left right brainRecent research* looked at complex b2b procurements and found that buyers use both the emotional and rational sides of the brain when making decisions.

Maybe you believe that your buyers are irrational when making decisions. Your team might say, “I don’t understand it, they went with a competitor and we are way better”. Do you struggle to reconcile why?

The fact is that buyers use both the emotional and rational sides of the brain when making decisions.

The research showed that the emotional (limbic) brain is dominant when someone is making a complex decision, with over half of respondents confirming they would walk away from a complex procurement process (or supplier) if “things didn’t feel right”. These feelings are often reflected in a more informal buying process, the feelings and priorities of buyers that sit alongside the published process and criteria.

It was found that the rational side of the brain is also used extensively to rationalise these instinctive decisions. Almost all of them have a formal process, with anything between 3 and 10 stages, and over 70% of respondents claim to always use objective facts to assess their options.

So what does this mean for b2b sales teams? Of course you need to understand the formal buying process, but more importantly the feelings of each member of the buying team. Decisions are made on feeling, post-rationalised by logic, and without both you might well see the project stall. Understand the emotional and rational thinking and you can progress deals faster.

Good selling.

*The research study was completed in late 2015 by a project team at Sheffield Hallam University, completing this as part of their Masters degree in Marketing.

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