The word "emotion" used to have no place in a business setting. It was a term used to describe inappropriate crying or outbursts of anger by employees on the job. Showing emotions at work was deemed unprofessional as it was positioned as diametrically opposed from reason and logic. It's not hard to understand why this belief persisted for so long when the 7 basic emotions are Anger, Contempt, Fear, Disgust, Happiness, Sadness, and Surprise. Only one of the seven is inherently a positive emotion (surprise could go either way!).
Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is a term that first appeared in 1964, further defined in 1990 as a leadership trait by John D. Mayer and Peter Salovey, and made famous in 1995 by journalist Daniel Goleman when he released his New York Times Best-selling book creatively titled Emotional Intelligence. Over the last 15 years, the term has birthed thousands of articles and books to help make better leaders, stronger teams, and healthier relationships at home and at work.
Rivaling intelligence (IQ) as a measure of potential success in business, the last few years have seen an expansion beyond individual personnel measurement and broadening to apply to the entire company as an emotional entity.
In fact, in a November 2019 Forbes article, James Gilbert wrote that 81% of consumers engage with brands that they can trust “to do what is right.” This leads brands down a difficult path of practicing what they preach around social justice, privacy, health and other potentially polarizing global issues. The object of the game is to minimize the 6 negative emotions and amplify the one positive one... brands are charged with helping consumers in their pursuit of Happiness.
But it’s not just about brand loyalty and marketing message alignment. There is real ROI tied to the emotional intelligence of a company.
Let’s look internally
Taking a stance on social issues and programs that support employees increases retention and employee engagement and has been proven to drive higher internal productivity and efficiency. Emotionally intelligent leaders foster a sense of belonging through shared points of view and experiences that drive inclusion.
Leaders who have high EQ are more successful at driving goal-oriented organizations that achieve more together and studies show that companies who have executives with high EQ are more profitable. Makes sense because employees who feel like they belong are much more likely to achieve more together.
Among employees, social and emotional abilities were four times more important than IQ in determining professional success and prestige. One report documented that 75% of careers are derailed for reasons related to emotional competencies, including inability to handle interpersonal problems; unsatisfactory team leadership during times of difficulty or conflict; or inability to adapt to change or elicit trust.
From the outside...
Externally, having the emotional intelligence to connect with purchasers drives significantly higher sales. According to a study by Motista, consumers that have an emotional connection to a brand have a 306% higher lifetime value to that brand, purchasing from them for an average of 5.1 years over the average purchasing lifetime of 3.4 years, and will recommend the brand they have the feels for 71% of the time, over the average recommendation rate of 45%.
But all of those metrics are based on brand loyalty and abstract metrics that apply on a larger corporate level, and they may seem more B2C-focused. So let’s bring it into the B2B world: one study showed that 70% of B2B client losses are due to emotional intelligence deficiencies when handling the account.
This is where it gets personal
In the enterprise space, research has shown that 70% of buyers fully define their needs on their own before engaging with a sales representative, and 44% identify specific solutions before reaching out to a seller. 70% of B2B buyers cite company reputation as the most influential factor when choosing which company to do business with before reaching out to a sales person.
But when it comes to deal acceleration and closing the deal, nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads.
And according to The Marketing Blender, email is twice as powerful as cold calling, with email marketing yielding 2x higher Return on Investment (ROI) than cold calling, networking, or trade shows, yet good old-fashioned trade shows remain the top source for most B2B lead generation, with 77% of marketers saying they generate a significant quantity of leads, and 82% saying they generate high-quality leads.
So what do you do when there are no tradeshows or events to go to?
Digital engagement is highly enticing and 84% of CEOs and VPs use social media to make purchasing decisions. Lower down the ladder, 55% of B2B buyers search for information on social media.
But a whopping 65.2% of B2B buyers said that they found value in discussing their situations with salespeople.
Top sellers use LinkedIn six hours per week to research prospects, connect with peers, interact with industry-related groups, and publish helpful and insightful content. Top guns also tend to have enhanced profiles that stand out from their competition.
But in person or virtually, how do you showcase your EQ and create genuine connections that lead to profitable relationships?
Shared experiences create moments of belonging, as well as offering opportunities to take our relationships to even greater levels of trust and intimacy. The easiest and fastest way to build an instant connection is to ask someone where they're from and find a moment to share about that location.
So as you look to connect with prospects, customers, or just peer groups during our year of transition back to in-person gatherings, look for opportunities to have shared experiences together. If there aren't any, create them. The data proves that emotions have a very real place in B2B relationships.
If you are a leader in your sales or marketing organization, I invite you to join us for Convo, a four-quarter relationship-building program for maverick marketers and sales rebels who believe that conversations transcend business. We’re crafting mind-blowing shared experiences that you can’t find anywhere else online, only for members of the Convo program.
Liz Lathan, CMP is co-founder and CEO of Haute Dokimazo, sparking profitable relationships anchored in genuine connection through rousing shared experiences and conversations. Explore the #HugLife community for event professionals and Convo, a new year-long program for marketing and sales executives. Subscribe to our Journal of Human-Centric Marketing to get weekly content.
Haute Dokimazo is part of Haute Companies, a family of companies that believe in human connection, from events to media (podcasts, videos, and more) to direct mail to swag to entertainment talent management to strategy session facilitation. Contact Liz at email@example.com
P.S. Here are the incredible sources where I found these awesome data points: