In our previous post on Insights, we discussed gathering information to better understand your target audience, the buying process and how to ask the right questions in order to solicit the best information. Now that you have the information, it’s time to analyze and develop it into intelligence you can use.

Provided you constructed your questions correctly, the information gathered should reflect the consideration set and decision drivers of every stakeholder role involved in the buying process. Segmentation is a key component to correctly analyzing the information. From this, a model can be developed to highlight specific needs and allow for development of targeted programs to improve messaging to each group of people within your target audience.

Often organizations stop at the survey point, using only this information to craft models and make decisions. Creating powerful actionable insights requires going a step further. You must add-on in depth interviews, either in-person or telephone, with a sample set of each segment to allow you to really drill down, gathering information you simply cannot get via a written survey.

Another important aspect of effectively developing insights is to interview internal stakeholders. For example, if you are wanting to positively impact sales, then including the sales team in the process and also interviewing them will give you good information needed to perform appropriate analysis. Skipping this step will not give you the full picture and can lead to making the same mistakes again or developing an improvement model that cannot be implemented or simply just not work.

Challenge the Norm: Develop research objectives to identify key areas of information to gather. For example, if your primary objective is to improve existing sales close rates, then ensure that your research encompasses not only those customers who chose you – and why – but your sales team. Just as important, ask those prospects who did not select your product/service and find out why they selected your competitor.

A well thought-out set of objectives will help you define the segmentation you will need to create. Now you can uncover information important to creating solutions to solve your customer’s challenges better than your competitors. But don’t just talk to customers; you should also include prospects who said no so you can uncover gaps in your solution and understand your competitive differentiation. Perhaps those who said no were not truly in your target audience. Or perhaps your sales team should have used a different approach better aligned to that prospects decision making process, or maybe it had something to do with contract terms. Whatever the reason these are the types of insights you want to uncover.

Interview for Clarity

Developing a solution to a challenge or creating a model to expand to new markets should only be completed once you have interviewed a sample set of all segments. Now you can really drill down into details and find out what companies use as decision drivers. Asking which competitors they seriously consider or what company they feel is the benchmark in your industry will give you critical information. Obviously you want to come out ahead of your competition, but if you are not, understanding why is the only way to change the course.

Interviewing internal stakeholders will provide a similar level of detail from an internal perspective, particularly if you have a third-party perform the interviews so the stakeholders feel secure in giving candid responses. It is the same with prospects who decided not to purchase your service or product. Choosing to only interview customers does not give you the full view and limits the insights to a subset of the potential target market rather than giving you the full picture.

This type of in depth 360 degree insights gathering is the best means of getting in-depth information. These details simply will not show up on a survey, as most people will not take the time to provide this level of commentary.

Analyze for Alignment and Differences

Once you have all the information, you can now review the segments for similarities and differences. The trends uncovered during the analysis will outline marketing differentiators, perceptions and provide details to ensure you are positioning your company appropriately for your target audience. Now you can prioritize your actions, rectify issues and ensure that you are always in the consideration set of your target audience, putting you ahead of your competition.

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