Jun 17, 2024 | 5 min read

The importance of B2B market research

When it comes to B2B (or business-to-business) marketing, it’s important to get your ducks in a row before investing limited resources in advertising and marketing campaigns. In particular, consider what businesses need your products or services. Who are the B2B buyers and decision-makers at each company? How and when do they identify needs, investigate solutions and make purchases?

Ultimately, you need to find out who your target audience is, as well as where to connect with them and how to convince them your product or service has superior value.

With effective B2B market research, this is all possible. Marketing research can level up your overall marketing plan, acting as a powerful B2B growth strategy for firms of all sizes.

Understanding your market

B2B market research results in useful intelligence that improves your bottom line. The information you capture about and from current and potential customers can illuminate:

  • Target market demographics, pain points and buying behavior
  • Brand awareness and perception
  • The buyer’s journey—how they get from awareness to completed sale
  • Product fit, performance, and flaws
  • Customer service, support, and training needs
  • Sales and marketing strategies based on current and rising market trends

From these research findings, you’ll locate opportunities and gaps in your product offerings, customer touchpoints, and marketing mix that can be transformed into actionable insights for your overall marketing strategy.

Target market

You don’t have the time or need for one-on-one interviews with every current and potential customer under the sun, but you do need a solid grasp of who they are as a group. Determining the specific groups of B2B customers you are targeting is known as B2B market segmentation

You can collect B2B market research by observing, sampling and listening to determine:

  • Common customer needs, thoughts, beliefs, preferences and motivations
  • Where and how they gather digitally and offline
  • What characteristics they have in common or how they cluster demographically
  • Responsiveness to types of content, devices, messages, marketing modalities, etc.

While there’s a lot of common ground across marketing, selling to businesses vs. consumers takes a few more steps. In addition to understanding your potential customers’ motivations, preferences and behaviors, you need to know who within a company:

  • Is a hands-on user of your product
  • Influences sales by researching or recommending products
  • Has final decision-making power
  • Handles invoicing, training, support and re-buying after a sale

Qualitative vs quantitative research

Data collection breaks down into two different types:

  • Qualitative Research – Research at the anecdotal level that often explores individual stories, such as individual interviews, case studies, one-off customer feedback and focus group responses.
  • Quantitative Research – Statistically based research that focuses on analyzing a set of data at a quantitative level that can provide an objective stance (i.e. 20% of customers prefer…). Sources of data include market research surveys, publicly available information and customer records. Analyze this data for trends, correlations and observations related to buying behavior, product use, retention, marketing response and more.

Ultimately, you should choose a mix of qualitative and quantitative B2B market research that works for your budget and business scope.

Another critical source of quantitative data is the valuable insights served at dashboards. In fact, social media data like this is prized beyond its use in steering campaign spending, with 95% of business executives prioritizing it as “imperative” to strategic decisions beyond marketing in a 2023 survey (compared to a scant 19% in a 2017 survey).,

Competitor analysis in B2B

In addition to knowing your customer pool, it’s also critical to get to know your competition. To that end, conduct competitor analysis with these steps:

  1. List and group your established competitors
  2. Sign up for newsletters, buy a product or download a whitepaper to get on their lists
  3. Study their web pages, social accounts, reviews, content and marketing campaigns
  4. Note strategy, key messages, product prices and promotion and discount offerings
  5. Create a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis of each

Predicting and adapting to industry trends

B2B market research isn’t just about getting cozy with your target audience. It also helps you prepare for the future concerns and needs of your B2B clients. Anything from potential legislation that touches on their business practices to how they anticipate using AI could help you steer your messaging, product development and retention strategies.

Consider adding these steps to your market research plan:

  • Include survey questions about predictions, preparation and concerns for the future
  • Track relevant professional associations and news sources for regulatory changes
  • Test potential products and solutions that help your customers manage such changes

Becoming a market researcher may seem like an overwhelming task, but the data garnered from these strategies can help you make informed decisions that drive sales and lead to lasting customer satisfaction. Make research results a center point of strategic planning that involves leadership as well as front-line workers, and consider how to leverage it in day-to-day practices, new launches, and major campaigns.

How Nextdoor can help

Knowing your market helps you find and speak to potential customers effectively, and social media marketing is one of the most valuable B2B marketing strategies to do so.

With Nextdoor, you can connect to your customers geographically, down to the micro-neighborhood, in addition to capturing them at demographic and interest levels. Plus, Nextdoor Ads Manager can help build awareness of your brand and offer tailored deals to the professionals who use and make purchasing decisions about your services.

Even better? The Nextdoor Ads Manager is a comprehensive dashboard that helps you make sense of sophisticated data tracking on your campaigns, so you can invest in exactly what builds your business.

To see success in action, check out how Bill Evans of Clayton, North Carolina’s Flowing Current Electric used a low-maintenance Nextdoor Ads campaign to grow the business exponentially, or how the team at Joe Hall Roofing relies on Nextdoor local targeting and trusted recommendations to drive word-of-mouth leads.

Check out our site for more insights and guidance for your small business, then set up your Nextdoor account today.


  1. Sprout Social. 5 overlooked B2B market research methods for understanding your customers. https://sproutsocial.com/insights/b2b-market-research/
  2. Finances Online. 81 Relevant B2B Statistics: 2024 Market Share Analysis & Data. https://financesonline.com/b2b-statistics/
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