Features vs. Benefits: What Do B2B Customers Care About Most?

Market your product in a way that a B2B customer not only considers it the only logical choice, but also sticks to their decision in the future.

“Buy a triple-weave black kevlar suit fitted with a utility belt with compartments to carry all your accessories, an electrical system to adjust body temperature, night vision and gas filters, glove shockers to stun your rivals and a comm-link chip to stay in touch with your allies”

Or simply

, “Buy a Batsuit. Be Batman!”

Which would you say is the more appealing message here?

Now we all know there is an unmatched charm to the prospect of being Batman. How would the message change if it we were talking about a different product? Would you list the specifications or talk about what the user gets out of it?

Today’s consumer is much more comfortable comparing features between similar products. They are more tech-savvy than ever. And many keep up with trends to take advantage of the best offers on the internet. However, with varied options and  information overload (mostly unrelatable) shared by businesses, they also turn away fast if a product seems forced upon them.

So how do you market your product in a way that a buyer not only considers it the only logical choice, but also sticks to their decision in the future?


Stickiness and simplicity

The quality of a product that aids as decision to make future purchases is measured as stickiness. According to Harvard Business Review, the biggest factor of stickiness is decision simplicity — or how easily the customer can gather trustworthy information about the product and compare their options before purchase.


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In this context, trust isn’t about trusting the brand; it is about trusting the information provided. What customers want from marketers is simplicity in aiding their purchase.

How would you like to get into your customer’s head with your marketing message? If one look at your email or ad makes them feel you understand the problem from their perspective and your product solves exactly that problem, you’ve struck gold.

That’s what all marketers aim to do.


Caught in the  middle

Where they stumble and fail to make the right appeal is that they get caught between selling the product’s features and selling its benefits to the customer.


Are we trading human connection for YouTube views?
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Of course, everybody advertises their product’s features. Selling benefits is just taking the features and tying them to the customer’s circumstances. In fact, no one buys product features. This is specifically true in B2B marketing, where it’s not a simple, one-time purchase. A lot of thought and research goes into finding the product that serves the right fit for a client’s particular situation.

The problem is, sometimes, marketers are so attached to product features that they fail to address how the features will improve the user’s life.


Lead with benefits

How do you get prospective customer to care about your product’s features as much as you do?

Start with the benefit.

Explain how their situation will improve after implementing your solution. If you get the right hook, a customer will be interested to know how your proposed solution will deliver said benefit.


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In B2B mostly, more than one person is involved in the buying process. So be very clear in aiding each and every one of them to understand how your solution would help their case. 

Never leave it to the customer to make the analytical journey from feature to benefit. Unless the feature is quite unique and way out of league of your competitors, it is not going to stand out.

Marketing content that delivers the best results is focused on benefits. Do not assume the benefits are implied.

Why benefits are important:


Users can only understand from the perspective “What do I get out of it?
  • When approaching a problem, people can’t relate a feature to their situation
  • Sometimes features can only be explained using jargon that end-users are unfamiliar with
  • No one prefers to be schooled about features unless they have a reason to care


Now this might sound bad for your product marketing but it can get things sailing smooth with the correct approach. For that, you have to understand your customer’s state.


But what about features?

Once you have defined what their needs and challenges are, only then can you figure out how the product features would benefit them.

 Remember when I talked about providing trustworthy information?

A good source here is existing customers who can back your claims regarding the benefits you advertise. 

Make an effort to have multiple hooks the customer can relate to.

In B2B, logic, financial interest and data all come into play within the buying process. List your features and try to answer how each of them fit into the prospect’s situation. Maybe that will help you dive to an emotional level and connect their needs to the individual features you’ve built.

The perfect marketing message incorporates both feature and benefit, without overwhelming the customer. For example, gain insight from campaign data through real-time visual reports and improve your decision-making.

The present-day customer expects the fine details anyway. You just have to sugarcoat it with benefits from their perspective to lead them a step closer to the buying decision.


This article has been edited.

Augustus Franklin is the founder and CEO of CallHub, a California-based Voice and SMS service company, bridging the communication gap for political campaigns and advocacy groups. When he is not working, he is either making toys with his kids or training for a marathon. Connect with @augfrankon on Twitter.


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