Conducting B2B market research is one of the first things any organization will need to do to ensure they can survive and thrive in today’s competitive landscape.
After all, data is a crucial resource for any company. The information you collect about your target market, competitors, and even the customers you serve will all ensure you can improve your revenue and profit margins in the B2B space.
Today, we’re going to explain exactly what B2B market research involves, the kind of research strategies you can use in your organization, and why it’s so important to collect the right data.
B2B market research is the art and science of gathering useful information for your B2B business. Your research strategy may focus primarily on learning as much as you can about your target audience, so you can tailor your sales and marketing strategies to the buyers most likely to benefit from your service or product.
B2B market research could also include learning about your competitors, and the go-to-market strategies that generate the best results for companies in your industry. Primarily, B2B market research is used to answer specific questions companies have about their target customers, competitor activity, new revenue growth opportunities, and marketing campaigns.
As mentioned above, B2B companies leverage market research for a variety of purposes. In many cases, however, B2B companies invest significant time into market research when they’re searching for new ways to reach and convert their target audiences. With the right research strategy, organizations can learn more about the pain points that convince customers to make a purchase, and the specific goals their clients consider when acquiring products and services.
B2B market research helps businesses to understand the leads and prospects in their industry so they can create more powerful promotional campaigns. With market research, you gain a better understanding of who your potential customers are, what they need, and why they might choose to work with your company over competing brands.
B2B marketing research can also provide a behind-the-scenes look at the promotional and advertising techniques that generate the best results for businesses in a specific industry or niche. You may learn more about the channels your customers use when researching products (such as search engines and social media).
You can also pinpoint areas where you may be able to differentiate yourself from your competitors. For instance, if you notice competing brands struggle to offer the level of onboarding support and customer service your clients need, you may decide to increase your investment in those areas. Sometimes, B2B market research can also assist companies in determining which products and solutions they’re going to produce next, based on client feedback.
B2C and B2B market research have a lot of similarities. In both instances companies will often use a combination of market reports, industry analytics, and direct feedback from customers to answer core questions about their sales and marketing strategies.
The primary difference between B2C and B2B market research is the target audience. With B2B, the focus is on understanding the needs and priorities of business buyers in a corporate landscape. B2B customers tend to have a more complex purchasing journey than their B2C counterparts. They dedicate more time to research and analysis, and may need to spend more time speaking to experts before they can decide what to buy.
Overall, the B2B buying journey is longer, more complex, and involves a wider range of channels and stages. This means companies may need to collect a lot more information before they can have a complete view of all the factors that influence customer loyalty and conversion rates.
When conducting research to support their Go-To-Market strategy, B2B companies tend to look at a number of different resources and solutions. Some organizations even work with a dedicated B2B research company, capable of offering access to various forms of qualitative, quantitative, primary, and secondary research. Here are some of the most common forms of B2B market research companies might leverage to help them reach their sales and marketing goals:
The exact method you use to collect B2B market research will depend on a number of factors, including the types of insights you want to generate for your business. Many larger companies work with third-party organizations to simplify the process of collecting and evaluating data.
In most cases, the B2B market research process will involve:
1. Identifying the purpose of the research
The first step in any research strategy is defining what you want to accomplish by collecting useful insights from your target audience. For instance, you may want to learn more about your target audience and their needs and pain points, so you can build sales and marketing strategies that resonate with their specific interests.
Understanding the topic, you’re going to be researching, and what you want to achieve by analysing this information will help you to determine which kinds of B2B market research are going to be most beneficial to your business. For example, if you goal is to strengthen your rapport with customers, collecting qualitative feedback, and first-party data might be valuable.
2. Define your data sources
Once you know what the purpose of your B2B market research is, you can begin to think about where and how you’re going to collect your data. For instance, if your goal is to increase conversions on your B2B website, you might collect a combination of quantitative data from your website analytics tools, and qualitative data through interviews with customers.
When choosing participants to take part in your research strategy, make sure you choose a reasonable sample size, so you can get a more comprehensive view of the target audience you’re serving. Find ways to engage participants capable of providing useful insights. For example, you may reach out to customers directly, create focus groups, or design surveys you can send to clients via email.
3. Choose your questions
Next, you’ll need to determine what questions you’re going to ask your research participants. If you’re focusing on quantitative data and information collected from third-party sources, you may focus primarily on the questions you’re going to ask yourself when evaluating your data. For instance, you might want to define which marketing channels drive the most revenue for your business, by comparing conversion numbers between platforms.
If you’re interacting with research participants directly, you can ask them more specific questions based on your overall goals. Ask yourself how you’re going to format these questions to get the best results. For instance, multiple-choice, scaled, and yes-no questions can be easier for customers to answer, but they won’t provide as much specific data as open-ended questions.
Conducting B2B market research isn’t just a great way for companies to ensure they’re getting the best return on investment from their sales and marketing strategies. The right insights can help you to form deeper connections with your target audience, outshine the competition, and strengthen your position in your target market.
The good news for business leaders is there are various tools out there to help you make the most of your research tactics, from automated survey tools to analytics platforms like Google Analytics. You can even work hand-in-hand with a dedicated agency like Nimchinski Michael, on the creation of dedicated research strategies. These agencies can help you to cultivate market research, and even convert raw data into actionable insights you can use in future marketing campaigns.
Contact Nimchinski Michael today to learn more about enhancing your research strategy.