In the world of B2B marketing, growth is the primary goal, and leveraging data is how to achieve it. If your company is gearing up to enter an international market or translate your application for global consumption, then chances are your team has been tasked with performing market research.
But what is market research in 2019 and what are the top tools to conduct market research today?
B2B market research today
The current B2B market is much bigger than the B2C market, with an expanding environment for profitable opportunities between businesses.
Effective B2B market research helps businesses wield data to define their markets and determine whether these markets are in a place to receive their products or solutions. It also enables companies to develop a clearer picture of their target audiences and competitors, giving them a competitive advantage as they prepare to launch a product or expand into international markets.
B2B market research is much more complex than B2C market research for a number of reasons. For one, you’re targeting a smaller, more specific audience. You’re also marketing to an audience that’s making a complicated purchasing decision – one that is likely being decided by a number of individuals within the company.
With B2B, you’re also dealing with a more knowledgeable audience with a specific technical aptitude for the types of solutions they’re looking for. Finally, the target audience may also be more susceptible to digital supply chain disruption, causing them to be more risk averse.
Why you need B2B market research
Businesses have much more information available today to vet companies offering similar solutions. Prospective buyers routinely educate themselves on these solutions by way of directories, forums, reviews, databases, and industry websites.
Fortunately, you as the marketer have the same access to these resources. You can leverage the data mined through market research to get a crystal clear vision of your customers' buying behavior and goals and, ultimately, why they need your solution.
Research also points to valuable metrics that provide insights about the investment of pursuing an account, what customers are looking for in a product and even economic trends that could affect a product’s success.
Through the use of data and intelligence tools, you’ll be better equipped to meet the prospective buyer at their knowledge and interest level and direct them toward the best solutions (yours).
The elements of an effective B2B market research strategy
With proper research tools and strategy, B2B market research can reveal new growth opportunities while providing evidence that helps your company update and refine certain details of your go-to-market strategy and product to meet the needs of your ideal customers.
The most effective B2B market strategies incorporate several tactics that cover a range of research avenues. Together, these methods help paint a detailed picture of the market.
- Customer and decision-maker interviews
- Surveys (online, mobile)
- Industry and company leader research
- Focus groups and roundtables
- Economic insights
- Competition analysis
- Market sizing
- Business risk analysis
Once you frame your market research with specific goals and identify the most effective tactics to execute, you can then support the tactics above by using top market research tools.
The top market research tools in 2019
Dun & Bradstreet provides a number of business data and analytics tools including Workbench Data Optimizer, Visitor Intelligence and DNBi Professional. Using Workbench Data Optimizer, you can profile your ideal buyers and optimize demand generation through incredible data. Its Visitor Intelligence Tool provides key insights via cookies and IP addresses to give you a deep understanding of digital traffic so you can compare online and offline prospect data with greater confidence.
Crayon Data provides guided searching through its SimplerChoices platform. This platform compiles and organizes consumer and behavioral data within the context of the search to create “taste maps,” or maps that help predict what a consumer will like about a product. Their product Yoda is designed specifically for enterprises and helps sales and marketing teams understand the data available to them.
Intricately helps the largest cloud companies perform market research by diving deep into how over 7 million companies are adopting, using and spending on cloud infrastructure. If you’re looking to answer questions like “At what rate is India adopting cloud hosting?” or “What technologies do companies in Australia deploy right before advanced CDN?” Intricately is here to help.
CBInsights uses natural language processing and data storytelling to present firmographic and technographic data and spend intelligence in a digestible way so you can pinpoint emerging industries and strike just as start-ups are receiving funding.
For example, are you curious which start-ups Amazon is funding? CBInsights filters consumer and competitor data from a wide variety of sources, allowing you to see which start-ups and enterprises are spearheading the most progressive innovations by reviewing the largest investments by big enterprises.
CrunchBase is a hallmark analysis tool that provides in-depth company profiles and real-time data reports. Users can customize their searches with a seemingly unlimited number of filters.
There’s also a great trend-scoring tool that ranks trends based on data like date of last financing and size of funding rounds. We’re a big fan of its alert feature, which allows you to track certain data points, and after saving a search, the database will update search results based on new data.
Crimson Hexagon is a beginner-friendly, effective social media listening tool with the ability to generate full analytics reports. The reports use clear, attractive visuals to display years of analytics, which makes it much easier to identify long-term trends. You can also customize certain settings to classify posts. While mainly used for consumer research, social media listening tools can, and should, be used in B2B market research.
Mintel is a market research agency that provides clear reports that can save you a ton of time in the initial research phase. They present essential business intelligence in simple, approachable language. If you’re overwhelmed with the amount of research needed for several companies at once, Mintel can help you get some quick context for a company by presenting its history, showing where it is now and predicting its future as well.
Gartner is one of the gold-standard, exclusive market research tools known for being consistently ahead of the curve. It produces highly detailed industry reports about trends, technologies and vendors using trusted sources. Gartner also provides calls with Analysts, which can be extremely helpful if you need one-on-one time with someone who is highly knowledgeable about your particular topic.
InsideView is a quality tool for gathering contact data that you can import into your own CRM and use to prepare for sales calls. You can perform basic searches by criteria like company size, location and industry, and its Social Insights feature allows you to view a company’s new articles and social media updates all in one place.
Forrester is another industry standard business intelligence company that provides proprietary research as well as consumer and business data. Its product reviews are thorough and give you a deeper understanding of potential partners and prospects without expecting you to deep dive into lengthy reports. It provides helpful summaries that give a good overview of the material and key insights.
Take your B2B market research up a notch
Implementing these valuable B2B market research tools will guarantee your team has a much easier time developing your ideal customer profile, positioning sales materials and expanding into international markets.