When you’re bringing a product to market for your B2B brand, you have two possible messaging directions: You can lead with features, or you can focus on benefits. Understanding the difference between the two is key to creating effective sales messaging.
One is rational. The other, emotional. And, if you are about to launch an innovative B2B product that’s fresh off the R&D conveyor belt, it’s extremely hard not to geek out on the features. Unfortunately, that’s the rational part of the equation, and isn’t what really sells your product.
Emotion sells. Which is why you should always lead with benefits. Benefits represent your customer. Features represent the product. And sales is all about the customer and what matters to them.
Here’s an example of leading with a feature:
The XT has a 1,000-horsepower motor with 20% more torque.
Sounds impressive and probably is super badass, but what does that even mean?
Here’s an example of leading with a benefit:
Cuts through concrete 42 percent faster, leaving the competition in the dust.
Now, that’s something that will pique any business owner’s interest.
While the obvious benefit is that they’ll get jobs done quicker, which leads to more opportunities, more credibility, and more money, the real emotional reward here is bragging rights. They’ll be the fastest kid on the block. In your face, suckers. Never underestimate the power of your customers’ egos.
Now that you have them emotionally invested, this is the point in the sales cycle when you play the rational angle, leaning into the features. They’re crucial in the fact that they make the benefits possible and help your customers justify their purchase.
Finally, your product has to live up to the messaging hype. The biggest emotional connection a customer will ever have with your company is product satisfaction. If you deliver there, then more often than not, you’ve won them for life. And they’ll have that emotional recall any time they see your marketing.
In the end, the most effective B2B advertising uses both to motivate buyers. Lead with an emotional appeal and justify with the rational.