News Flash: B2B = B2C

People talk about B2B and B2C as if they’re Venus and Mars — two completely different spaces. That leads to the assumption that the messaging for each has to be dramatically different. And that’s a mistake.

Certainly, the sales process is different for each. But in every case — without exception — decision makers have to be engaged by marketing or salespeople, or both. And decision makers are people, just like other people.

Regardless of what we believe about ourselves, people make decisions based on both data and emotion. But in the B2B world, we assume data drives decisions, and that emotion seldom comes into play at all.

In fact, emotion may be an even more powerful motivator in the B2B world than it is in consumer sales. As a consumer, when you buy something, the only consequence for a wrong choice is that you’re unhappy.

But if you’re making a purchase decision for your company, the stakes are higher — maybe much higher. A mistake doesn’t just impact the company. It can affect co-workers and even jeopardize your position or your career.

Smart B2B marketers use language rooted in emotion — words that reassure potential buyers. They reveal all the problems and issues — and the dire consequences — that can be avoided by choosing them over a competitor.

This is one reason the right testimonials work so well. They provide reassurance to potential buyers, including insulation from the possibility of things going wrong.

It’s also why a lot of industry jargon acts as sales repellent. Not only does it actually impede communication, it can make it seem that the potential pitfalls of a product or service are being hidden behind a wall of technical talk.

Even with the most sophisticated audience, there’s a lot of evidence that simple, straight talk is the shortest path to the level of trust you need to make a sale. Save the technical language for those who ask for it.

And don’t just remind prospects of the pitfalls if they choose poorly. Show them how you make their lives easier and better in clear, emotionally-rich language. Never forget that the customer is the hero of your story. Not you. Not your company. Not your product or service. Your customer.

Finally, as with consumer companies, B2B companies need to demonstrate how simple they make things. Make your product or service easy to buy and easy to use — and constantly look for ways to make it even easier.

If you want to stand out in the B2B space, start thinking of your prospects as consumers. When you do, you’ll liberate your marketing and accelerate your sales.