The Hippo in the Room…

I don’t care about your features.

You’re on the procurement team with 3 others, tasked with making a purchase that will significantly define the course of your company for the foreseeable future. You’re working from a highly-defined list of needs along with a few nice-to-haves. You’ve gone to the market to review the offerings from 5 different suppliers, RFPs were sent and received, countless hours of exhaustive research were performed, and you’ve discovered all five suppliers have checked the right boxes for almost the same price. While you were looking to be wowed… you’re actually less assured of a choice than when you started.

Which supplier do you choose? Which one has earned your business? How do you know?

A sixth potential supplier submits their RFP at precisely the eleventh hour. Their offering is similar but they’ve demonstrated HOW your team and your company will benefit by choosing them. It’s the one submission that Howard heard about from a friend of his. Even though their price is still reasonable, they’re a bit more expensive than the others, but they’ve presented their uniqueness to you and your team and you just get a feeling that they might be “the one.” Their message was straightforward and it connected with you on a personal level. Deep down, you know that going with them will not only advance your company, but it’s also going to make you look good and advance your own position within your company. You can just feel it.

And to you, that’s matters a lot.

Emotions lead and facts support.

Purchase decisions are based on an emotional connection and then supported or refuted by facts. Companies never buy from companies, people buy from people; and as people, we’re always driven by our emotions. People intuitively know this but no one’s changing. It’s the big hippo in the middle of the room that we all dance around without calling it out. Scenarios like this play out daily in corporate offices around the world. Buyers and procurement staff spend hundreds of working hours reviewing suppliers and vendors, in the hope that someone’s message is going to resonate. They are bombarded with endless reams of marketing communications material that highlights the features and benefits of each offering, and you can rest assured, the fact that these all look the same isn’t lost on key decision makers and influencers.


Business-to-business is a term of the past, embraced by the companies of those five other RFP responses. Getting to the core of your brand is absolutely essential to being the sixth. Every brand is capable of making that critical human connection, but only a few have the courage to speak to their market at a Person-to-Person (P2P) level. The choice, though, is yours. Promote your features or connect with your buyers. We’d love to show you which one wins.

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