Why Research Matters in B2B Customer Development

For any of the markets your startup will explore, you’ll need to do enough preliminary research to 1) figure out whether the opportunity is worth pursuing and 2) be able to have engaging discussions with the people working in the industry.

Your objective is to avoid one of these quick dismissals when contacting prospects:

  • This has never been a problem for us (problem is too specific).
  • We don’t need to do that (company doesn’t fit the identified process or doesn’t exist).
  • You don’t know ABC Inc.? They do just that (comparatives and competitive landscape not understood).
  • With the current freeze on expenditures, we don’t have the budget for new technology (timing and company reality not understood).

These dismissals are the signs of insufficient research, or that the problem you’re trying to address doesn’t exist.

With LinkedIn, Twitter, industry-specific databases and analysts at your disposal, doing a minimum of research on a prospect’s market is expected.

Markets can be understood from the outside in three ways:

  1. Reading up on secondary research (e.g., surveys, reports, etc.)
  2. Understanding the competitive landscape (who does what)
  3. Meeting with third-party analysts (Venture Capitalists and industry analysts )

Do your research or you might never get a chance to truly validate (or in-validate) the market you’re exploring. You need to get through the door first if you are to succeed.

⚡⚡ Enjoyed this content? I go into way more detail on this subject in Lean B2B. It covers the ins and outs of finding traction in the market for B2B products. Check it out »

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