B2B Customer Research
Serving business customers is different than serving consumers in many ways. The length of relationship, price, length of sales, level of intimacy in the sale, risk, volume of customers, complexity of sales, number of decisionmakers and influencers, and depth of integration with the customer’s business are all different. This allows companies to often justify not doing the needed research to really get to know their customers and their experience with the product, services, and the company. They believe the know all they need to know through sales people or because the skill level of the customer is higher.
In our experience, B2B companies rarely know the human-side of their customers nor what their customers’ really experience with their company or their offerings.
The buyers and influencers at your customers are still people and they are still operating and experiencing the product outside of your office buildings. This means that emotions, perceptions, cultural norms, environments of use, shipping issues, human behavior, distractions, biases, and so on are at play each time your customer considers buying, considers using, uses, or doesn’t use your product, your service, your competitor’s offerings, and interacts with your company or your brand. These are critical influencers in your relationship with your customer and the more you understand them and work with the information to enhance your offerings and operations the happier your customers will be.
Just as B2B customer relationships are different, B2B research is different as well. Ceatro Group works with our clients to design the best approach and cadence for the desired learnings. In most cases, it can be done in smaller targeted studies using more in depth methodologies that reflect the executive level and multiple dimensions of the relationships. B2B research is also different because of how few customer or prospect relationships there actually are – each is precious and extreme care must be taken to preserve that relationship and all its dynamics. While keeping our status as an ‘unbiased third party’ and protecting any promised anonymity, we coordinate with our clients’ sales, marketing, and service teams and executives to provide a great experience to the customer being interviewed.
Ceatro Group works with its clients to determine the best research methodologies and project structure to deliver the necessary insights and business results. Our goal is to get our clients the best information and insights possible. The only way to do that is to custom design each project.
Though we don’t have one go-to research methodology that we apply to all situations we do favor qualitative methodologies and smaller studies because they usually provide the best access to underlying insights that are otherwise hard to see.
Examples of Recently Used Research Methodologies and Channels
|One on one interviews
|In home/ In office/In field
|In a research facility
|Virtual or real communities