The Essential Guide to B2B Customer Research - Deepstash
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The piñata approach

The piñata approach

Driving products forward in this way is like blindfolding a team, giving them a stick and hoping they eventually will hit the piñata. The lucky ones might hit it at some point, but inevitably they will miss a lot of shots

Product teams using the piñata approach are not directed by insights from customer research — they are guided by opinions and solutions to problems that don’t exist.

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The Sherlock Holmes approach

The Sherlock Holmes approach

Approaching your market, customers and competitors like Sherlock Holmes will give you significantly better chances of achieving product-market fit. 

You will approach your product idea with great curiosity and wonder, and investigate all signals as part of a bigger puzzle. You’ll use all five senses and a dose of analytical skills in your journey to find product-market fit. 

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B2B research can be a bumpy road

As compared to B2C research, B2B research can be more difficult to conduct.

This is why the Sherlock Holmes approach is without doubt your best way forward in acquiring as much information as possible about your target customers from different sources. Spice up customer interviews with a greater understanding of trends in your target market, competitors and desk research to paint yourself a better picture of your end users.

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Know what problem you are solving and for who

Know what problem you are solving and for who

Before you conduct any customer research, you need to know what problem you are solving, who you are solving it for, and have a product idea. In any case, try to be as specific as possible on both your idea and your ideal customers.  

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The three levels of customer research

The three levels of customer research

Customer research can be done on three different levels using the Sherlock Holmes approach: The macro, meso and micro level.

On macro level you’ll learn more about
• Market segment
• Market size
• Overall market trends

On meso level you’ll look into
• Buyers and user personas
• Online user communities
• Competitors

On micro level you’ll gain more knowledge from
• Customer interviews
• Surveys
• Industry conferences

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Guide your product strategy with customer research

Customer research shouldn’t be done only in the beginning when you have an idea for a product, it should be done on a continuous basis. Customer needs change as new requirements are enforced, or as competitors offer new features.

The insights you get from doing more solid customer research will guide your overall product strategy, inform your design decisions and your technical choices. On the contrary, if you don’t have these insights to inform your product decisions, you quickly end up practicing the piñata approach — swinging your imaginary stick countless times only to miss the target.

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