The challenges of b2b market research and how to overcome them

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In today’s busy market place, there is a lot of interest these days in marketing research. Behind every successful B2B product there is comprehensive market research for acquiring a more solid understanding of the market, customers, end users, and competitors. B2B market research can help businesses highlight the areas where they are having success and their weaknesses compared with their competitors. Market research is essential to inform companies about the best ways to design their business strategies that will promote growth and success. Read on to understand better the importance of B2B market research, how it differs from B2C research, and how to do it effectively.

Why is B2B market research important?

Market research has a strong connection to growth and profitability. In fact, specialists in market research suggest that companies that conduct frequent research grow almost 12 times faster and are almost twice more profitable than those companies that don’t do research.

Successful companies understand that the market is constantly changing on a regular basis and the only way to keep up with all its new trends and requirements is to do frequent research. The research is important for B2B companies for many reasons including knowing who they really compete against in the marketplace and to find their competitive advantage. Other reasons why B2B market research is important include finding out what customers really think about your firm, discover the weaknesses that your company needs to fix right away, and to explore why some customers choose to buy from another company instead of yours and how to change that.

How is B2B research different from B2C research?

While B2C market research often involves collecting and analyzing large amounts of data about customers’ attitudes and behaviors as they interact with certain products, B2B research market requires an entirely different approach. B2C market research is mostly focusing on psychological principles applied to the behavior and attitudes of the targeted audience but doesn’t necessarily need to be addressed in the business context. On the other hand, B2B requires more sophisticated research techniques that can help you collect the right data and approach it as a business case analysis.

Here are a few key areas where B2B market differs from B2C market:

  • The purchase decision is far more complex - in the B2C market, the purchase decision is done by an individual customer who needs your products or services. Yet, when it comes to the B2B market, the value of purchases is often very high, meaning that the purchase decision will become very people because many people will be involved in it.
  • The difficulty to switch suppliers- the B2B market implies supplier dependency because if the supply of the products is interrupted, it is very hard for businesses to switch suppliers.
  • Smaller customer base- B2B companies have a smaller customer base meaning that maintaining good relationships with customers is both easier and more important.
  • Targeted marketing strategy- For B2B companies, the marketing campaigns are not only smaller but also targeted to a small customer base.

Why is B2B market research more difficult?

B2B market research has a lot more challenges than B2C research for many reasons. First of all, it may be more difficult to get in touch with your targeted customers and users, especially if they are working with highly sensitive information that they won’t be willing to share with outside companies.

Also, the research team might face a hard time to reaches the users directly so it has to deal with several stakeholders within the same organization before it is possible to reach the person the team needs to discuss with. Before contacting and approaching users, a little more research is required upfront.

Moreover, there is also the group-decision challenge that B2B market research has to deal with. Important decisions are not typically made by a single individual but rather by a group of people that may have contradictory opinions and perspectives. Thus, to make effective market research it is required to survey people from a wide range of departments.

The keys to successful B2B market research

First of all, to understand how to conduct successful B2B market research, you must understand the most common types that exist from which you can choose depending on what you are interested in finding. Market research can be approached in many ways including brand research, client research, client journey research, and client satisfaction research. All those types can help you find out the most relevant aspects of how to improve your business from the way you are perceived in the marketplace, finding out your competitors, to how happy your clients are with your products or services.

  • One of the keys to successful B2B market research is to access the right people for relevant information. It is vital to find the experts possessing the knowledge and insights you seek. Accessing the right people is about finding the qualified respondent to participate in the process of market exploration.
  • Another essential key is to find the hard-to-reach decision maker and convince them to share a little of their time with you by engaging in meaningful conversation. If you make them feel like you understand and empathize with their work, they will be happy to share their knowledge with you.
  • Throughout the market research always remember that the research and strategy are not separable and both of them must follow the business objectives. Make sure that you analyze the entire competitive landscape and complete complex business case analyses. There are many aspects that must be part of the equation including market sizing, market attractiveness, channel strategies, and a go-to-market strategy that addresses the reality of the competitive dynamics of the market.

Conducting market research can make your B2B company more self-aware of its assets and weaknesses in order to constantly improve and change depending on the marketplace.