The essence of a brand lives within the heart and mind of every customer. As strategic B2B marketing professionals, it is imperative to understand what makes each customer tick to ensure that your key targets receive personalized content when and where they are looking for it.
Surveys, focus groups and research help to gather insights into your customer’s habits, but personal interviews with customers deliver some of the most powerful and relevant data.
When conducting customer profiling interviews, it is important to interview recently won and recently lost customers, as both provide a unique perspective into why a customer chose your product, service or solution over a competitor's, and vice versa.
Here are four tips to getting the most out of a customer interview:
- Don’t go into the interview with a set of questions, although it doesn’t hurt to have a few fallback questions in your back pocket. Instead, ask customers to take you back to the first day that they realized they had a problem and needed to find a solution.
- Have customers take you along their journey of discovery, and continue to ask questions that reveal their path from day one through their post-sale experience.
- If customers fast-forward to the solution too quickly, ask them to take you back to key moments along their journey, so you can identify where they went to look for resources, what types of resources interested them and who they went to for advice (both within their organization and externally).
- Talk to internal stakeholders such as sales representatives, product managers and marketing managers, as they can provide valuable insight into the customer experience. Their feedback, in addition to data gathered directly from your customer base, will help ensure that your marketing strategies map to your business goals.