We all naturally hesitate to ask personal questions. A new study explains why salespeople and customer success managers must ask personal questions.

“As B2B offerings become ever more commoditized, the subjective, sometimes quite personal considerations that business customers bring to purchasing decisions are increasingly important. Understanding the full range of rational and emotional factors in business purchases – and tailoring value propositions accordingly – can help firms avoid the commodity trap.”

The B2B Elements of Value by Eric Almquist, Jamie Cleghorn, and Lori Sherer Harvard Business Review March-April 2018

Software and SaaS Salespeople in Competitive Situations

The three finalists in a competitive sales cycle can usually check all the technical boxes. Addressing the less rational elements is often the margin of victory.

SaaS Renewals

For customer success managers, SaaS renewals hinge, not on obvious success factors, but personal, emotional preferences.

The authors of the study found the average Net Promoter Score* was 60% higher when companies satisfied the personal, emotional needs as well as the basic needs of their customers versus companies that only succeeded in the basic, traditional areas of need.

Need Diagnostic to the Personal Level

That means salespeople and customer success managers need to uncover these unique, subjective, personal, emotional needs to have any chance of satisfying them.

If you hesitate to ask the personal questions in the Need Diagnostic, as we all do, it is my hope this study will help you see why diagnosing to the personal, emotional level is in the best interest of the buyer and the seller.

People buy emotionally and justify intellectually.

SaaS customers renew emotionally and justify rationally.

*Net Promoter Score is calculated by subtracting the percentage of customers who are detractors from the percentage who are promoters. It is considered a key indicator of customer loyalty.