Four Key Influencers of B2B Buyers

When you find something you want to buy, do you get it right away? Or, do you think about it for a while?

As a consumer, you can make either choice depending on what you need, and sometimes just what you want!

But B2B buyers don’t have that luxury. You’ll rarely witness a B2B impulse purchase. Instead, they have a process they go through while making a buying decision. It’s more complex than convincing an individual consumer to buy. And more people are usually involved in the purchase as well.

Your ability to understand the B2B buying process, and how business buyers think and feel, directly affects how you write your copy. But, to get inside the minds of B2B buyers is challenging. You need to speak to them on emotional, personal, and intellectual levels.

How do you do that?

It’s not enough to simply describe the product, and its features and benefits effectively. You need to tailor your copy to appeal to the challenges, needs, and interests of the type of business buyer you’re targeting.

However, once you understand the process, it’s not nearly as complicated as it may seem.

Here are a few tips to help you have a clearer understanding of how to create copy that reaches business buyers in this way.

The four key influencers are:

  • How B2B buyers make decisions based on the needs of the business and their own personal needs.
  • How B2B buyers rarely make buying decisions alone.
  • The important role that professional titles play in how you craft your B2B copy.
  • The B2B buyer’s product knowledge level and how this affects the way you explain it.

Applying these insights will enable you to write more persuasive B2B copy … the kind that gets results, and that clients love.

Business vs. Personal Needs

A tug-of-war goes on in the mind of the business buyer when making a buying decision.

On one hand, he wants to address the needs of the business. What its challenges, needs, and interests are.

But, people make buying decisions, not bricks-and-mortar. So personal challenges, needs, and interests also come into play.

Usually the result is a compromise. If you don’t address both, your copy will not be compelling.

What are their business needs?

To generate sales … stay financially healthy … be a step ahead of their competitors … and comply with laws and regulations.

What are their personal needs?

To have career advancement … job security … less work and fewer hassles … risk avoidance … personal stake.

You should be able to mentally walk a mile in the shoes of a typical business buyer.

So, when writing copy for the B2B market, it’s not all business. It’s personal, too. You must appeal to both sides of their personality.

The Decision Makers

It’s common for several people in a company to get involved in the buying decision. Take this into account so your copy will address this reality.

For example, the purchasing manager may want to do a competitive analysis. The chief financial officer is concerned with the investment and return for the company. The employee manager may be directly involved with using the product or service.

How does this play out?

Before you write a word of copy, you need to know who is going to be reading it. It may be only one person. But more likely, there will be others.

And that’s where things can get a little tricky. Your persuasive message must address the concerns of the different types of business buyers.

If there is a primary and secondary target audience, you may need to write two separate marketing pieces.

Sometimes with a bit of creativity, you can speak directly to the specific buyers within the same marketing piece.

The Professional Title

The professional title plays a big role in how that person makes a business buying decision.

Their title is one of the most important things you need to know about your target audience. It will enable you to write copy that speaks directly and persuasively to them.

For example, the chief executive officer has different challenges than the marketing manager. The financial manager has different needs than the sales manager. The public relations manager has different interests than the IT manager.

People with those titles all differ, to some degree, in how they make buying decisions. Just knowing this can make your copy more powerful.

Understanding the challenges, needs, and interests of a particular professional title is a crucial key to craft relevant B2B copy.

Product Knowledge

Respect the business buyer’s product knowledge. You want to make certain that the basic information you convey in your B2B copy is neither over his head, nor under it.

It’s essential that you gain a clear understanding of the product; what it is … how it works … and what it does.

If you don’t, it will show in your copy. And, your copy will lose all credibility with the business buyer.

You must know all the features and benefits, and how they apply to the type of buyer you’re persuading. Figure out how much they need to know about the product or service you’re writing about.

Be sure to understand all the acronyms and industry jargon associated with the product or service. Become an expert on it, so you can write about it clearly and accurately.

Gaining this perspective will enable you to connect with the business buyer on a deeper level.

Business buyers have a lot to think about when deciding whether or not to make a purchase. They certainly can’t do so on impulse.

They need to consider what their company needs, and what others in the company think. Also, how the product works, how much it costs, and the benefits the product or service will generate. Their own personal needs are just as important, too.

Always keep this in mind when writing. It will make your copy as effective and persuasive as possible.

Good luck, and happy writing!

Editor’s Note: These are some of the concepts you’ll find explained in more detail in Secrets of How to Write High-Performance Business-to-Business Copy by Steve Slaunwhite.

This article, Four Key Influencers of B2B Buyers, was originally published by B2B Writing Success.

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Published: March 12, 2015

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