How to leverage B2B market intelligence

June 28, 2023

Investment in B2B market intelligence should yield a high ROI – both in terms of making successful business decisions and avoiding less lucrative avenues. 

You can leverage decision quality market intelligence across your organization at whatever level you need questions answers; local, national, regional and international. Market intelligence is a necessity to maximize your agility in our dynamic global economic environment. 

The main issue is finding ‘good’ market intelligence. The sheer volume of information overwhelms businesses with never ending opinions, reports and options. To make the best use of your market intelligence investment, you need to clarify what you want to know, know how you’re going to find that information, and decide how you’re going to use it. 

It’s wise to think through all these aspects right at the start of your B2B market intelligence gathering. The overall goal is business growth in market share, revenue and profit. 

But how do you filter a vast array of information into useful market intelligence? Where do you find specific answers to your questions? Are you using your market intelligence insights to effectively address your business priorities?

 

 

What is B2B market intelligence

 

B2B market intelligence refers to the process of gathering and analyzing data related to the business-to-business market to gain valuable insights into industry trends, competitor activities, customer behavior, and other relevant market dynamics. This information helps businesses make informed decisions, identify potential opportunities, and stay competitive in their respective industries. B2B market intelligence involves collecting data from various sources, such as market research reports, industry publications, government data, and customer feedback, and then analyzing and interpreting this data to extract meaningful and actionable insights.

 

 

Benefits of B2B market intelligence

 

The benefits of B2B market intelligence are manifold and can significantly impact a business’s success. It enables businesses to gain a comprehensive understanding of their target audience, tailoring marketing and sales strategies to meet customer needs effectively. This customer-centric approach is essential for building long-term relationships and maximizing customer lifetime value. B2B market intelligence also facilitates effective competitor analysis, allowing companies to benchmark their performance against industry peers and identify areas for improvement. Moreover, it helps businesses identify potential threats and opportunities in the market, allowing them to proactively adapt to changing market dynamics.

 

 

The importance of B2B market intelligence

 

B2B market intelligence is a vital tool that empowers businesses to gain a competitive edge and achieve sustainable growth in today’s dynamic market landscape. By harnessing valuable data and insights, businesses can make informed decisions, anticipate market trends, and tailor their offerings to meet customer needs effectively.

  • Comprehensive Market Understanding: B2B market intelligence provides a comprehensive understanding of the target market. By collecting and analyzing customer data, businesses can gain deep insights into their preferences, pain points, and buying behaviors. This knowledge allows companies to tailor their products and services to meet customer needs effectively, enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Competitive Edge: Market intelligence enables businesses to monitor their competitors closely. By identifying competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, companies can develop strategies to differentiate their offerings and gain a competitive edge in the market. Understanding the competitive landscape also helps businesses respond quickly to market shifts and emerging threats.
  • Anticipating Market Trends: Market intelligence offers valuable data on emerging market trends and opportunities. This foresight allows businesses to proactively adapt their strategies to capitalize on new growth prospects and stay ahead of the competition. By being proactive, companies can position themselves strategically to maximize market share.
  • Informed Decision Making: Data-driven decision-making is a hallmark of B2B market intelligence. The abundance of accurate and relevant data empowers businesses to make informed and strategic choices. With market intelligence insights, companies can reduce risks associated with uncertainty and improve the success rate of their strategic initiatives.
  • Navigating Market Complexities: The dynamic B2B market can be complex, with changing customer demands and competitive dynamics. Market intelligence equips businesses with the necessary tools to navigate these complexities with confidence. By staying informed, companies can adapt their approaches, optimize operations, and achieve sustainable growth.
  • Enhancing Profitability: Ultimately, B2B market intelligence contributes to enhanced profitability. By aligning products, services, and strategies with customer needs and market trends, businesses can drive revenue growth and strengthen their position in the market. The ability to make data-driven decisions and capitalize on opportunities ensures a more profitable and sustainable business model.

 

 

Market intelligence vs business intelligence

 

Market Intelligence and Business Intelligence are two distinct concepts, each serving a unique purpose in the corporate landscape. Market Intelligence is specifically focused on gathering and analyzing external data related to a company’s market, competitors, customers, and industry trends. It provides valuable insights into market dynamics, customer preferences, and competitive positioning, helping businesses make strategic decisions and identify growth opportunities.

On the other hand, Business Intelligence centers around internal data analysis, consolidating data from various operational systems within the organization. It encompasses a broader range of data, including financial, operational, and transactional data. The goal of Business Intelligence is to improve internal processes, optimize performance, and enhance overall decision-making at a tactical and operational level.

 

 

Defining B2B market intelligence goals and metrics

 

Before delving into B2B market intelligence, it is crucial for businesses to define clear objectives and establish relevant metrics to measure their progress effectively. Setting specific objectives ensures that the market intelligence efforts align with the company’s strategic goals, while selecting appropriate metrics provides actionable insights and meaningful data. Here are some essential objectives and metrics to consider before embarking on the journey of B2B market intelligence:

  • Market Understanding Objectives
    • Identifying market opportunities and potential growth areas
    • Understanding customer needs, preferences, and pain points
    • Analyzing market trends and forecasting future developments
    • Relevant Metrics:
      • Market share analysis
      • Customer satisfaction scores
      • Market growth rate
  • Competitive Analysis Objectives:
    • Evaluating the competitive landscape and identifying key players
    • Assessing competitors’ strengths and weaknesses
    • Uncovering competitive threats and opportunities
    • Relevant Metrics:
      • Competitor market share
      • Customer perception of competitors
      • Product/service differentiation scores
  • Customer Profiling Objectives:
    • Creating detailed buyer personas to understand target customers
    • Segmentation of the customer base based on various criteria
    • Identifying high-value customers and potential market segments
    • Relevant Metrics:
      • Customer demographics and psychographic
      • Customer lifetime value
      • Purchase frequency and loyalty
  • Product/Service Performance Objectives:
    • Assessing the performance of existing products or services
    • Identifying areas for improvement or innovation
    • Evaluating the success of new product launches
    • Relevant Metrics:
      • Product adoption rate
      • Customer feedback on product/service features
      • Sales revenue and profitability
  • Brand Perception Objectives:
    • Understanding how the brand is perceived in the market
    • Measuring brand awareness and recognition
    • Monitoring brand reputation and sentiment
    • Relevant Metrics:
      • Brand awareness and recall
      • Net Promoter Score (NPS)
      • Brand sentiment analysis
  • Market Entry and Expansion Objectives:
    • Assessing potential markets for expansion
    • Evaluating the feasibility of entering new markets
    • Identifying potential partnerships or distribution channels
    • Relevant Metrics:
      • Market attractiveness index
      • Market entry barriers analysis
      • Partner satisfaction scores

By defining clear objectives and selecting appropriate metrics, businesses can align their B2B market intelligence initiatives with their overall strategic vision, ensuring valuable and actionable insights to drive growth and success. It also enables companies to focus their efforts on the most relevant aspects of their market and make informed decisions to stay ahead of the competition.

 

Danger of information overload 

 

The overwhelming amount of information that’s readily available online is a real threat to how we use evidence to evaluate business decisions. 

Just because data’s easy to find, doesn’t mean that it tells you what you need to know. You may be left with just a partial picture, or the opinion of people who aren’t part of your buyer teams. Or – in a worst-case scenario – you invest in data that’s so unreliable it’s totally unusable. 

As Maarten Lagae, Landor & Fitch’s Executive Director of Insights & Analytics, Americas, explains:

“It is easy for companies and marketers to get overwhelmed by data, get distracted by noise, or worse – take decisions based on an incomplete or biased picture. If you’re looking to attract a new customer segment, your current customer satisfaction survey isn’t very useful. And if you’re planning to manage a brand by simply looking at social media data, you might as well drive your car on the highway just using a flashlight.

“There is a risk of over-relying on ‘convenient data’ because it is readily/easily available, but actually irrelevant or even potentially misleading to guide decisions. It requires more rigor, time and resources to find multi-faceted answers and develop solid business cases that unlock budgets, board approval and ultimately business growth. We are often asked to look at the financial implications of large-scale brand transformations such as rebrands, pack changes, spin-offs, mergers, etc. and build business cases for the CFO or Board of Directors. It is critical that we use high quality data as the foundation for such important business decisions. And that is not always convenient.”

Your security against this danger is custom research. Data that’s based on your clear objectives, with 100% verification of niche audiences, and clear analysis that gives you actionable insights.  

 

 

Start from where you are

Do you know what you already know? Before you invest in new primary research, you need to curate all the market intelligence that’s already part of your organization. You really don’t want to waste time or money collecting the same information twice.

So, what market intelligence research has already been done? In a multi-department company, there’s a good chance that there isn’t a centralized record. You need to discover what market intelligence has already been gathered, when, and if the insights are still useful to your current situation. 

 

Workshop it with your stakeholders

To get a real 360 view of your company’s market intelligence needs, you need to involve staff across all departments. A workshop style meeting is designed to make sure that ideas from every corner of your organization are listened to and shared.

Include stakeholders across teams: senior management, sales, product design, logistics, technical, operations and HR. Imagine how much combined knowledge you’ll share about your business processes and, most importantly, your client’s journey to purchase. Don’t leave any good idea to languish in the back of someone’s mind, or just within one department. 

To get the most out of your shared learnings, it may be wise to work with an external moderator, to facilitate an efficient process.

 

 

Clarify how your market intelligence questions help you meet your business aims

 

What do you want to know? After auditing the market intelligence you have and curating the wisdom of your personnel, you’ll be able to formulate really specific questions that directly relate to your business aims. 

The methodology used to collect future market intelligence is dependent on the type of information you need.

 

Example 1: Business growth

Tableau came to work with NewtonX with the overall aim of strengthening their position against competitors in their field. The specifics required gathering market intelligence research data that incorporated several key factors: benchmarking user awareness, brand perception, usage against competing platforms and across physical locations, and user feedback.

In 10 days, NewtonX surveyed 600 senior decision makers across 4 international locations and analyzed the data into actionable insights. By using the marketing and product opportunities uncovered in the results, Tableau regularly exceeds their quarterly growth projections.

 

Example 2: Product development

Segmentation research is the way to find out if your clients actually want the new feature or product that you’re considering for development. 

In his search for good quality data to use for this kind of decision making, Matt Harris, Checkout.com Senior Customer Research & Insights Manager, A/B tested NewtonX findings with traditional panel providers. He starts from the premise that: “Good quality data gives you clear direction to tell a story to your stakeholders. That helps your business, or your client’s business, make better decisions. And ultimately that’s why we’re all here.”

In his comparison with other research companies, he discovered that because NewtonX bases their market intelligence research on 100% verified professionals, it gives much more nuanced “textured” insights. As Harris found: “Textured data gives clear directions to Product and Marketing teams on prioritization – whereas flat data lacks clear stories.

 

 

Get a holistic overview of where your business sits in the market

 

To get a full picture of your business context, risks and opportunities, it’s worth trawling every interested party for their golden nuggets of market intelligence. You can build a powerful 3D picture of your company, based on all of their unique perspectives as outsiders.

 

Current clients

Attention is most usually focused on an organization’s current clients. This is completely understandable, as they’re providing the company’s lifeblood – cash flow – in the present moment. But do you really know how clients feel about their experience at all the different touchpoints of their buyer journey? 

Carefully chosen survey and interview questions will explain the whole story – from why they chose you rather than your competitors, to why they happily maintain their brand loyalty. Client focused market intelligence research gives you evidence of the strengths you should be replicating and any issues that need resolving, from their viewpoint. 

 

Prospective clients

Being ‘customer obsessed’ is lauded, for good reason. Why else are you creating your products and services? You want clients to be happy with them. But this doesn’t just mean your current clients.

What about all the people who don’t buy from you – yet? Your current clients may well have the same pain points and goals when buying your product. But maybe your prospects have different needs, or they’re in a different place. To nurture prospective clients, you need to get outside the groupthink of your current brand personas and ask them. 

Including potential clients in your marketing intelligence gathering is the best way to discover how to turn them into happy customers, too.

Competitors

Competitive intelligence helps you gain a competitive advantage across all determining factors, including competitors in your industry. You can emulate their successes, and eliminate risks by learning from their mistakes. 

With new products or services, specific market intelligence methodologies – like competitive benchmarking and competitive benchmarking –  can help you get over the finish line first. 

 

Suppliers and distributors

This particular group is often overlooked during market intelligence gathering, despite the fact that they hold a unique position on your buyers’ journey. Suppliers and distributors usually have in-depth knowledge and a lot of experience in the market. They’re also there, face-to-face with your manufacturers and sellers – an invaluable perspective. 

Industry experts

Academics, journalists and other interested parties comprise a pool of independent industry experts. Why not tap into their wealth of knowledge? By the nature of their position, they’re usually more than happy to discuss their opinions and information on a wide range of industry issues. 

 

 

ROI against B2B market intelligence

 

Measuring the return on investment (ROI) of B2B market intelligence is crucial to understanding the effectiveness and value of the efforts put into gathering and analyzing market data. There are several approaches businesses can use to measure the ROI of B2B market intelligence, each tailored to their specific goals and objectives.

One key aspect to assess is revenue growth and market share increase. By calculating the increase in revenue or market share attributed to the insights gained through market intelligence efforts, businesses can gauge the impact of intelligence-driven strategies on their bottom line. Additionally, measuring cost savings and efficiency improvements can reveal the financial benefits of optimizing marketing campaigns, improving product development, or identifying cost-effective suppliers through market intelligence.

Customer retention and acquisition are also vital metrics to consider. Evaluating the impact of market intelligence on customer retention rates and the acquisition of new customers can demonstrate how well the intelligence-informed strategies are working to attract and retain clientele.

Lead conversion rate is another essential factor to analyze. By assessing how market intelligence contributes to a higher lead conversion rate, businesses can gain insights into the effectiveness of their intelligence-based lead generation and nurturing efforts. Risk mitigation is another critical area where market intelligence can make a difference. By evaluating the impact of market intelligence in identifying potential risks and mitigating them, businesses can better understand the value of intelligence-driven decision-making in risk management.

By selecting the appropriate metrics and methodologies, businesses can effectively measure the ROI of their B2B market intelligence initiatives. The insights gained from measuring the ROI can further inform future decisions, optimize resource allocation, and drive continuous improvement in market intelligence practices.

 

Actionable B2B market intelligence insights with a research partner

 

Research based insights help you prioritize the multiplicity of ideas that make B2B products and services more complex. But you need to ask the right people the right questions in order to get this kind of decision quality market intelligence. 

NewtonX market intelligence is based on the right combination of quantitative and qualitative data and leverages the Knowledge Graph to find the 100% verified, exact professionals you need to answer your questions. 

As your trusted market research partner, we keep your decision-making agile by regularly updating your market intelligence to account for constant change.

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