Sales and Marketing Software

Are You Losing Sales Because You Lack an Emotional Edge?

By Bob Johnson Principal Analyst at IDG Connect & Kimball Wallace CEO at Wallace & Washburn Marketing

Are you losing sales to B2B competitors when you clearly have an excellent product and a competitive price? Have you made the perfect sales presentation and delivered a great RFP only to find out that for some unknown reason you were edged out by a competitor? Do you sense that something is happening which makes it more difficult than ever to connect with prospective buyers and stand out from the competition? Do you sense that you’ve lost some of your competitive edge?

If these questions resonate, read on to learn how new B2B buyer research (conducted by IDG Connect and Wallace & Washburn) has uncovered the major influence of emotion-based goals on technology buying team decisions. Further, how vendors can create a new competitive edge by emotionally charging their sales and marketing go-to-market efforts. The following questions should help you better-understand the current situation and the critical importance to leverage­­ your buyers’ emotion-based goals, especially before the buying team ever meets.


What’s Your Plan to Become a Pre-Favorite?




Are you losing the sale before you even get in front of the buyers? Our research indicates that the overwhelming majority of B2B buying team members have pre-favorites before the buying team ever meets. In fact, as the chart above reveals, a vendor’s chance of making the short list is virtually zero if they don’t have a team member or two waving their flag in front of other team members.



Are You Aware of the Three Unique Buyer Types?



Three very different buying team members exist with very different emotion-based goals and buying modes. The Advocates are more interested in taking action than thinking about it, the Challengers consider themselves “experts” and believe that challenging each option in detail will arrive at the best solution, while the Collaborators consider fellow team member opinions, both “pro” and “con,” equally as important as facts and figures. Once you understand the three buyer types you can personalize your proposal, communications and one-on-one presentations accordingly.



Do You Understand That All Buyers Are Not Equal?


The new research indicates that the three buying team members differ in influence. The Advocates are the most important buyer mode during the actual buying team evaluation process, and have a 27% greater likelihood in having one of their pre-favorite vendors win. However, it’s important to reach and influence the other two buyer modes because the Collaborators tend to be early “initiators,” while Challengers can present “roadblocks.” And both have potential to become post purchase Advocates.




How Can Emotion Offer a Competitive Edge?


The one factor all three-buyer types share in common is the importance of emotion-based goals (52%). For example, in our cloud security buyer research, the three most important emotion-based goals were on time implementation, no hassles or surprises, and practicality from an employee perspective. These three were significantly more important than ROI and 41 other emotional issues we tested.


Leveraging emotion-based issues can be applied to various go-to-market activities, including value propositions to give  you an emotional edge over the competition. Please see next question.


How Does A B2B Vendor Create Emotionally Charged Marketing?


Developing emotionally charged marketing is fairly straight forward providing you research your marketplace properly to uncover the emotive opportunities. For example, shown above is an illustration of embedding emotional “trigger” words into cloud security advertising. We took a randomly selected Cloud ad and applied the emotion-based issues that had surfaced in our cloud security research conducted in the U.S. and Europe. By embedding the nine emotion-oriented “trigger” words that surfaced in DecisionSCAN® analysis of buyer concerns, it brought this vendor’s Ease of Use message to life. (This is not to suggest that the vendor or agency made a mistake since lacking this type of qualitative/quantitative emotive research, an agency would have no idea how, or why, to do this. And it adds a few words that enhance great advertising execution. The ad now rises above others in cloud security). The same “trigger” word leverage applies to other go-to-market efforts including value proposition(s), digital content, public relations, social and sales enablement activities.


Embed Emotion-Based Goals?



Emotionally charged pre-favorite marketing can be applied to all your key go-to-market areas to give you the pre-favorite edge before buyers ever meet. Custom research among your team members and potential buyers reveal how to communicate key emotional benefits using “trigger” words, phrases and visuals, and, most importantly, how to put them into play.


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Bob Johnson

VP & Principal Analyst, IDG Connect

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