The World Economic Forum’s “Future of Jobs” report four years ago listed emotional intelligence (EQ) as a top skill for 2020. The prediction turned out right. It’s not surprising, with the current direction of marketing toward AI and, and more recently in this COVID era, empathy and genuine goodwill.
AI is increasingly taking over sales and marketing data and automation. But EQ is an essential ingredient to balance efficiency with a human factor.
EQ has always been part of marketing. It’s what we applied whenever we addressed pain points. But now more than ever, successful sales and marketing campaigns combine the intelligence and thoroughness of martech and the impact of EQ.
EQ is your brand’s daily interactions and impressions with your customers
Emotional Intelligence or emotional quotient (EQ) is one’s ability to understand other people and intuit their motivations. From there, EQ also defines how good a person is at reading people’s cues and signals and reacting and/or cooperating from there.
This is incredibly important in marketing and sales. And some marketers and salespeople have very high EQ, which is part of what makes them love their jobs. It’s what makes them so good at what they do, and adept at engaging and even charming their customers.
Show a customer’s message to a marketer and that marketer can usually tell what and how you should reply. Show a complaint to a salesperson and that salesperson can respond and turn it around into a conversion.
This ability to read and respond to people’s signals defines success.
And while AI and marketing technology can generate EQ-based posts, or data that informs them, your team needs at least one team member (ideally with a high degree of EQ) to review and approve auto-generated posts — because they still come from a machine.
Just like your value proposition, EQ is a pillar of your brand’s consistency in communicating with your customers via content or through direct messages.
Every interaction and every piece of content you push should show your understanding and empathy of your customers’ pain points and needs and desires. Or you will fail to connect with them in the first place.
EQ in sales and marketing means deeply understanding your audience
Establishing connections and relationships. That’s really what today’s digital marketing is at its core, and EQ has a big connection to sales and marketing persuasion angles for that reason.
After all, you can’t persuade someone you don’t understand. And conversely, it’s easy to persuade someone you already deeply understand.
All aspects of marketing, particularly content marketing, stand on your marketing teams’ ability to read or predict your audience’s signals on what content they want to see at any given moment or interaction.
- Should this email push a discount or another infographic first?
- Should THIS specific landing page contain a demo video or download, or a comparison long-scroll?
AI and data can give you insight, and EQ should determine the content you push in response to those insights on predicted customer behavior patterns.
Emotional intelligence is the core compass of customer experience
Your sales and marketing teams’ ability to empathize defines how effective your campaigns will be. AI can make good suggestion much when it comes to triggers and calls-to-action, but it’s still humans who need to check and confirm what’s correct and what will work in anticipating your customers’ needs and behavior.
For example, AI technology can put together a set of captions and hashtags for your YouTube or Instagram videos. But it’s human editors who understand audience pain points and will know what words and hashtags will actually work to get people to watch a video to the end — and follow-through on the call to action.
It’s not just about algorithms — it’s also about human emotional intelligence.
EQ resolves friction in sales
Because of that, EQ plays a big role in handling the objections/complaints you expect in the sales pipeline, on the way to the sale, or after the sale.
There are nuances behind complaints and objections. Someone saying “It’s so expensive” doesn’t necessarily mean a complaint about the price, but a need for assurance that the product or service has the desired value and effect.
The best salespeople know how to get into the heart of people’s needs or pain points, addressing them and turning objections around into a sale. There’s opportunity there to connect even deeper, because you’re being given insight into that customer’s way of thinking.
Human EQ recognizes those opportunities. It’s human input that can help AI recognize these cues.
But again, it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach, so even with a robust and intelligent automation built with EQ triggers, it will still need human moderation and management.
As we’ve pointed out before, people expect customization but are simultaneously creeped out and turned off by too much and too little insight. It’s EQ that helps sales and marketing teams stay on the very narrow line of impressive rather than invasive or impersonal.
EQ is important because we serve humans
Emotional intelligence will and should always be present in sales and marketing, even more so with the implementation of artificial intelligence and martech. As long as we serve humans, we need human empathy to balance the AI biases and impersonality.
And that’s not just for customers but internally in our teams as well, because leaders with high EQ know how to create a happy working environment. Happy people work better and are simply more motivated and more creative.