The Long & Lonely Road: How to Influence Pipeline Emotions


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If I’m angry, I’ll do something spiteful. If I’m happy, I’ll do something generous. If I’m unmotivated … well, I’ll do nothing. We are driven by emotions. They influence our attitude, lean on our judgements, and ultimately make our decisions. Emotions drive sales.

When people purchase anything, they must make a decision. As salespeople, we need to harness our leads’ emotions, understand them, and use them to our advantage. Once we become the master of customer emotions, we know what makes them tick, how to play smarter with them, we can draw new insights, and offer more sophisticated, targeted content. We effectively have a hand on customer brains, controlling their buying decisions.

Each pipeline is obviously different… demographics, behaviour, products etc. But when it comes to emotions, our customers are all the same. Whether it’s B2C or B2B, we’re still dealing with human beings. Emotions! Demographics don’t matter. Old or young; from Zanzibar to Svalbard, each customer feels similar… emotions! I can’t speak for all consumers, but I will. We all feel the same whenever we buy something.

Emotions Pipeline

Here comes a bit of a mad idea. Let’s divvy up the sales pipeline into emotions, rather than vague steps. Let’s put ourselves in our customers’ shoes to really understand what they want; let’s take a look at some of the emotional triggers and strategies that get NetHunt’s leads down the pipeline.

Awareness: Indifference > Intrigue

Out of all the emotions a lead could feel, indifference towards a product is the worst. Indifference is ‘I don’t know you, stop emailing me’, it’s ‘meh’, and it’s no-man’s land for marketers and salespeople. Our job is to intrigue our leads by being likeable and engaging, but not over-the-top and clingy. We need to pique their interest by shining a light on our product, explaining precisely and simply how it benefits them. It’s like that old dating rule – ‘don’t talk about yourself too much’.

Features tell, benefits sell

Obviously we need to know who our lead is. Obviously, we’ve already put together a buyer profile based on demographics and behaviour to find out what really makes leads tick. Mass, blanket email campaigns don’t work in a world where big data is so prevalent and available for personalisation. Everybody’s got a different problem; content needs to be specifically targeted at solving them. Finally, if a lead doesn’t know that they’ve got a problem yet… it’s your job to tell them that they have.

🔥Use active verbs and sensory adjectives to give e-leads a flavour for your product🔥

Brand Storytelling can be the bridge between indifference and intrigue. Stories are memorable, they connect us as humans, and they ultimately add value to a product. Each good brand story is made up of three core elements: conflict, context, and continuity. The conflict is the customer’s problem, and it always matches the context, which explains where the company came from. Once you’ve made that connection between your brand and your customer, intrigue is piqued and they feel a connection between their own and a brand’s values.

Consideration: Intrigue > FOMO

As an emotion in sales, intrigue isn’t the best. It’ll be enough to sell one or two units to the more fearless leads, but for the more cautious ones we need to invoke a Fear of Missing Out (FOMO). FOMO is powerful. It’s that feeling of sitting at home, helping your Grandma peel potatoes whilst your mates are at the pub singing karaoke. Tickling a lead’s FOMO is a surefire way to push them further down the pipeline. There are loads of different ways to give them the fear.

🔥 FOMO requires a certain level of urgency in the language we use🔥

Social Proof is a psychological phenomenon whereby people conform to what everybody around them is doing. Marketers can use it as a trigger for lead FOMO by sharing real-use customer stories, having influencers and industry leaders feature your product. Even though it’s no longer the 90’s, it can also be a celebrity endorsement or quote to say ‘this is what everybody’s using these days.’ Put up a velvet curtain by preaching exclusivity and VIP discounts and offers.

Social media is ground zero for social proof and FOMO. Consumers are constantly engaged with what celebrities, influencers, and friends are doing. It’s a natural instinct to want what somebody we know has, so engage with leads on social media, engage with who they are following, and churn out user-generated content. Give them the instant gratification that only social media can provide, whilst keeping your brand name at the front of their mind.

Purchase: FOMO > Satisfaction

Yep, you sold your product. Satisfied? Whatever. The only thing we’re worried about is making sure that our new customer feels satisfied. They need to not feel like their FOMO got the better of them and they rushed into their purchasing decision. They need to feel safe, satisfied, and comfortable in their decision. They need to not feel buyer’s remorse, and the best way to do that is by delivering on the promises you’ve already made to them.

Give them a reason to believe they’ve made the right choice. Ease uncertainties and anxieties by clearly outlining the next steps they need to take to get their new product working properly and effectively. Set drip campaigns for new users to make sure new customers don’t feel like you’ve taken their money and run away. Providing satisfaction means giving your customers a good user experience. Finally, it means maintaining your pedestal as an industry leader by pumping out useful, relevant content that’s better than your competitors’.

Most importantly, you need to fess up when you mess up.

Post-Purchase: Satisfaction > Active Loyalty

Engaged correctly, a satisfied customer can go on to become a loyal brand advocate for any company. Word-of-Mouth Marketing is arguably the most effective form of marketing there is, where a product or company is recommended by trusted colleagues, friends, or peers. This can only be achieved through a dedicated, finely-tuned Post-Purchase strategy. My company follows a ‘Customer Success’ model, where Customer Success Managers have replaced the traditional Support Team.

Behind each Customer Success, there is a Customer Success Story. We interview our customers about their success and share it with the world!

A Customer Success Strategy is a novel approach to customer support…

  • Onboard enterprise-level customers and run assessment calls to understand exactly how your product will work for them.
  • Educate your customers on how to use your product to exactly fit their business needs; continue educating them as new features are developed.
  • Align teams through technology to ensure that each customer receives the same line of messaging and everybody has access to their data.
  • Provide benefits such as early access to new features. Help them feel part of the process by asking for their feedback.
  • Be responsive to their feedback. Never say ‘no we can’t do that’; always say ‘we’ll look into it.’

One recent Customer Success strategy my company employed was to set up a ‘Crisis-Proof Community’ in response to the coronavirus pandemic. People want to feel part of something, and having the support of fellow SME business owners, both with our system and with other general business concerns, turned out to be a huge hit. We started on Facebook, but now have a dedicated platform. Our community helps our customers succeed. When they succeed, we do too.

You’re not a robot, nor are your customers. Sure, your sales process should be driven by your own pride, dignity, and confidence in your product, but it should also be driven by an awareness of your customers’ emotions. From indifference all the way to active loyalty, there are heaps of different techniques and tricks to get them there!

Andrei Petrik
Andrei Petrik is the CEO and Co-Founder at NetHunt, a Gmail-based CRM system. Having been in the industry for more than 12 years, Andrei knows a thing or two about customer relations and business processes. Prior to developing his own product, Andrei was the Director of Product Management and worked closely with corporations on helping them implement enterprise-level CRM systems.


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