B2B Market Research – An In-depth guide for 2022
April 5, 2022 Edwin Kooistra
As a tech business owner, whenever you are working on different ideas regarding some new feature to introduce in a current product or maybe developing a new product altogether, have you ever thought about the product and its product-market fit? If yes, you must have also wondered how you can perform market research and come about the most appropriate product-market fit for your new offering.
Whether you are working on improving a particular product or service or introducing a new one to the market, you cannot ignore the importance of market research. After all, through market analysis and a comprehensive data audit, one finalizes the product and projects how it will benefit the targeted segment.
Market research refers to collecting data about your target customer base to validate the effectiveness of a product or service. By performing market research, businesses can learn more about their potential customers and what they are looking for. This information can then be used to create a marketing strategy that specifically targets these businesses.
Market research can be performed in a variety of ways, including surveys, focus groups, and interviews. It can also involve analyzing data from other sources, such as customer databases or online traffic.
Market research is an essential part of any successful B2B marketing campaign. It allows you to understand your target market, what they want and needs, and how best to reach them.
In this write-up, we’ll discuss what B2B market research is and how can businesses perform a B2B market analysis.
What is B2B Market Research?
B2B Market Research or B2B target market research is gathering information about your market by canvassing a fair representation of its participants.
New customers, previous customers, potential buyers, lost customers (buyers who choose to buy from another brand), and influencers are all part of your target market.
B2B market analysis is acquiring information about potential consumers’ wants and needs. You may include purchase behavior, product fit, client service needs, sales and marketing tactics, and other topics in the research.
It entails selecting a subset of your target market and learning about their motives and preferences. Your strategic planning for choosing your target market will be more efficient if you investigate how your targeted audience thinks, feels, and behaves.
All in all, with the help of a B2B market analysis, you’ll be better equipped to forecast future trends and deal with problems before they arise. It helps you validate your product and set up a strategic direction in its true essence.
Should You Conduct Market Research for Your Product?
Conducting your own data analysis and B2B competitor analysis consistently is critical for staying current with industry developments and retaining a competitive advantage.
When you’re operating in the tech industry, where information and trends change overnight, one cannot ignore the importance of market research for their products and services. After all, how can you determine whether you’re on the right track in product or feature development, especially in a fluid environment, unless you have established a pattern for consistent market research and updated information?
Conducting market research is critical whether you are beginning a new firm, growing, or developing new products. It assists you in better understanding your target market, increasing sales, and driving business growth. Let’s look at the significant reasons why B2B market research is imperative for your tech product or service.
- Building customer personas and getting to know your current customers.
- Formulating your product-market fit and go-to-market strategy.
- Identification of new customers and potential market segments.
- Setting measurable KPIs and end objectives for your tech business.
- Monitoring of KPIs and conducting possible improvements and changes when required.
- Staying abreast of the latest market developments and information.
- Gathering strategic insights and information to develop new business propositions.
- Measuring customer satisfaction and identifying potential ways of improving customer service.
What Are the Fundamentals of Conducting Market Research?
Now that we have developed an understanding of B2B market research and why you need to conduct a B2B market analysis relevant to your technology-based product and service, we shall look at the basic building blocks of conducting market research.
- Information Gathering and Analysis
- Industry Dynamics
- Market Characteristics
- Nature of Product
- Can I Conduct Market Research Myself?
First and foremost, when you are starting to conduct market research, you should set specific objectives and targets that you want to achieve with your research. You need to know the kind of information you must gain from this analysis and how it will help you reach your primary product development objective.
Without a clear direction and objective set in place, you cannot begin your market research as you will not know where to go or which path to take to gather and collect information.
2. Information Gathering and Analysis
Another building block of market research is how information is gathered and what methods and tools you will utilize for its analysis. You should be aware of all the methodologies you would use and ensure that they match their objective.
When it comes to conducting market research for your B2B business, there are a few key things to keep in mind. First and foremost, you need to make sure that your research is tailored to your specific industry. What works for a consumer goods company might not work for a technology firm, and vice versa.
That said, there are some general tips that can help you no matter what industry you’re in. The first step is to gather as much information as possible. This can include data from public sources, such as government reports or industry trade journals, as well as information from private sources, such as customer surveys or focus groups.
Once you have gathered your data, it’s important to analyze it and identify any trends or patterns. Once you have a good understanding of the market, you can start developing strategies to capitalize on these trends and capture a larger piece of the market.
Analyzing your competitors and their strengths and weaknesses is one of the most critical and fundamental market research components. As a business owner, when you are positioning your product or service and performing market segmentation, you have to ensure that it is executed while keeping the competition in mind.
You need to be aware of the competitive landscape in which you will operate and utilize that knowledge to the best of your advantage in a strategic manner. This is so because you want to stand out from your competition instead of using the exact positioning and methodology. You want to offer a unique selling proposition to your possible customers and market segment and take the lead over your competitors.
4. Industry Dynamics
Another critical component of conducting market research for your B2B business is researching the industry dynamics and being aware of them. Industry laws, trends, and even unsaid ethics and values are part of the research and should be invested in.
No matter how fierce the competition is, all the industry players need to follow a particular set of written and unwritten regulations and remain within the limitations of a specific framework. Therefore, learning about the industry you’re going to operate in and its workings are a critical part of conducting marketing research.
5. Market Characteristics
Market characteristics play a significant role when you are ready to launch a new product or add new features to your existing product line. Especially in the technology industry, where the market has blurred lines due to the quickly changing dynamics of the market, one needs to be a step ahead when it comes to performing market research in terms of defining the specifics of a target segment.
The geographical location in which you will operate both in retail/production development is also of great importance. Because of the site and the area’s characteristics based on your market research process, you can increase or decrease your operational costs and be closer to your target segment.
7. Nature of Product
Lastly, another central pillar of conducting market research, especially in terms of the B2B sector in tech products and services, is the nature and category of the product. It all depends on whether you’re offering a service or a tangible product to be bought and placed in a particular vicinity. Therefore, you also need to conduct relevant market research about how such products are doing and what requirements, especially in terms of tech content marketing, are required for their promotion.
8. Can I Conduct Market Research Myself?
As a business owner, now that you know the fundamentals and what goes into conducting B2B market research, we are sure that you might be tempted to perform this analysis by yourself or maybe ask your marketing team to do it for you.
The idea seems attractive at first, especially about saving costs or even being involved in the process and understanding it. It is better to leave it to the experts and hire someone else to do it for you. There are many reasons why we suggest that you hire industry experts and professionals to handle B2B market research for you, and we shall discuss these reasons in successive paragraphs.
The first and foremost reason is that as a tech business owner, other essential tasks and operational activities would be your sole responsibility, or you would have to delegate them further. Therefore, as market research requires extreme attention and concentration, you should outsource this job.
Secondly, there’s always the factor of bias that comes when you’re conducting research. When you are involved in this process and are doing competitive analysis or looking at Porters’ model, you are working with an unconscious bias already existing in your mind because of your involvement with your firm, as an employee, or maybe as a business owner.
A third-party expert does not only have an objective view, but their research is free of bias as they do not have any stakes involved in your firm or the competitors or relevant stakeholders. Thirdly, they are experts in these fields, and they solely specialize in this job. Therefore, you can expect quality content based on their skill set and expertise.
Types of B2B Market Research
Let’s look at the different B2B market research types and how and when they are applicable.
1. Market Research
Market research entails determining your genuine rivals, what solutions you should provide, and what opportunities exist.
2. Brand Research
Learn how your brand is regarded in the industry and where your possibilities lie through brand research. Use this knowledge to distinguish your company and improve your brand.
3. Client Research
Client research determines what your customers and leads want and how you can provide it. Use this data to modify your marketing messages, services, and operations to match the market’s changing demands.
4. Client Journey Research
Client journey research traces customers’ steps to discover, trust, and purchase your goods or services. Use this knowledge to eliminate buyer friction, enhance your closing rate, and raise your service standards.
5. Client Persona Research
Client persona research entails determining the individuals who buy your services and who affect those who make the ultimate choice. What messages are they in need of hearing? Persona research can help you discover and characterize them so that your sales and marketing are more effective.
6. Client Satisfaction Research
Client satisfaction survey – Respond to the question, “How satisfied are your customers with your work and contributions?”
Questions to Ask in a B2B Market Research (Customer Interview Questions) – The Market Research Template
Now that you know the different types of market research conducted in a B2B setup, especially when talking about tech-based products and services, we must also develop a specific framework that can help us conduct market research and serve as a template for future market analysis.
Here, you can find a free market research template and ensure that industry experts develop it on the subject. It covers different facets of competitors and market analysis alike.
How to Conduct B2B Market Research in 2022?
We shall now look at the different steps and phases involved when conducting B2B market research, especially in today’s competitive environment. We shall take along the example of a human resource management software, which will help users digitally link in and maintain all relevant records of their current and past employees.
- Decide On Your Research Topic
- Develop Your Hypothesis
- Choose Research Methods
- Design Your Market Research Plan
- Data Collection Method and Analysis
- Execute Your Research Plan
- Share And Aware
Let’s explore these steps in detail to develop a practical understanding.
1. Decide On Your Research Topic
For your HRM software, you need to decide on a particular research topic that you would be taking forward when conducting market research. Based on the scale and team structure of the firm, how brands govern certain research areas may differ. Smaller marketing teams, for example, may supervise everything, but more prominent firms may divide themes into smaller groups. These options might be :
- Specifications of the product
- Product introduction
- Recognizing a new intended audience
For this purpose, we shall take on product introduction as a research topic.
2. Develop Your Hypothesis
Do you want data from a variety of demographics? What would you like to learn from the data? How will the replies you get aid in understanding your customers and achieving your company objectives?
To answer all these questions relevant to our research topic, we shall develop a hypothesis for product introduction. For example, the idea could be that the product should be introduced to the target segment through a comprehensive outreach campaign to be successful.
3. Choose Research Methods
In the third stage, we must finalize the research methods that we will deploy to test our hypothesis. These methods can range anywhere from interviews to surveys or even focus groups. Therefore, for this purpose, given that it’s software that we will be pitching toward a particular segment of professionals, we shall choose focus groups as a research method.
4. Design Your Market Research Plan
Now that we have finalized the research method or methods we will use to conduct our B2B market analysis and research; we shall design a market research plan. The market research plan should consist of specific details that are very important.
We need to define our time frame, sample size, and other essential narratives, such as how we will reach out to the target segment. In the case of our research topic, the timeframe that we can select is of three months. At the same time, the sample size should be 50 individuals with randomized backgrounds from the segment. We can reach out to them through cold calling and directly reaching out to their employers.
5. Data Collection Method and Analysis
Now you need to decide how you will collect your data and what statistical tools and methods to analyze it to get tangible results. Giving our example and how technology has made our lives easier, especially when we talk about meetings, we can always go for a focus group session via online conferencing software.
As for analysis, we can run a statistical analysis using SPSS, mark the responses using a Likert scale, and develop relevant graphs. This will help us not only reduce costs but will also make it easier for our participants. The greater ease you create for your participants, your collected data will have less noise and clutter as a result as well.
6. Execute Your Research Plan
Now that you have developed your market research plan and have laid out its building blocks, it is time to execute your research plan and conduct it. Remember that you will hit some bumps along the research route, and everything might not go according to the program. Therefore, be ready to be flexible and adapt the plan as you go through the process.
7. Share And Aware
As you have completed your B2B market research and have reached discovered market insights and acumen, it is imperative that you share it with relevant stakeholders.
Do remember that once you make your marketing and sales team aware of it, results will start coming in. Even if your product development team is knowledgeable of the results of this, it is such an effort that they will be able to help you in concluding whether the hypothesis has been supported or not. Therefore you can make a relevant decision regarding your game plan to introduce this HRM software accordingly.
How Does Market Research Differ Between B2B And B2C?
Business-to-consumer market research is also known as B2C market research. This market study is aimed at non-business clients. Market research with local store consumers and tech items users such as headphones are simple examples of this. These scenarios imply that a survey, participant observations, or even interviews with consumers will be conducted.
B2B market research is described as business-to-business market research instead of B2C market research, which focuses on consumers. These studies concentrate on business-related clients and decision-makers. Examples include focus groups with small business owners by a lending entity or online interviews with developers of a software house.
B2B Market Research Tools
We shall now look at some top market research tools currently ruling the industry and learn how you can leverage these for your B2B market research.
This tool assists you in politely asking and reminding consumers for feedback, guiding them through the online review process, and allowing you to contact disgruntled customers before they submit a poor review.
It integrates with review networks like Trip Advisor, Facebook, and Yelp and allows you to analyze your customers’ feedback to rectify issues and boost customer satisfaction rates. You may also use a dashboard to analyze client demographics and display real-time statistics on the input offered.
Knowing how much your competitors are investing in AdWords is essential information. SpyFu, our second B2B market research tool, shows you the competitive environment for your advertising and those of your competitors. SpyFu even predicts monthly clicks and costs to see how much your competitors pay on average.
Market research in the B2B sector, especially when discussing technology-focused products and services, is of immense importance. No product or service can succeed without the relevant and successful execution of a comprehensive market analysis plan.
Therefore, it is recommended that you, as a tech business owner operating in the B2B sphere should, focus on conducting market research and analysis before moving on to new product development or the addition of new features to your offerings. It is also highly recommended that you hire impartial third-party experts to do this activity to help you gain a much clearer perspective and ensure bias-free results.