B2B (business to business) companies are different from B2C (business to consumer) companies. While the latter thrives on mass production, lower margins, and higher volume, the former relies on its ability to extract value from fewer transactions. That’s why B2B market research is so critical: It helps you understand just how many potential customers there are for your product or service, how they buy, and what they want in order to buy it. Essentially, B2B market research helps you figure out how you can deliver that solution better than anyone else out there.
What are the total addressable market (TAM) and the segment of that TAM that your product or service addresses?
You need to know your TAM so that you can estimate the size of your target market, and therefore how much money you’re likely to make if you go into business.
A good place to start is by looking at other similar products or services in the marketplace. Look at what their spending patterns are, who is buying from them, where they are located and any other relevant information about them. This will give you an idea of how big your potential audience could be, and thus what kind of revenue stream you could create.
What is the typical number of decision-makers, and what is their involvement in the buying process?
The buyer decision-making process is made up of several stages, including:
- Pre-purchase—In this stage, buyers evaluate your product or service to see if it meets their needs and if they understand how it works. If you sell software, for example, this could be a website where users can try out demo versions of your products before making a purchasing decision.
- Evaluation—In this stage, buyers evaluate alternative solutions with similar features and then make their final choice based on price or other factors like vendor reputation or support services offered by each vendor (for example, if one vendor offers 24/7 phone support).
- Purchase Decision—This refers to actual purchases made from vendors after evaluating them against competitors’ offerings during previous stages in the buyer journey map process outlined above.
What motivates B2B buyers to buy? What needs do they want satisfied?
Buyers are motivated by a need to be productive, efficient, and successful. For example, they want to do their job better so that they can maximize the value of their time and effort. They also want to be more efficient in their work so that they can get more done in less time. Finally, buyers want to be more successful in their work because this reflects on them as professionals and helps them gain credibility with others within the company.
For whom are you solving a problem(identifying B2B personas)?
B2B buyer personas are a crucial part of your market research. Here’s how to create them:
- Who are your customers? What are their needs and motivations?
- What is their buying process? How do they find solutions to their problems?
- What are the other factors that influence their buying decision, such as internal processes or approval processes at work or on a company level?
Who are your competitors, and how can you differentiate yourself?
You need to understand the competitive landscape in detail. What are your competitors doing? Who are they targeting, and how are they reaching those people? How do their products compare with yours? Do you have a differentiator that can help you win customers over your competition?
If you don’t know who your competitors are, start with a Google search for “best B2B software.” Make sure to look at more than just the first page of the results. Look at sites like LinkedIn, AngelList, and Twitter as they may list colleagues or previous clients who can give insight into what other companies do well (or not so well).
These are the five questions every company should answer when doing B2B market research
While B2C market research is easy to do and understand, B2B market research can be tricky. It’s important to remember that your audience is not the same as the one you would use for a consumer good. When conducting business-to-business (B2B) marketing research, it’s helpful to keep these five questions in mind:
- What does our audience want?
- How does our product or service fit into their life?
- What are the benefits of using our product or service over others on the market?
- How do we reach out to them? through direct mailers, email blasts, or social media advertising campaigns?
- Who are they? What job titles do they hold at companies; what industries do they work in; how old are they; male or female? (so we can create customized messaging that resonates with this specific group of people).
Once you have identified the key questions, it’s time to gather answers from B2B survey respondents. The best way is to conduct market research with an investment in the right tools and processes. You can use surveys or focus groups, but we recommend starting off with qualitative data collection methods such as interviews or surveys. They are more flexible than quantitative metrics and are often more telling when it comes down to exploring a particular topic in depth. In addition, qualitative research allows for richer insights into consumer behavior because participants speak freely about their thoughts and feelings on current events or trends. We hope this post has been useful if you were looking to conduct B2B market research.