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How B2B Sales Leads Make Buying Decisions - Psychological Insights

Brian Cristiano Dec 31, 2021

The more you know about people, the more success you'll have in life.  Similarly, the more you know about your B2B sales leads, the more sales and overall business success you'll have!

When we say 'the more you know', we're referring to the more you know about the way that people function psychologically.  

Because, when you know more about people's psychology, you know more about what motivates them.

And when you know what motivates a person, the greater the odds you understand why they make the decisions they make!

That being said, we're sharing a guide to understanding how B2B sales leads function psychologically in order to come to buying decisions.

By using this guide, you'll get a grip on how leads approach sales situations and what psychological cues push them into making buying decisions.  With that information, you can formulate the perfect sales approach to convert them into paying customers.

Here is what you need to know about your B2B sales lead's psychology to achieve sales success!

 

What Is a B2B Lead?

 

A business-to-business sales lead is an ideal potential customer in your target audience.  

They are companies that you believe have a problem you can help solve, would work well alongside your sales team, and are likely ready, willing, and able to afford your value.

Your job as a sales rep is to identify who your ideal leads are be developing:

  1. An ideal prospect profile (IPP) for the B2B company
  2. An ideal buyer persona (IBP) for the top decision makers at the B2B company

Once you have the IPP and IBP down, you then dive into your sales and marketing strategies to drive leads into the sales funnel.  This process is better known as lead generation.

However, don't even think about starting to generate leads until you've gotten super specific on your ideal B2B lead.

In fact, the more specific you are about leads, the better!

If you want new business, you need new leads.  And, not just any new lead, but ones that are highly likely to, at the very least, be interested in your business solution.

 

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What Is At the Core of Decision-Making? (IMPORTANT)

 

Now... Here's something that you need to know about not just your sales leads, but people in general: People make purchasing decisions based on emotional factors.

When it comes down to it, what motivates a B2B sales lead to sign their name on the dotted line is whether or not they feel an emotional pull to you and your deliverable.

That being said, a lead's decision-making system is primarily motivated by emotions, not logic or reason!

Therefore, if you want any chance of being successful in sales, your job as a B2B sales rep is to frame your sales encounters in a way that appeals to the lead's emotions.

Think of it like this... You first need to appeal to the lead's reason by filling them in on all the specs of your product or service, and then you need to motivate them to purchase it by appealing to their emotions.

Moreover, we're not saying that you should overlook the lead's reasoning, but we are saying that leads don't make final purchasing decisions based on logic or reason!

As much as we all like to think of ourselves as highly-logical people, the truth is that we are quite the opposite…

Bottom line... You first need to make sure that you are fully capable of solving the lead's pain points (AKA fulfilling their tactical needs).  Then, you need to push the sale over the edge by appealing to the lead's emotions.

 

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B2B Lead Generation Strategies - A Quick Run Down

 

Once you know who your ideal leads are and understand that emotions are what primarily motivate them to make buying decisions, you can start the lead generation process.

Generating leads is one of the first major steps in the B2B sales process (AKA sales cycle or sales pipeline).  

It's the first actionable step you take to try and get in front of your leads and shovel them into the sales funnel.  And, there are three key ways of doing that, including:

  1. Inbound marketing tactics
  2. Outbound outreach tactics
  3. Referrals from current customers

As you get responses from your leads, you can categorize them into one of two groups, including:

  1. MQLs - marketing qualified leads
  2. SQLs - sales qualified leads

MQLs are leads who are likely to become paying customers.  On the other hand, SQLs are MQLs that are further on in the sales funnel than MQLs.  Your goal is to convert as many MQLs into SQLs.

Lastly, keep in mind that just because you believe a lead fits into your target market doesn't mean that they necessarily do.  While they might look like a great fit on the outside, once you get to know them you realize they aren't.

That being said, be sure to further qualify your leads after making initial contact with them!

 

Inbound Marketing Tactics

 

Is there anything better in sales that getting leads to come to you instead of you having to pursue them?

Nope!

Inbound marketing tactics do just that.

Some of the most effective inbound marketing tactics include:

  1. SEO - search engine optimization
  2. Landing page optimization
  3. White papers
  4. Social media and content marketing
  5. Webinars

Perhaps the second best thing about inbound marketing is that it's easy to automate. In fact,  marketing automation is simple with basic SAAS tools.

 

Outbound Outreach Tactics

 

Outbound outreach gets a bad rep on the internet these days.  Many sales reps believe that it's virtually impossible to get leads in the door through traditional outreach tactics.

However, they're wrong!

While outbound sales does come with its challenges, the truth is that most people don't do it correctly.  Hence... Why there are so many people out there who despise it!

When done correctly though and being diligent with follow-up, outbound outreach can help you seal some fantastic leads.

Consider using the following outbound outreach, including:

  1. Cold email marketing
  2. Cold calling
  3. Social media messaging 

Want to make sure that you're doing cold outreach the right way?  Just follow this guide!

 

Referrals From Current Customers

 

Okay, maybe we were wrong... Maybe the best thing about sales is getting leads via referrals from your current customer base!

Getting referrals from your current customers has several advantages, including:

  1. The referred lead is likely at least somewhat qualified
  2. The referred lead has social proof from your current customer
  3. You save a lot of time hunting for leads!

Go look through your CRM and identify customers who you have solid relationships with.  Then, reach out to them and kindly ask if they know of anyone else who needs your services.  You'd be surprised at how effective this can be!

 

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How Ideal Customers Come to Make Buying Decisions - Psychology Insights

 

Now without further ado, here are the top insights into the psychology of your high-quality leads.  More specifically, these insights take you inside the mind of a lead and how they come to make purchasing decisions.

Remember, leads ultimately make decisions based on emotional pulls, not factual pulls.  Therefore, always keep emotions at the forefront of each sales encounter.

Business is about helping people…  The more you know about how people work, the greater the odds that you help them, and the greater levels of sales success you'll ultimately have!

 

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They Look For Expert Product and Service Providers

 

When you walk into a sales pitch or even dial into a sales call, you need to talk and act like you're an expert in your field.

Why?

Because, leads come to you looking for help to solve a problem that they clearly can't fix on their own.  Therefore, they want to be able to look to you and see that you know exactly what needs to be done to get their pain point solved. 

Think of it like this... When you walk into a 5 star restaurant and ask a question about the menu, the wait staff knows every detail about every dish on the menu.  As a result, you feel confident in not only taking them up on their recommendations, but also paying the high price for the fancy restaurant.

How do you come across as an expert in your field?

Here's how:

  1. Be assertive
  2. Talk slower
  3. Give prospects plenty of time to talk

First off, if you know what a lead needs to get their problem solved, don't be afraid to say it like it is.  Don't be afraid to step up to the plate and assert everything they need to know.

Second, a sign that somebody doesn't really know what they're talking about is that they talk extremely fast.  Therefore, because you are an expert, talk slower to give the impression you know what you're doing.

Lastly, another sign of somebody that doesn't really know what they're talking about is that they don't let others talk at all.  They prefer to do all the talking because they don't want somebody else to jump in and oppose them.  Instead of doing all the talking then, let your leads do most of the talking.  Then, when it's time for you to talk, assert your knowledge.

Bottom line... Show up to each sales encounter like the expert you are!

 

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They Need to Be Able to Build Trust With Salespeople

 

Straight-up... If leads don't trust you, then you can kiss them goodbye, because trust is essential to close any deal.

Why?

Because, just like friendships and other day-to-do relationships, trust between the two parties is absolutely essential for a strong relationship to form.  And, because B2B sales is about building relationships, trust between leads and sales reps is extremely important.

Moreover, B2B companies want to be able to feel like they can trust you and your sales team!

There are several reasons why trust is so important in a sales relationship, including:

  1. Leads need to feel comfortable being vulnerable
  2. Leads need to trust that you will produce results
  3. Leads want to have a personal relationship with you

First off and most importantly, whenever a lead comes to you for help, they're exposing a weak spot of theirs to you.  Many times, this makes them feel vulnerable.  And, whenever somebody feels vulnerable, they want to feel like the person they're exposing themselves to is trustworthy.

Second and most obviously, if you assert yourself as an expert in your field, prospects need to trust that!  Simply put... If you say that you can help them, they need to trust that you will live up to your promises.

Lastly, B2B sales relationships are built on many of the same factors as every-day friendships.  And like we mentioned above, trust is absolutely essential in friendships.  Therefore, if you want to have a stable, long-term relationship with your  leads, there needs to be trust between the two parties.  Most importantly, the top decision-makers at the B2B company must be able to trust you in order for the relationship to ensue.

B2B sales is about relationships, and every relationship needs to be built on trust!

 

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New Leads Like to See Evidence of Success

 

Whenever you buy something off of the internet these days, what is the first thing you do when you're first interested in a product?

If you're like most people, the first think you probably do is fly to the reviews!

These days, online reviews and testimonials are some of the most powerful sales tools out there, even for small and inexpensive items.

That being said, if reviews are important even for small purchases, don't you think that your B2B leads would also like to see evidence that your product or service is great?

That being said, get together with your B2B marketing team to put together a sales and marketing campaign that shows evidence of your product or service’s effectiveness!  The easiest way to do it is to put together case studies of your most loyal customers.

Case studies are highly effective because they demonstrate social proof.  Social proof gives evidence to your target audience that your product or service is effective by proving that others have been successful with it.

Not only that, but when your leads see that others are already taking advantage of your product or service and seeing positive results, they'll start to feel a little bit of FOMO.  They'll want in on a piece of that success too!

Once you've got your case studies together, don't just leave it up to your marketing team to put it out there.  Get in on the game too by sharing the content on your personal social media platforms, particularly LinkedIn.

The best part about sharing case studies on social media is that they can have a powerful effect on leads already in your sales funnel AND play a major role in sales lead generation!

 

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Potential Customers Want to Feel Positive Energy

 

Have you ever sat in on a sales meeting and the lead sales rep walked into the room and completely captivated you?  They barely said anything, yet there was something about them that just pulled you in and kept you in place.

More likely than not, what you were feeling was positive energy radiating off the sales rep.

As much as you may or may not like to hear it... Energy is palpable.  Whatever energy you've giving off will eventually be picked up on by others.

But, where does energy come from?

Simply put: Energy comes from the thoughts you think.  Because, the thoughts you think create the emotions you feel.  And, the emotions you feel determine your energy.

Even if you have the biggest smile on your face, if your energy is off, it will be obvious.

That being said, you need to check yourself for positive thoughts so that you give off positive energy!

But, why is positive energy so important?

Like we mentioned above, leads come to you for help solving a problem.  Because they're feeling the weight of their problems, they're probably feeling some type of negative energy that they'd like to be relieved from.

Believe it or not, but you can help change someone's negative energy to positive energy just by radiating your own positivity.  Just like the captivating salesperson we mentioned above, you can infect someone with your own energy.

If you can be the salesperson who knows how to shift the energy in the room, then you're in great shape as a sales professional!

 

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They Want Their Feelings Validated

 

Have you ever gone to a friend to vent your frustrations, but instead of them listening to you, they discredited what you were feeling?

If you've been there before, you know it doesn't feel good!

That being said, when a qualified lead comes to you to get help with their problems, the last thing you want to do is make them feel bad for feeling frustrated.  Because, at the end of the day, if you were in their shoes dealing with the same problem, you'd likely be frustrated too!

Furthermore, instead of judging their feelings, let them know that it's okay to be frustrated!  That isn't to say you should harp on those feelings forever, but just let them know that it makes sense that they're feeling what they're feeling.

Additionally, just be a good listener!  Allow them to let out whatever they need to let out.

By validating their feelings, you show them that you not only care about their feelings, but you also care about helping them improve their situation!

 

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They Don’t Want to Jump Through Hoops to Make a Purchase

 

The absolute LAST thing you want to do is make your leads jump through hoops or waste their time to get through the sales process.  

Not only that, but there isn't a single sales rep out there who likes an overcomplicated and long-winded process.

By overcomplicated, we mean that there are far too many steps and boxes to check during the process.  By long-winded, we mean that the process is far longer than it needs to be.  More often than not, overcomplicated and long-winded go hand in hand.

On the flipside, leads will love you if you keep the sales process short and sweet for them!

Why do they prefer short and sweet processes?  Here are just a few of the key reasons:

  1. The sooner they find a solution, the better
  2. Shorter & sweeter sales processes reinforces your expertise
  3. Leads don't have all the time in the world

To begin with, if you had a problem that needed to be solved, wouldn't you want it solved sooner rather than later?  Not only that, but wouldn't you want to come to a solution easily?  That being said, don't make your prospects jump through hoops or take the long road to get to a solution.

Second, when you cut to the chase with your customers, you reinforce your expertise because it makes it look like you know exactly what you're talking about. 

Third and finally, just like you, your leads probably have a full schedule.  They don't have all the time in the world to go through countless sales meetings and sit in on exceedingly long sales calls.  Therefore, you'll make their lives much easier (and they’ll like you much more) if you just cut to the chase.

At the end of the day, the sooner you can convert a lead into a paying customer, the better for both you and the lead!

 

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Final Thoughts on How B2B Sales Leads Make Purchasing Decisions

 

They say knowledge is power.  But, that isn't necessarily true.

What is true is that knowledge + action = power.

And, now that you know what psychologically motivates your B2B sales leads to make purchasing decisions, you can start framing each sales encounter to cater towards their psychology.

Again... Knowing what drives buying decisions isn't enough!  Will you step up to the plate now and take action to achieve sales success?