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An in-depth guide to B2B customer insights

Just like throwing darts, it can be hard for your business-to-business (B2B) product, sales, and marketing teams to deeply understand customers and hit your targets each month. You need to leverage insights that specifically relate to your industry to hit a bullseye—instead of relying on guesswork or assumptions based on other business models. 

But what are B2B customer insights, how do you collect them, and how do they help you reach your user and business goals? 

Last updated

12 Oct 2022

Use this guide to uncover and understand the B2B customer insights unique to your market. We’ll show you how these insights help you make customer-backed decisions with real impact to improve your product experience (PX) and grow your business. 

Get actionable B2B customer insights to improve your product

Hotjar's tools give you deep insights, so you can delight your B2B customers time and time again.

What are B2B customer insights? 

B2B customer insights are market-based discoveries centered on understanding customer behavior, experiences, and needs. The goal of collecting B2B customer insights is to generate new, actionable knowledge that can inform and improve your product development, marketing strategy, and sales initiatives.

While customer analytics involves measuring what customers do with your product, customer insights tell you how they think and feel about your product

B2B customer insights involve a mix of data sources, including:

  • Market research

  • Early product reviews 

  • Voice-of-the-customer (VoC) data

  • Social listening 

  • Internal marketing, sales, and leadership insights 

When combined with customer analytics, these insights help you better predict user needs and improve their experience

How are B2B customer insights different from B2C customer insights? 

B2B customer insights involve understanding the trends, behavior, and desires of your target market as well as their decision-making process. B2C customer insights are more focused on understanding individual customers, including their experience, search journey, and purchasing behavior. 

For example, if you’re an ecommerce store that sells running shoes, your B2C customer insights strategy and best practices will center around your ideal customers’ running experience. You might collect website data, competitor reviews, and purchasing history to better understand your user's needs.

On the other hand, if you run a payment processing business that sells to other companies, your B2B customer insights will focus on how your product can save your customers time and money. So by leveraging market trends and surveys, for example, you can find out your customers’ business-specific goals and what they expect from a payment processing product.

5 types of B2B customer insights and how to collect them

Below, we take a look at five B2B customer insights you can use to create more personalized customer-centric experiences and inform your B2B customer insights strategy. Use these insights to spot any points of friction in your product and better cater to your target market’s needs. 

Remember: don’t assume a B2B customer insight necessarily aligns with your target audience. You need to understand your ideal customer profile (ICP) to build a catalog of insights tailored specifically to them. 

1. Market research insights 

Conducting B2B market research helps you dive deeper into the niche you’re selling to and stay ahead of market fluctuations or new developments, so you can create products that deliver true value to your users and help them accomplish their jobs to be done (JTBD).

Market research insights focus on understanding the needs of business-related decision-makers and customers by looking at internal and external customer data and trends. This includes a mix of quantitative and qualitative data and can involve a range of sources, from focus groups to government statistics. 

Combine your own primary research with existing research to better understand your ideal customer persona, your competition, and your customers’ buying patterns.  

So, how do you collect market research insights? 

  • Visualize potential target markets using census data with tools like Census Bureau. Filter by income, year, age, and location to find out if you're targeting a saturated market and identify high-demand areas in your industry. 

  • Understand market demand with tools like Think With Google to determine if anyone’s searching for your product and how likely it is to succeed. Use your insights to determine which markets you should launch your product in or see trends in retail categories.

  • Find industry-specific data with tools like Statista or the Pew Research Center. For example, if you’re launching a new video conferencing app, Statista shows you how many hours people spend in virtual meetings and if your product is relevant to customer behavior. 

  • Host focus groups to hear what customers think about your product in a personalized setting. Getting insights from more focused and intimate conversations helps you build better customer relationships and form hypotheses about product success. 

  • Administer product-market fit surveys and ask your target customers about their experience using your product. See how well your product performs compared to competitors and identify ways to improve.

#Hotjar's product-market fit surveys help you understand if your product stacks up against market needs. Source: Hotjar
Hotjar's product-market fit surveys help you understand if your product stacks up against market needs. Source: Hotjar

2. Early product review insights 

Gathering data and feedback based on soft product releases or your minimum viable product (MVP) helps you gauge your product’s ability to meet customer needs before you fully launch

These insights can draw your attention to product bugs, glitches, or issues in the user interface (UI) and UX design, so you can make customer-backed decisions and brilliantly prioritize product improvements without negatively impacting revenue or adoption after roll-out. 

And since B2B customers typically need more convincing than B2C customers, you need to find more granular approaches to collecting customer insights, especially during the early stages of product development. 

Here’s how to collect insights from early product reviews: 

  • Select your sample audience: randomly select users from various segments—like early product adopters or active customers—for less biased feedback and clean data

  • Have users test your product within a given trial period. Then, watch Hotjar (hi there, that's us👋) Recordings of user sessions to witness firsthand what product elements or features attract customers, or what blocks them from gaining value

Use customer feedback to drive important product changes based on market-specific needs. If you’re using Hotjar Feedback tools, you can place unobtrusive feedback widgets throughout your product's B2B customer journey—and understand customer opinions about specific features in context.

#Hotjar's Feedback widget gives you access to important customer sentiments as they explore. Source: Hotjar
Hotjar's Feedback widget gives you access to important customer sentiments as they explore. Source: Hotjar

3. Voice-of-the-customer (VoC) data  

Voice-of-the-customer (VoC) data gives you direct insights into B2B customer opinions, preferences, behavior, and struggles.

Collecting customer input and ideas about your product experience (PX) from a variety of sources—like surveys, interviews, or reviews—lets you:

  • Proactively spot and anticipate customer needs and problems

  • Directly address customer pain points 

  • Build accurate product development roadmaps 

Gather and analyze VoC data to empathize with your ideal B2B customers and close any gaps between your perceived product value and customer needs. Here’s how: 

  • Administer customer experience surveys and ask your customers about their user experience (UX) with your product. Collect data from a wide variety of businesses and see what customers like or dislike about your product, brand, or specific product features—and optimize accordingly. 

  • Leverage customer reviews: read customer reviews on websites like Capterra, G2, TrustPilot, and Google for unsolicited feedback from B2B customers about your products and services. See what customers really think about your product to learn what you can do better

  • Ask for feedback: place feedback forms or pop-ups throughout key touchpoints in the customer journey for visibility into the product and user experience. Ask your users to rate their experience and provide a reason for their score for targeted customer experience analysis

  • Conduct interviews and focus groups: ask detailed and probing questions to get to the heart of what different groups of B2B customers think and feel. Focus groups are especially useful for gauging customer sentiments on new product releases or services. 

  • Get your Net Promoter Score®: create NPS surveys asking B2B customers how likely they are on a scale of 1-10 to recommend your product to a friend or colleague. Use your score to identify areas where you can offer your customers more value.

🔥Pro tip: use Hotjar Surveys to dig deep into your B2B customer experience. Gauge customer satisfaction with CSAT surveys and customer loyalty with NPS surveys. Then, use your insights to better align your product with customer desires.

Hotjar Surveys help you spot any issues in your B2B customer experience.

4. Social listening insights 

Monitoring social media platforms reveals more informal discussions or thoughts about your product or brand—especially when your customers aren’t speaking directly to you. Social listening gives you access to honest, unfiltered B2B customer feedback by tracking mentions of your brand or product online

Observe what people say online, and how they say it, to understand what businesses love about your product, why it’s trending, or what doesn’t make sense to them

Here’s how to use social listening to generate B2B customer insights: 

  • Build more complex user personas: tools like Woopra and Brand24 help you build more robust customer profiles by combining social media profiles with hashtag use and website traffic

  • Track social media mentions with tools like Hootsuite to pinpoint your ideal customers and identify any issues in their experience. Monitor mentions of your brand, product, or competitors to act fast when you see any market opportunities or threats.  

  • Leverage online forums and communities like Reddit and Quora. Use social listening tools like Brandwatch for unvarnished insights from customers from more niche communities. 

5. Internal marketing, sales, and leadership insights 

For more holistic B2B customer insights, and to prevent data silos, align business metrics and activities across the board to identify ways to improve the customer experience

Helping cross-functional teams access, share, and analyze key customer data fosters collaboration on customer needs and wants, revealing important patterns or insights that benefit your whole organization. 

Your sales, customer support, marketing, and product teams all have crucial interactions and experiences with customers. So, why not use your own B2B encounters to form insights that help your customers achieve their goals? 

How to collect internal business insights: 

  • Implement a customer analytics strategy that promotes cross-departmental collaboration and knowledge sharing

  • Create a unified customer journey map that accurately shows the main touchpoints in the user journey. Use it to identify customer pain points, behavior, and most-used channels. For example, your sales teams can use an updated customer journey map to spot new ways to reach businesses during their buying journey. 

  • Use a shared CRM platform for insights into purchasing behavior, customer interactions, and history—and to forecast sales. 

  • Use the same reporting tools for company-wide data visualization. Hotjar integrations with tools like Omniconvert, HubSpot, and Segment can help keep teams on the same page. 

  • Keep your insights in one place with the Hotjar Dashboard. View key user insights, actions, and metrics to monitor customer reactions to product changes and updates. For example, after noticing a low overall sentiment score for your new homepage, your marketing team can work with developers to find a solution. 

#Hotjar's Dashboard helps cross-departmental teams see key customer insights. Source: Hotjar
Hotjar's Dashboard helps cross-departmental teams see key customer insights. Source: Hotjar

Build better products and reach your goals with B2B customer insights

B2B customer insights give context to market trends and help you understand what’s influencing business decision-makers. 

When you know how to meet the needs of your target market, you’ll be able to make informed decisions so your customers get the most out of your product or service. 

Get actionable B2B customer insights to improve your product

Hotjar tools give you a deeper understanding of your insights, so you can delight your B2B customers time and time again.

FAQs about B2B customer insights