Garnering customer feedback is one of the most important initiatives for enterprise success, particularly in B2B industries, where reputation is king. Despite this importance, however, the strategies that most business leaders employ for soliciting feedback are anecdotal and qualitative — which can result in flawed decision making. Even companies that issue customer feedback surveys to their clients on a regular basis typically only hear from a fraction of their customer base, and that feedback is usually tainted by strong feelings. Finally, one of the biggest missed opportunities in traditional approaches to customer feedback is getting the voice of potential customers alongside current and former ones.
Traditional Approaches to B2B Voice of the Customer, and What Each Approach Misses
There are five different approaches used by most companies to identify customer sentiment and gather feedback. We’ve ordered them by popularity, and identified the drawbacks and deficiencies in each one:
1. Internal Qualitative Feedback From Sales Team
Sales representatives are biased toward selling more, and will therefore inevitably give feedback about pricing being too high, competitors offering more for less, and additional features being necessary to success. While some of this feedback may indeed be accurate, the source is biased enough that it cannot be trusted on its own.
2. Qualitative Feedback From Existing Customers
Existing customers are a good source of feedback, however many B2B companies get exclusively anecdotal feedback from clients when something goes well, something goes poorly, or the client has an occasion to interact with them. Customer feedback should be solicited from all customers, including ones who are neutral, those who have positive sentiments, and those who are upset with your company/product.
3. Qualitative Feedback From Potential Customers (e.g., Focus Groups)
Potential customers are a good source of data for product, marketing, and sales strategies and competitor analysis. That said, qualitative feedback from potential customers is only part of a much bigger story that Voice of the Customer feedback should tell.
4. Quantitative Data from Reports like Nielsen, Forrester, IDC, or Gartner
Like qualitative focus groups, quantitative reports only tell part of a much larger story. They can give insights into price points, feature analysis, and competitive analysis, but miss qualitative feedback. Additionally, the data sources for market research reports can be inaccurate or outdated since they aren’t primary.
5. A Mix of Quantitative and Qualitative Data from Consulting Companies
Consulting firms are the only traditional source that offer both qualitative and quantitative data, however, they still have drawbacks. One drawback is that because they are a secondary source, the data can be cherrypicked or manipulated to fit an overarching narrative that pleases the client (you). Additionally, consulting firms usually take a select sample of sources to inform their conclusions, but the sample may not be large enough to be comprehensive or significant.
A New Approach to B2B Voice of the Customer: Large-Scale Surveys With Three Cohorts of Customers
Business leaders are currently making decisions based on anecdotal or insufficient evidence given to them by biased sources. But a new approach to customer feedback has recently emerged that addresses the shortcomings of each traditional method: Large-scale B2B customer surveys with large cohorts of current customers, potential customers (competitor customers), and ex-customers. These surveys can deliver responses from thousands of precisely targeted customers around the globe, and offer robust quantitative and qualitative feedback, directly from the source.
Despite their large scale, custom B2B surveys are highly targeted and yield extremely precise information that can be highly actionable. Additionally, because the avenue to the customer is direct, these surveys open up the ability to do deep-dive interviews with respondents who give outlier or unique answers. For instance, if a dissatisfied user cited in the survey “exorbitant prices for the quality of service,” as their reason for dissatisfaction, you could do a follow-up consultation to understand precisely what was wrong with the quality of service and why the price point didn’t align with the customer’s expectations.
The ability to garner both qualitative and quantitative feedback is crucial to gaining a complete understanding of customer sentiment. From this sentiment, companies can craft highly targeted sales and marketing strategies, as well as develop strategic product roadmaps that will delight customers and attract new potential customers.
NewtonX offers completely tailored large-scale B2B voice of the customer surveys to address the issues outlined in this article. By leveraging a proprietary algorithm, NewtonX rapidly and precisely identifies the respondents for each cohort, deploys the survey to them, and additionally flags respondents that may have valuable qualitative insights. Companies can then conduct one-on-one consultations with these outlier respondents in order to get the most robust customer feedback possible.
NewtonX also offers custom survey design and reporting to give companies the most relevant insights for their needs.
To learn more about how NewtonX can help your B2B company with Voice of the Customer (VoC) surveys, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.