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Erickson Research Blog

All posts in Qualitative Research

What is “Buyer Speak” and Why Should You Care?

LanguageAre you confident that your company’s in-house terminology or creative jargon is the same as your buyers’?

If not, it’s time to rethink the language you’re using.

Using the right words in your communication is crucial. It not only increases prospective buyer engagement but also enhances your credibility as a provider.
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Are You Up to the Challenge? An Invaluable Exercise for all B2B Sellers.

stock photo agencyHow quickly (and accurately) can you finish this sentence?

Our product (or service) can help your company…

If you found yourself struggling for a definitive answer, you need to find one…ASAP.  Otherwise, a lot of potential customers might pass you by.

Here’s why…

Put yourself in your buyer’s shoes for a moment. Imagine you are a baked goods manufacturer looking to purchase a new oven. You’re exploring the various options, hoping to find something that will improve efficiency, save energy, and decrease downtime.

You do some research for potential suppliers and come across Mark’s Fabulous Bakery Equipment. When you ask about their offerings, they are very enthusiastic about their latest oven.

This is how they describe it to you…

“Our state-of-the-art Pro Baker Oven is a best-in-class product that’s a smarter choice for your production line. Its sleek design includes diamond-shaped controls that have a superior appearance to traditional round ones. And it comes in exciting colors like red, orange or navy.”

Sounds impressive, doesn’t it?  But as a buyer, how do you know what they’re actually trying to sell you? In other words…

  • What do they mean by best-in-class product? By what measure?
  • Why is it a smarter choice? Smarter than…what/who?
  • What makes these controls any better than traditional (besides their ‘look’)? Why do you need to change this?
  • Is there something important or useful about the variety of colors? (note: every other production line oven you’ve ever seen is a standard silver)

Bottom line: why should any of this matter to you?

From talking extensively with B2B purchase decision-makers, we’ve learned that many products and services are dismissed because the seller is unable to

  • Clearly demonstrate what it actually does
  • Credibly establish how it’s different or better than competitors’

The thing is, B2B buyers aren’t impressed with product descriptions that are loaded with fluffy language.  It doesn’t help them with their purchase decision. Instead, it mostly just causes confusion and makes them question the knowledge and integrity of the seller.

On the other hand, simple, focused product descriptions speak volumes.  Like this…

Our product catalog can help your company attract buyers by creating listings that are more visible and appealing. (EBay)

or this…

Our products can help your company provide accurate and objective health and medical information that’s credible, relevant and timely. (Health Day News)

Remember the ‘finish the sentence’ exercise you tried earlier?  Try it again…with your team (especially sales reps).  Then share your results with each other. This provides a great opportunity to:

  • Address and clarify areas of misinformation about your offering
  • Discover alternate ways of talking about your product/service that could be more effective
  • Establish a consistent value proposition throughout your organization
  • Create enthusiasm for your offering and in turn, better motivate your sales team

This is just one of several key (often game-changing) findings from our research in the B2B marketplace.  For more tips, download our e-book, “What B2B Buyers Really Care About.”

Seeking Growth with Gumption – Four Ways to Create Market Opportunities

GrowthWe know that every business is different.  But the one similarity they all have is the need to grow.  And here are a few creative (and proven) ways to do this:

Take internal inventory – what in-house capabilities have you overlooked?  Is there something you’ve been outsourcing or purchasing elsewhere that would make sense and be feasible to do yourself?  Having an objective third party talk to your employees could be a great way to uncover talents and resources you didn’t even know you had.

Be a category rabble-rouser – your competitors are leading customers to the front door…why not divert them to the intrigue of the fire escape?  There’s more than one way to engage your consumers, in fact, there are many.  Why not conduct some shopper insights detective work and find points of contact that are yours for the taking?  Now more than ever it’s a constant battle for consumers’ attention – conventionality isn’t the answer.

Get out of your ‘targeting’ comfort zone – have you looked at your product or service from all angles…or are you stuck on a linear path of “this is what we do”?  That’s where segmentation can be a valuable tool.    There may be occasions where, unbeknownst to you, your product is a great (and lucrative) fit for consumers  — something that would be nearly impossible to detect by simply focusing on the demographics of your market.

Become essential – how can you make your market’s lives so much easier or enjoyable that being without you is not an option?  This is where uncovering the market’s unmet needs is invaluable.  Immersing yourself in their daily lives and discovering the ‘gaps’ provides the perfect opportunity to create a solution that becomes a necessity.  (i.e. Do you remember life before cell phones and email? Many of us wonder how we ever communicated or got things done!)

These techniques are versatile.  They can be applied to products or services — consumer or B2B – across industries.

Try one or try them all.

Just remember that market growth isn’t about luck.  It’s about being in the right place, at the right time, with the right product or service.  These four approaches can help build the strategy to get you there.

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