We’re going to model today’s blog after a freshmen-level university course: A 101 course. There are a lot of misconceptions about B2B marketing research – why to do it, if there is a return on investment (ROI), and, most importantly, if it really works. Namely, does marketing research help a B2B company perform better and connect more effectively with customers?
Based on our extensive experience with B2B companies, we’ll outline the basics of B2B marketing research and provide some examples of just how effective market research can be in this category.
First off, why do B2B marketing research?
In B2B, you’re selling to other businesses. The sales are often much more complex than B2C sales, and the total sales cycle requires multiple layers of approval. Additionally, the timelines can be long – sometimes years. The sheer complexity of B2B makes it even more important to ensure you know your customers and are able to meet their needs with your service, product, and relationship.
A day-to-day relationship with your customers is fantastic – and the value of these interactions shouldn’t be discounted, but it’s not the same as actual research. With B2B marketing research, a neutral party will uncover gaps in the sales cycle, be able to get candid feedback from your customers and prospects, and compare your business to competitors in the field. The results will paint an entirely different picture of your customers and your business – and it may surprise you by revealing areas you’re missing.
Next, does B2B marketing research provide a return on investment?
We recently wrote a blog about this very topic. It’s a great read (if we do say so ourselves), but we’ll give you the Cliff Notes here: Yes. B2B market and marketing research saves resources, time, and pays for itself – often many times over. Particularly when it comes to new product concept development, B2B marketing research is absolutely essential to ensure that you’re not going down the wrong path. In fact, B2B marketing research should be an essential part of your R&D process.
Finally, does B2B marketing research really work?
There is a reason why the B2B companies on the Fortune 500 list consistently invest in B2B marketing research. It works. Sophisticated, successful companies need to constantly keep a pulse on their customers, understand what is going on in the larger marketplace, and constantly refine their practices based on the findings of their research. However, you don’t have to be on the Fortune 500 (or 1000) to invest in and get value from B2B marketing research. In fact, the smaller and more challenging your B2B environment is, the more important B2B marketing research becomes. It will give you an edge over the competition and help you hone in on the most profitable areas of your business, in addition to revealing new areas for growth.