Behavioural Science for B2B Marketers

behavioural science

“B2B businesses are run by people, for people” ..and we cannot agree more. 

If you want your business to succeed, understanding people and their behaviors are not only vital but a necessity. 

An evidence-based, scientific approach gives your business a greater probability of success.

But why is it so? Why do you need a scientific approach for sure-shot success?

This is because there exists a common belief among B2B marketers that their clients behave far more rationally than B2C buyers. 

But the truth is – Your B2B clients suffer from the same decision-making biases and are not as rational as B2B marketers believe.

According to a Gallop report, 80% of the decisions B2B marketers make are emotional and only 20% are rational. 

Therefore, by employing a behavioural science approach, you can easily comprehend your prospects’ behaviours. This ultimately will help you focus on the right solutions to influence their behaviour. It will boost your confidence to invest on those solutions because they are more effective.

B2B purchases are driven by emotions (far more than what they’re given credit for). And if you’re confused how then this can be easily understood in consumer marketing and public policy, where behavioural psychology has been widely adopted and applied.

Behavioural Science helps you to understand and influence the decision making process. And so we think it is especially relevant in B2B and there is a huge opportunity to take advantage of it in 2021.

But before we move ahead let’s understand the “What” and “Why” of behavioural science.

What is Behavioural Science?

Well to simply put it, “Behavioural Science” is the study of why we do what we do. 

B2B marketers leverage it to understand complex and counter-intuitive mechanisms by which leads and prospects make the judgments and decisions which inform their behaviour.

Why Behavioural Science?

We’ve seen a growing interest in behavioural science over past years, particularly from the market research and B2B marketing industries.

The actual reason for this increase in interest was a highly significant yet not entirely unexpected “realization”.  Realization that a series of long held assumptions made by economists about human judgment and decision making contain major inaccuracies and inconsistencies. 

Since then both public and private entities started investing more in the development of more realistic theories. These theories can not only be used to understand people better but also to influence them more effectively.

And Behavioural Science is one such theory.

Behavioural Science in B2B

B2B marketers and sales reps have been using behavioural science long before it even gained that label as stated in an article in Mckinsey Quarterly.

Attractive offers and extended-payment layaway plans became widespread because they worked and not because B2B marketers had run scientific studies. 

Wearing formals to a meeting? Sending an expensive piece of direct mail? That’s cost signalling. 

Case studies? They’re a vehicle of social proof. 

Three-tiered pricing? Choice architecture. The list goes on and on.

We’ve been exploring it more methodically for years now. We used the term ‘exploring’ here because behavioural science doesn’t give you numbered rules to follow. Instead it gives you several hypotheses to test and patterns to match.

You need a tight feedback loop, to assist you in looking at how your hypotheses are working out – not just in terms of quantitative measurement, but also in qualitative conversations with your prospects and clients.

And if you can integrate research, strategy, digital, data, inside sales, and clients’ sales teams so they’re all communicating with each other and sharing information, you can easily set up well-integrated feedback loops.

Why do you need Behavioural Science for your business?

Another Gallup report quoted that about 10 B2B firms that have applied behavioral science principles to clients and employees outperformed their peers by 85% in sales growth. So applying these principles could benefit you and your prospects both.

Let’s dive into these principles :

#1 Your prospects seldom face a purchasing dilemma, help them make their decision making easy by providing them a default choice. Offer your buyers bundles as packages involve less decision making. Like suppose if you’re a content marketer, include embedded videos, podcasts or links to additional content.

#2 When you present an offer, the language you use matters. Always keep it positive. Keep it conversational.

#3 Create infographics or research reports that show the statistics that further let the prospects and B2B organisations know where they stand in comparison to others .

#4 It’s very important to build trust and loyalty by putting your prospect’s benefits before your own. Let them know you won’t try selling them something they wouldn’t need. Assure them that you’re willing to walk away if you don’t find your business a suitable fit for them. Don’t force your B2B products or solutions on them. 

RELATED POST: Importance of B2B Intent Marketing in the New Normal

How can you build Behavioural Science into B2B marketing activities?

Most of the B2B campaigns involve social proof in one form or the another. In B2B businesses where large and complex deals are in play, very few decision-making units would be willing to try something that’s entirely unproven.

A lot of people think the most interesting part of ‘behavioural science’ is the ‘behavioural’ bit. But we don’t agree. 

We think it’s actually the ‘science’ bit. 

The testing and learning part. 

That’s much more widely applicable. 

Your clients aren’t asking you to become the world’s foremost experts in behaviour. They come to you because you’re a great B2B marketer, constantly trying to improve in everything you do. 

Making your leads believe that others in their industry are making a decision is likely to encourage them to make it too. 

Even if marketing and behavioural science have so much in common, but still they aren’t identical. 

Creating and running successful B2B marketing campaigns takes more than a nudge here and a bias there.

Behavioural science includes a wide variety of tools to assess the likely impact of B2B campaigns with a focus on outcomes, not just awareness. 

Despite best intentions, many B2B marketing campaigns remain a hit and miss affair.

Leveraging randomized control trials in real conditions, behavioural science allows B2B marketers to test different approaches even before scaling the optimum approach to produce the maximum ROI.

Decades of research demonstrated that most prospects use relatively simplified forms of thinking to make decisions, including the crucial ones. 

Get your dose of marketing mentality –TODAY!

To innovate and excel while growing, B2B organizations need more marketing representation at non-exec level. 

More psychological forms of differentiation are required and behavioural science is all you need.

Our B2B Sales & Marketing Consultancy firm can help you implement and strategize your current marketing schemes with our wide range of digital services specially customized for your business. 

Contact us for more information.