Hey Marketers, Want Buyer’s Trust? Be More Human.

Human beings naturally fear change. We instinctively cling to the status quo. Change is hard. Change is scary. Change requires us to do something differently than before, to change our mindset, to take a risk on something that might either be a total failure or phenomenally successful. The outcome on the other side of change is often unknown, and we don’t like that.

Making a purchase decision in the B2B world means a change to the status quo, welcomed or not. But, let’s be crystal clear on something, here. That buying decision – it’s not being made by a business.  It’s being made by a human person.

“Businesses don’t write checks. People do.” – Matt Heinz

So as humans, what do we do in the face of change? We look for information and opinions we trust that can help us decide what to do.

And here’s where the REAL punch to the gut comes to B2B marketers – that information, that TRUST buyers look for to feel good about making that decision – yeah, modern B2B buyers aren’t getting it from you, your campaigns, your content, or your ads!

Humans are naturally social creatures. When the possibility of change to our status quo stares us in the face, we do what is human. What even our ancestral caveman did to protect ourselves from dangers outside our known universe: we band together with people who believe what we believe. We surround ourselves with people who have our best interest in mind. People just like us. People we call our peers. People we trust.

But what if that “tribe” your buyers are clinging to were also your customers? What if they were the key to building that trust on your behalf so that buyer was more receptive to the change you are offering? What if your marketing literally became a human being?

Think about how we largely do business today. Rather than executives going cubicle to cubicle and asking their employees what they think, we send an online survey. Customer service is an email response to your inquiry 24 hours later. Technology has changed our definition of things. A “friend” is now someone you just check a status of. Your network is a bunch of headshots on LinkedIn, communication happens through blogs, and we have discussions through series of 140 character posts on Twitter. The humanity of things has gone away in a world where human survival depends on our ability to interact and trust other humans – not technology.

What if we brought more of that humanity back to the way we do business? What would happen?

Trust is a distinctly human quality, and is ONLY something humans can create. Technology doesn’t create it. Businesses don’t create it. Humans do. Today, it’s your happy customers, a.k.a. your buyers’ peers, that create the trust needed to influence a change in buyer behavior via their human relationships with each other.

Human relationships are the foundation of trust.

Trust is the common thread that connects buyers and sellers. THAT is why customer references will never die. The need to talk to someone real and ask questions one-on-one about what they believe about you and why they do what they do with you – whether it be in person or on the phone – will never go away. Technology cannot ever replace that trust built from two humans interacting.

So, I implore you to rethink your marketing a bit as we head into Q4 and look forward to 2018. Quit tweeting – and start activating the human elements of marketing via customer advocacy.

Nichole Auston
Customer Marketing Director at RO Innovation
Nichole Auston is the Customer Marketing Director at RO Innovation. With a background in digital marketing and nearly a decade of experience managing marketing programs for a variety of SaaS companies, she’s passionate about sharing insights, best practices and stories about sales enablement and customer reference management, and the people and technology that power it.