Businesses conduct B2B market research to answer a wide variety of questions. However, these questions generally fall into three broad categories, or B2B market research use cases. It’s important to know which use case fits the problem you want to solve. This is because it makes it easier to know what questions you should ask.
1: Product-market fit: I want to get feedback on a new product or service
Product-market fit is the extent to which a product meets a demand in the market. Marc Andreessen, who popularized the term, goes as far as to write that, for start-ups, “The only thing that matters is getting to product-market fit.” Reaching product-market fit is an early and essential milestone any company must achieve if it hopes to have long term success.
B2B market research enables a company to reach and maintain product-market fit. For instance, consider a SaaS company that realizes that nobody is using their new cloud platform. They can survey their customers (who in this case will be other tech professionals) to understand why. Ultimately, the B2B research will help them to conclude whether the platform is viable. In another example, a company could take a survey of customer needs prior to developing a product to identify which products or features they could develop to reach product-market fit.
2: Customer voice or voice of customer: I want to hear about my customers experience
Once a company has established relationships with customers, it’s important to keep up with how their customers feel about their offerings. How are the customers using your products? What features do your customers like, and which can they do without? Are they satisfied with how much the product costs now? Would they pay more if certain features were added? Businesses need to know the answers to these questions. B2B market research can help them do that.
Say the SaaS company in the example above has achieved product-market fit with their cloud platform. They’ll want to make sure they maintain it, or better yet dominate the market rather than just fitting into it. To do that, they need to keep their ears to the ground regarding their customers’ needs and opinions. In other words, they need to conduct more B2B market research. Surveying their customers helps the company know where to put resources (into products or features customers like or want) and where their resources could be wasted (on products or features their customers dislike or are ambivalent toward).
3: Competitive benchmark: I want to understand my competitors’ performance.
Just as important as knowing your customers is knowing your competitors. Competitive benchmarking is the process of comparing your company’s performance to that of your competitors. If one of your competitors has a great deal of control over the market, competitive benchmarking can help you understand why, and what you could do to imitate their success.
B2B market research is the best way to get a solid grasp of how well your competitors perform and why. Getting in touch with former or current employees of your competitors can help you understand the priorities and practices of the most successful companies in your industry.
Furthermore, it’s important to work with a reputable B2B market research firm when conducting competitive benchmarking. They won’t just put you in touch with the right people. They’ll also know which metrics are worth keeping track of to get a complete picture of your competitors’ performance.
Good B2B market research often amounts to asking the right questions to the right people. For some of the best questions to ask, read our article on the top B2B survey questions to ask for each of these use cases. To find the right people, partner with NewtonX: our proprietary Knowledge Graph lets us pin down the exact professionals who are most qualified to answer any business question.