3 reasons why the B2B buying journey is more emotional than B2C

19th March 2019 Off By binary
3 reasons why the B2B buying journey is more emotional than B2C
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If you enjoy this essay you can find some others about growth, strategy and acquisition. My most popular essay at the moment is debunking the difference between cost per acquisition and customer acquisition cost. Happy reading!

We all have emotions, even in B2B

There’s a stigma in business. People say B2B buying is rational and emotionless when compared to B2C. Do you agree?

B2B, B2C. We’re all people. We all have emotions. Photo: thebeauxjournals.com

It’s of paramount importance that those in B2B, whether you’re in marketing, sales, operations or product, understand the emotional aspects of the buying journey. It’s very easy for us to remain in the stigma and blindly believe the B2B buying process is just rational and emotionless.

In B2B marketing specifically, we need to craft, create and communicate emotional hooks and stories for our buyers to enter our marketing and sales funnels. From there, our content, copy and creative must continually tap into the buyers emotions to keep the buying intent as high as possible.

That’s all well and good, but it still misses a key ingredient. We haven’t taken into account the act of buying — which has nothing to do with your product, service or value prop.

If we as B2B marketers and sellers understand the emotions triggered in the act of buying, then we will set ourselves up for more success. Those who take out the friction of B2B buying will win.

As Dave Gerhardt, VP of Marketing at Drift says:

“whoever makes it easier to buy wins”

The act of buying

A wise man once said:

“It’s not a problem if you buy the wrong can of soda”

A can of coke is 70p. No big deal if you accidentally get full fat coke rather than Coke Zero.

It would be an issue, however, if buying that can of coke had multiple stakeholders, took days to drink (implement), had to sign a binding contract, pay at least a few hundred dollars a month and get sign off from the c-suite.

There’s so much more at stake in B2B buying, which makes it more emotional than B2C.

3 main reasons:

1. People

Buying journeys tend to follow hive mentalities. It’s not just 1 person in a business tasked with buying software. There’s a team working on the project. And you know what a team is made up of? People.

The more people in a team leads to more opinions, feelings and indecision. Luckily teamwork is one of my strengths, but for some it can be hard to grasp.

Working together on something can bring up tensions, conflicts and heavy debate, especially when there’s pressure involved in deciding the best product, service or solution for your business. So yes, people is a big factor.

2. Cost

If you were responsible for buying software that cost £1 a year, then easy peasy — let’s buy every piece of software out there. But sadly it’s not like that.

For a tool that costs circa $1,000 per month, you’re spending upwards of $12,000 — what’s that in proportion to what you’re generating for the business? Or even tougher, your salary?

Maybe you’re the HiPPO (highest paid person in the room) and it’s peanuts in comparison — good on you. If not, the stakes can feel a lot higher as will your emotions.

The higher the cost, the higher the stakes. The higher the stakes, the higher your emotions.

Emotional steaks for dinner

3. Reputation

You may not know it already — but being accountable for buying a piece of software has huge implications on your reputation within a company. You are effectively stamping your name on the purchase saying “my name is Rupert and I approve this tool”.

If you’re the one who led the project and ultimately made the decision, then you’re the one who’s held accountable. The pressure is on. And that scenario sends your emotions running high.

In B2C, reputation isn’t an issue. It’s not on the line if you buy a can of Coke, buy the premium package on Evernote or purchase a cheap domain for your blog on GoDaddy (those are pretty random examples), but you get my point. If being held accountable, reputation is a factor in the mix.

Conclusion

B2B buying journeys are more emotional than B2B.

It involves more people to make a decision, tends to cost a lot more and your reputation is on the line. That is the recipe for an emotional roller coaster.

If we can make the act of buying as frictionless as possible, taking into account people, cost and reputation, then you are setting yourself up for success.

Don’t forget what Dave Gerhardt, VP of Marketing at Drift says:

“whoever makes it easier to buy wins”

What do you think?

As always let me know your thoughts. If you found this interesting and think your colleagues, friends and family would benefit from reading it then give this a share and a 👏! It’s wildly appreciated!

If you enjoyed this essay then you can find some others about growth, strategy and acquisition. My most popular essay at the moment is debunking the difference between cost per acquisition and customer acquisition cost.


3 reasons why the B2B buying journey is more emotional than B2C was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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