Two useful market research techniques for B2B marketers are provided below.
Win / Loss Analysis
The Win / Loss Analysis is a very simple but powerful research technique developed by Research By Design – download a full description from their website www.researchbydesign.com.au
All that is needed is to have follow-up conversations with customers who have recently purchased your product or service and those who have enquired about your product or service but not proceeded with that purchase.
Then, compare the reasons why your customers do purchase your product or service and why others do not. This will help you to understand the key buying criteria of your customers. It will also provide you with information about what your competitors are doing better than you are and help you to pick up early warning signals in regard to what you need to improve about your product or service.
The Strategy Canvas derives from the concept of the Blue Ocean Strategy, developed by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne who are professors at INSEAD, an international university with campuses in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The technique involves looking for the gaps in the market (the blue ocean) that represent opportunities. We have adapted the concept to provide a useful B2B market research tool for SMEs and use this tool in our role as business consultants.
It begins by identifying the competitive issues that you as the business owner or manager believe are relevant / important to your market. These could include issues such as performance, timeliness of delivery, price, customer service, quality etc.
You would then go to the market and ask respondents to rate on a scale of 1 to 10 the importance of each parameter to them; the performance of your company for each item, and the combined performance of all the suppliers in the market for each item. You would then rate your own business and plot the four lines on a chart. An example is provided below.
In this particular B2B market research example, the company that our business consultant worked with supplies products to and installs products for builders. The competitive factors thought to be the most important by the business owners / managers were:
- On site performance
- On time delivery
- Customer service
- Quote turnaround time
Of these factors, our business consultant found that those most important to the market were: on site performance and price, followed by on time delivery, customer service and quality.
The issues that stand out are that the company has a much higher opinion of the importance of its performance than the market does; two of the areas that it scores best in are the least important to the market; it is not price competitive; and on time delivery is weak. In addition, it is apparent that the rest of the industry is perceived as not being significantly any better.
The strategy that the company in conjunction with our business consultant decided upon was to focus on reducing costs to become more price competitive and to address the systems that impact on delivery time. By focusing on these two issues identified in the market research, this company could lift themselves above their competitors and provide a more relevant service to the market.
This technique also lends itself well to annual reviews to measure changes in performance.