google, 48 percent of B2B customers have wanted to buy a new solution but failed to speak up due to such fears. Additionally, customers overwhelmingly (86 percent) see no real difference between leading suppliers in helping them achieve their business goals. "Just the facts" is dead. Or, as Gallup research put it: Competing on price is a losing strategy. So it's your job, then, to alleviate fears by focusing your appeal on the emotions of buyers, rather than focusing on business value.

2. Satisfy A Longing

When customers are considering which company to buy from, messaging that addresses either positive or negative emotions will give you the edge you need to stand out. What benefits will customers get out of purchasing from you? Tell buyers how your product will help them professionally, socially, emotionally, or personally. Will buying from you:

  • Make them a better leader?
  • Earn them admiration from colleagues?
  • Make them happy?
  • Provide a sense of accomplishment?

B2B companies that demonstrate how they can satisfy longings will create an emotional connection with decision makers. The result? Happy customers.

3. Delight Buyers With Content Throughout The Purchase Journey

Seventy-one percent of B2B buyers who see personal value in your solution will purchase. That's huge! Astonishingly, nearly 69 percent of people who see personal value will pay a higher price. B2B businesses must maintain this emotional connection throughout the purchase journey, not just at the awareness and purchase stages, but conveying personal value and alleviating fears about risks and complications through the evaluation stages.

One way to do this is by providing content. The most effective content types for B2B social media marketing are videos and infographics, according to the latest B2B Social Media Marketing Trends survey from Marketo and Ascend2.

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All these other types of content - blog posts, case studies, articles, research reports, white papers and podcasts - offer you opportunities to reach potential customers. Make sure that your content shows them personal value, not just business value!

4. Provide An Emotional Triumph

CEB's report identified four ways B2B companies can successfully use emotion to fuel business growth:

  1. Understand your customers' personal goals and emotions. You can do this by observing customers in their workplace to discover their frustrations, or conducting open-ended interviews in which you ask questions such as "what is important to you as a [job title]", "what is the most challenging/easy part of your day?" and "if you could eliminate one daily activity, what would it be?"
  2. Craft messages that convey personal value. Understand the language and interests of your buyers and use your findings to craft better messages.
  3. Ensure personal value messages drive action. Personalize the pains or gains by highlighting an emotional need with empathy and how a purchase will resolve that need or provide personal value.
  4. Develop your commercial insight. You need to show customers that something about their business is flawed and you are the only solution. This requires identifying your customers' goals and concerns to brainstorm and create content that reveals an insight that will drive more leads and revenue.

Check a few more amazing statistics in the image below that highlight more of CEB's research on the ways emotion plays a large role in B2B purchases. And you can read the full report here