Emotion Beats Data in B2B Decision Making: Study

Posted on by Beth Negus Viveiros

Sure, data and metrics are important. But 65% of executives responding to a new survey from gyro and The Fortune Group say that subjective factors that can’t be quantified make a difference when evaluating competing proposals.

A majority of execs (62%) say they often rely on gut feelings and soft factors when making decisions. Reputation of a potential partner made a difference to 70% of respondents, and company culture drove decisions for 53% of executives.

A potential positive impact outweighed negative risks for many respondents: 68% felt that “ambition, admiration and potential rewards” took precedence over fear of failure or being blamed for making a bad call. Long term gains were worth short term financial risks for 71% of respondents.

“With more information comes more complexity,” said Jed Hartman, group publisher worldwide of Time, Fortune and Money, who oversees the Fortune Knowledge Group. “Business decision makers are, of course, using data to their benefit. However when looking to select a business partner, it is clear that emotion plays a vital role. They want to create a relationship that can lead to a successful, long-term partnership.”

The study, “Only Human: The Emotional Logic of Business Decisions,” surveyed 720 senior business executives (88% with director-level titles or higher) in May and June 2014.  To download the executive summary, visit gyro.com/onlyhuman.

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