When people hear the word research, they run the other way, or their eyes glaze over. It brings visions of long questionnaires, massive data tables, and convoluted interpretations that are not helpful to managers and sales professionals. Research need not be complicated but it is important.
Perhaps a better word is feedback. Surveys are helpful but their feedback can be limited. They can be leading because they ask specific questions. Asking open-ended questions can help draw out more meaningful feedback. However, the most effective way to get relevant feedback is by talking to people – customers, prospects, employees, vendors – anyone and everyone who is part of your business.
The value of feedback - positive and negative - is what bubbles up to the top. Patterns may emerge, or you may discover that your customers’ perceptions differ from how your company sees itself. Any type of feedback has the potential of benefiting various aspects of your business - customer service, sales, marketing, operations, etc.
What’s important for marketing is to understand the perceptions about your business. Positive feedback tells you what people like about your products, or services, or your company. Use these nuggets in your sales approach, and marketing messaging, and share them wherever you can. This is also an opportunity to hone your unique value proposition. Apply it to a more granular level for a more targeted approach. When clients in a particular industry like you for certain reasons, relay that message when speaking with others in the same industry. Test different messages with different markets and see what resonates.
Be critical of the messaging you are putting out there. Negative perceptions may be a function of poor communication or mixed messages.
Feedback delivers improved focus for everyone. It identifies what you should be working toward, aligns managers and employees toward the same goals. You’ll likely discover valued aspects of your business that you weren't aware of. From unknown strengths to hidden threats, uncovering this information will help you move forward.
Now go out and talk to people.
Do you need help gathering and applying feedback about your business? Give us a call.