If your B2B marketing is not generating enough business, here is a quick test: Take a look at your company’s home page. (Go ahead, I’ll wait).

Does it relate to your product’s features or your prospect’s desires?

If you answered “features,” this may indicate a problem with your marketing message… and maybe your sales pitch too.

To develop an effective message, you need to recognize that your buyer has two faces: One is an outer personality that all their colleagues and superior see; The second is an inner personality that is elusive, but the driver to their decision making.

Outwardly, your buyer will say that purchases are based on product features, price and ROI. But don’t let that fool your marketing. Your buyer’s most powerful motivators are personal desires that they won’t share: “I’m tiered of doing grunt work.” “I want to get home earlier.” I want to advance my career.” “I want to look like a hero.”

Tap into your buyer’s personal desires and you’ll hit a home run for your business. Of course you’ll still need to reinforce your story with product features and business benefits too. After all, this is the business justification that buyers need to purchase. But first see if you can grab their attention by tapping into their personal desires.

An Easy Exercise to Capture Desire

You can tap into your prospect’s personal desires by imagining a convention hall full of them. While they’re all individuals, they have common traits too. Think for a second about groups of lawyers, software programmers and accounts. See what I mean?

Once you’ve established your buyer “persona,” then come up with a single pain statement that captures their sentiment.

For example, for my client Peer Software we determined that a strong target is branch office managers at architecture firms. If you had a convention of these people, they would overwhelming express this frustration: “It is a major pain in the @&% for me to access and share large files.” Amazingly, it’s not atypical for an architect at a remote office to wait 10-minutes to download a design file.

Based on this, we attacked their exasperation with a marketing campaign they could immediately relate to: An image of a branch office worker pictured as a skeleton with the headline: “Is slow access to shared project files killing productivity?” The campaign has been a major hit with a higher than usual response rate of qualified leads.

ReVulytics (recently acquired), another company I advised, sold a product to software companies, enabling them to detect pirated software being used within large corporations. We decided to create a campaign focused on VPs of Sales at software companies. If we went out with a “features” message, our campaign benefit may have been this: “Automatically identify pirated software to drive revenue for your company.” Instead, we focused on the personal “desire” of sales executives with this message: “We’ll put more money in your pocket.” It’s a nuance. But it’s a fact that most buyers care more about their own needs, than those of their company.

Okay, maybe the “desire” approach isn’t for every situation. For example, if you happen to be selling a commodity product where it’s just a matter of features and price, by all means lead with those. However, if your solution is not yet mainstream and can improve the life of its users, then speak to their personal desires first.

After all, business people are human too.