How to Use Surveys to Reach B2B Business Goals

As a marketer, you must have a clear understanding of your audience’s needs and interests to remain current, improve customer experience, and ultimately grow your business. Unfortunately, many businesses are working with an outdated or surface-level view of their customers.

But, we have a simple fix—surveys! Whether you realize it or not, marketers can use surveys to reach important business goals. Ready to learn more? Let’s get started!

1.    Surveys help marketers understand their target audience.

Surveys can reveal important details about your target audience. If you ask the right questions, you can then use customer response data to inform your most critical marketing activities. Let’s look at some examples:

Surveys for better buyer personas:

To create accurate buyer personas you must gather demographic, technographic, and firmographic data to better understand why customers make purchase decisions. Get as specific as possible to create realistic and accurate buyer personas. To do this, we recommend you ask questions that dig into customer pain points, goals, interests, values, and preferences. Example questions include:

Surveys to support list segmentation:

The most successful email marketing programs depend on highly targeted email lists. Lists are often separated by demographic,  geographic, technographic, or behavioral data. But, the unfortunate reality is, you may not have every data point you need for optimal email segmentation. Fill in the gaps by asking survey questions, such as:

Improve personalized marketing efforts:

In any given day, a person sees hundreds of branded messages. Personalization cuts through the information overload and provides customers with content they find personally relevant and interesting. As customers demand more personalized marketing experiences, it’s important to capture the data you need to customize services, content, and communications for each customer’s preferences. Otherwise, you risk losing customers to competitors who get personalization right. Improve personalization efforts by asking customers survey questions, such as:

Now, you can’t ask just any customer these questions and expect to see results. Instead, target this type of survey to only your most loyal, top-spending customers. Here’s why: Your best customers will provide you with the information most relevant to them—allowing you to scale your efforts and duplicate your success with similar audiences.

We recommend you distribute this type of survey on a channel or platform frequented by your customers. Think customer newsletters, product log in pages, customer-specific email sends. Be sure to ask questions that help you gauge each customers value—like how much have you spent on our products? Would you recommend our products to your colleagues? And, how many years have you been a customer? This will help you weed out less valuable customers.

2.    Surveys can help you gather product feedback.

Detailed product feedback can provide valuable insights as you update products and create new ones. The more feedback you collect, the more confident you can be that your newest products and features are exactly what the customer wants.

Luckily, it’s not hard to get product feedback from customers. In fact, a recent study shows 74% of consumers are either likely or very likely to respond to a brand’s request for specific product feedback (source).

Let’s explore some specific business applications that can benefit from this type of feedback:

New product development:

Be proactive and test new products out with current customers. Then gauge their reaction and make changes based on the information you collect. Here are some questions to get you started:

Usability testing:

Usability is a major factor in the success of a product. Think about it: If users get stuck trying to perform a simple task, they will get frustrated quickly and abandon it altogether. For this reason, you must collect customer feedback to measure how user-friendly your product is. Find this information through survey questions, such as:

Product or feature improvement:

It’s a simple formula: The better your product works, the happier your customers will be. Rather than blindly changing features, gather feedback from real customers. Then find common complaints and suggestions in survey feedback to determine which product features to keep, remove, or tweak. But first, get this information by asking questions, like:

This particular type of survey should be geared toward customers who have purchased the specific product in question. Be sure to target customers who have been successful with a product and those who have had trouble with it. This will provide a range of data to uncover common frustrations or suggestions you may otherwise miss from surveying only one segment of your customer base.

Similar to our first point, these surveys should be placed or distributed through channels frequented by all types of customers.

3.    Use surveys to scale event attendance.

Fact: 36% of event marketers say their biggest challenge is increasing event registration (source). But, you can uncover valuable insights to drive attendance rates by conducting surveys before, during, and after professional events. Gathering feedback is a useful practice for any type of event, whether it’s an in-person conference, webinar, live stream, or social media chat. Here’s how this works:

Pre-event:

Use feedback from pre-event survey questions to inform your promotional efforts and tweak your upcoming event to fit attendee preferences. Example questions include:

To get the most out of this type of survey, set up an automated email to send all attendees the pre-event survey as soon as they complete their registration.

Day of:

Ask questions during an event to break the ice, keep attendees engaged, and gather in-the-moment feedback to tailor the current event and events to come. Example questions include:

Consider using a live poll, a Twitter hashtag, a dedicated app, or your event website to distribute this type of survey to attendees. For more general questions like the ones provided above, ask during breakfast or lunch break times, as attendees will be looking for something to do. For questions related to sessions, run a poll during event presentations to get real-time feedback on speakers, their presentation style, and subject matter.

Post-event:

Use post-event surveys to make future events even better and in turn, boost attendance rates. Example questions include:

Chances are, parts of your events will be a success, while others might not be so engaging. Collect attendee feedback while it’s still top of mind so you can plan an even better event down the road. To do this, email a follow-up survey to all attendees the day after the event.

It’s also important to reach out to registrants who didn’t make it—to ask them why they didn’t attend. Maybe it was the location, the travel expenses, or a conflict at work. Whatever the reason, these details can tell you if you need to make minor or major changes to future events.

4.    Surveys can help gauge public perception of your brand and company.

Your business is only as good as its perceived value to consumers. In a competitive marketplace, you must understand public perception of your company in order to improve your brand’s reputation and overall brand strategy. So how can businesses gauge public perception? You guessed it—surveys.

There are a number of ways you can use surveys to measure public perception. Let’s explore three examples:

Perception by audience segment:

There may be critical differences between key buyer personas and how they view your brand. Executives at larger companies, for instance, may have a more positive opinion of your brand than leadership at small to mid-size businesses. To understand how a particular audience segment perceives your products or services, ask questions like these:

General brand feel:

How you market your company is one thing. What the people in your industry actually think of your brand or products is another. Surveys can help you find any inconsistencies and improve your reputation. Think about it: What do people within your industry say your company does? Is it positive or negative? Learn the answer to these questions by asking:

Competitive analysis:

Without information about your direct competitors, how can you make your company better than those who sell similar products? The answer—you can’t.  Fortunately, surveys allow marketers to gather valuable market information to use as a benchmark. Sample questions include:

This type of survey should be directed to the general public within the scope of your specific industry. To find people within your industry, work with a contact database or survey provider. Then distribute your survey through email, social media, or have sales reps reach out to customers directly. Be sure to include qualifying questions at the start of the survey to ensure survey accuracy.

5.    Gather content feedback.

Audiences evolve over time. Content that once interested your target customers may now be outdated. And, not all of your customers have the same content preferences– someone early in the buying journey will have different content preferences than a prospect who is ready to make a purchase.

Surveys can reveal important insights into specific content preferences, such as subject matter, tone, and format. Use these insights to create and distribute more engaging content for every stage of the buying journey.

Subject matter:

What does your audience want to read about now? To answer this question, survey your target audience. Sample questions include:

Tone:

The right tone in your content and communications can help you connect with your audience on a human level. Connections build trust. Trust drives sales. For this reason, you must not only determine if your audience likes what you’re saying but how you’re saying it. Ask these questions to gauge tone preferences:

Format:

Formatting is key when it comes to audience engagement—produce content that’s the wrong length or format and your audience will lose interest. Understand what your prospects and customers are most likely to engage with by asking questions like these:

To reach the right audience with this type of survey, reach out to those who subscribe to your mailing list, visit your blog, or buy your products. Ask questions in the form of a multi-question survey or ask one at a time in the sidebar of your business website. Remember to get creative!

For a more in-depth look at how you can use customer data to improve your content strategy, check out the following article: Content Mapping for Marketing Success.

Final Thoughts on Using Customer Surveys to Reach Business Goals

In a competitive landscape, surveys can provide you with the data you need to stay ahead of your competitors. If you’ve never created a survey before, don’t worry! There are plenty of online survey tools available, such as Google Forms and Survey Monkey. Start with one of the available templates and customize it to your liking.

Keep in mind, surveys are just one method to obtain information on your target audience. To find more information on your ideal buyers, speak to a sales rep about ZoomInfo’s people information database today.

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