If Covid-19 has taught us anything, it’s that no one knows what’s around the corner. This year has pushed most of us to new habits and new routines, so it’s probably safe to assume our clients, customers, and prospects will be doing things differently too. So what can you take for granted? Potentially nothing. Unless you have the benefit of a crystal ball, now might be the perfect time to consider market research.
Some of Blue Donkey’s precious client family have been with us for over 23 years. To be precise, 23 years last month! A wonderful statement of what our work represents for them. However, that alone means little, especially in the light of shifting sands both economically, and socially. Who knows what next year will bring. But we can ask them, in the form of market research, and in doing so we get close to understanding how to meet their needs and requirements. Without asking, there’s not much to go on, unless of course, you do have that crystal ball, in which case, please share.
We’re all growing now
Most organisations in B2B markets will have seen some decline in their revenues during 2020. That’s not great news of cause, but it does mean the general mood in 2021 will be an optimistic growth driven one. With this in mind, clients and prospects will be happier to talk to you about their plans for the coming year. Build a survey of questions that are relevant to your growth objectives. Take a while to build a questionnaire that systematically goes through topics one by one. Closed questions are actually better than open questions for the first stages of your market research. Closed questions will allow you to build your market research outcomes in a way that gives you concrete data and visual representations such as charts. This method is also useful when you’re sharing your outcomes with other stakeholders. You can also use a web based application to capture your information. Survey Monkey is great if you’re looking for a free tool that allows you to capture simple data.
Fears for Tiers
The new government tier system will mean you may be stuck with heightened restrictions on movement for a while yet. That may, in turn, necessitate being phone or home based for longer too. So come on out from under that rock, stop hiding and start calling the people you want to connect with for next year’s sales.
Make a list of existing customers and prospects then prioritise. Order your list in favour of the most important first. You may even have two entirely separate activities, one for existing clients and another for target clients or prospects. As your existing client base is more important, after all the best prospects are your clients, take time to probe, understand and rebuild links with them. Perhaps ending your call with a planned date to meet again face to face.
Investing in professional market research
If your potential market research list is a big one, or you have more than a small handful of questions, you should consider using an outside company like Blue Donkey to do your research for you. They will be independent, so your respondents will speak more freely.
The team at Blue Donkey are professional market researchers who are used to compiling surveys that generate more information than you can in-house. By using a clever blend of closed, Likert, rating, or open questions, they’ll gently draw your respondents into discussions that yield valuable quantitative and qualitative data that you can use to improve your offering. Investing in market research before making big decisions about products or service can save money in the long run. Getting closer to what your clients want right now will enable stronger relationships moving forward.
Do avoid the temptation to swerve the calling bit and revert to email market research though! How did we guess you were thinking that! Now is the time to get up close and personal with your clients, if you don’t someone else might.