As someone involved in B2B market research, I am often asked by my internal and external clients a very simple question “Why do customers buy from us?” As simple as this question may seem it is not always the easiest to answer. Most clients, especially those in the C-Suite, expect this to be answered yesterday and in full detail. With the advent of CRM systems and online survey platforms this question can be answered, but it takes some digging.
This question can be answered in an ad hoc fashion with a standalone survey, but it is better served as part of a tracking project. We are familiar with tracking projects typically for brand awareness tracking, customer satisfaction, and customer retention, but “why did they buy” trackers can be easily set up via the connection of CRM and online surveys.
Implementing such a program would involve taking a sample of purchasers and inviting them to take a short post-purchase survey. It is not uncommon in the B2B world to place an order for a product or service and then go through a waiting period before delivery takes place. Delaying the survey process until after delivery can lead to a decay in the ability to provide quality information. I recommend timing this post-purchase survey to be executed as close to the actual purchase date as possible.
Some key questions to ask the purchasers include:
- Why did you choose Acme for this purchase?
- Did you consider any other vendors, if so whom?
- What are the primary reasons for making this purchase now?
These questions can be appended with data from your CRM system including: first-time vs. repeat purchaser, product/service bought, dollar value of purchase, lifetime value of purchases for existing customers, discount level, etc.
Capturing this data on regular intervals allows the marketer to better understand the reasons for purchase (excellent fodder for marketing messaging), current competitive set, and the reasons for choosing your company. Trend data can then be generated and used to track the effectiveness of marketing programs. The key to making this tracking program work is to time the execution so there is minimal loss of information.
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