B2B Market Research:

The Three Steps To Successful Business Market Research

(Print Version)

B2B market research can be a challenge even for experienced market researchers. But there are three steps anyone can take to successful B2B market research. These three steps are:

    • understand your market

    • learn about your business customers

    • visit your business customers

Understand your market

Business market research begins with making sure that you really understand as much as you can about your B2B market and the companies in that market. Start by making sure that you are aware of the regulations and customs surrounding the market, as well as the trends going on in that market. This is particularly important when entering new markets. Fortunately, there are websites and blogs written about most B2B markets, describing the regulations and customs relating to that market, as well as the trends going on in the market.

Then, make sure that you list the business customers in your B2B market, as well as your possible competitors. But, don’t stop with just ascertaining the names of the companies in your market. Also identify the names of the executives at those companies. This, again, is particularly important when entering new markets. Fortunately, those same B2B websites and blogs typically describe most of the business customers and competitors, along with the executives at those companies.

Learn about your business customers

Business market research depends on learning about your business customers. Start by collecting information from your CRM system, and from your sales team, about your business customers. Then go back to the websites and blogs you have already identified to get yet more information about your business customers.

Finally, call your prospects by phone, so that you can obtain confirm the identities of the decision makers and influencers at each business customer, and obtain yet more information about the business issues that they are facing.

Make sure that you know as much as you can about the key executives at those business customers, and the issues that they are likely to grapple with, so that you can move to the next step, which is meeting them in-person.

Visit your business customers

Business market research really does depend on visiting your business customers. Go to your business customers’ factories, offices, or design studios, and spend time talking with their engineers, plant managers, designers, manufacturing personnel, and other staff.

All the focus groups and surveys in the world are no substitute for visiting your business customers in their places of work. Similarly, while chatting with business customers at trade shows is nice, it is not a substitute for actually visiting your business customers. Once again, this is particularly important when you are entering new markets.

Even now, it never ceases to amaze me just how much valuable information you can learn from actually visiting business customers and going to their factories, offices, or design studios, and spending time talking with their engineers, plant managers, designers, manufacturing personnel, and other staff.

When you put these four steps into effect

Although business customers vary significantly from B2B market to B2B market, I have found that two things never change. That is, if you put these four steps into effect, then:

    • you are more likely to understand the true needs of your business customers, and

    • your business customers are much more likely to want to develop a business relationship with you

No matter which B2B market you are researching, in the end, that is always the key to success in B2B market research.