If you’ve ever seen an episode of Shark Tank, you probably know that one of the main reasons businesses walk away empty handed is because the investors don’t see any market need. In fact, research has shown that a lack of market need is the top reason that startups fail. It’s as simple as this: if a customer needs your product, they will buy your product. This goes for all businesses – whether you’re a B2B tech company, a mom-and-pop retailer, an industrial manufacturer, or beyond.
So, how do you determine need? You take a look at the problem.
This is where customer pain points come in. In the simplest terms, customer pain points are specific problems your target customer is experiencing. This can be related to your sales funnel, other products, or life in general. Pain points can help you determine if there’s an actual need for your product. For example, are you solving customer problems or creating problems that didn’t previously exist? In the same way, identifying pain points can also help you break down the barriers that prevent leads from becoming conversions. After all, you can’t effectively market to someone if you don’t know their needs.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to identify your B2B customer’s pain points, so you can implement solutions with a real ROI.
The Four Types Of Pain Points
Customer pain points can sometimes be elusive. Your target customer might not even know there’s something wrong. It’s your job to find that issue, help them realize it’s a problem, and convince them that your product is the solution. If that sounds like a lot, it’s because it is. Thankfully, while B2B customer pain points can be extremely broad, most fall into four major categories. These include:
- Financial Pain Points: Somewhere along the line, your customer is either confused with a pricing structure or spending too much money. It could be for a competitor’s product or service or your own product or service. With this, there’s either a mental barrier (think: the reason why $99.99 feels much less expensive than $100), a perceived lack of value or a genuine lack of resources.
- Productivity Pain Points: Somewhere along the line, your customer is wasting time. This could be because a competitor’s product or service is inefficient, because your product or service is inefficient, or because they’re simply lacking an overall solution.
- Process Pain Points: Your customer is getting tripped up within their business processes. Within the sales funnel, this could look like an inability to effectively assign sales reps to leads or find high-quality leads in the first place.
- Support Pain Points: Your target customer is lacking support somewhere in their customer journey. This could be as simple as a slow checkout process, causing them to abandon their cart or lack customer support once they’ve converted.
After understanding these categories, you can start to look at how your B2B business fits into the big picture and what you need to do to best serve your target consumer. Although those categories are broad, you still need to identify your customer’s specific pain points. The following steps can help.
Conduct Customer Research
One of the best ways to figure out customer pain points is to go right to the source: ask your customer. This can be done in several ways, but some of the most common are:
- Incentivizing customers to fill out a survey (perhaps for a discount or entry in a raffle).
- Holding a focus group
- Hosting an interactive webinar that encourages customer participation
The most effective methods tend to present a relaxed, open environment where customers can talk about what’s really affecting them. A survey is a great first step, but that generally only brushes the surface.
Consult Your Sales Reps
No one knows what’s stopping leads from becoming conversions better than the people nurturing those leads. This is why it’s important to gather information from your sales team. They’re the ones walking customers through your sales funnel, and they’ll have intimate knowledge about the questions your customers are asking, the hesitations they have, and how they’re using your products.
When doing this, remember to differentiate between your sales team’s pain points and your customer’s pain points. Something that annoys a sales rep, while important, is a separate issue that may not affect a customer.
Read the Online Reviews
Do you know the one place where customers absolutely love to rant about their biggest pain points? Online reviews. Take note of who your competitors are and the products your target customer uses, then comb through the online reviews. In certain B2B niches, there may even be online forums that give a little insight into the day-to-day problems your target consumer experiences.
The fact is that people love to rant online. It’s the perfect place to air grievances, so use that to your advantage. Just make sure the reviews are actual reviews. Some companies pay for fake positive reviews, but you can usually tell if a review is real by checking out a customer’s profile.
Run a Competitive Analysis
Understanding how your competitors interact with your target customers can help you identify pain points—within their business and your own. In fact, you may find out that another company has caused a problem that your company can solve, but you can also learn from their successes, too. When you’re doing a competitive analysis, keep an especially keen eye on your competitor’s marketing message, since that’s usually where they’ll talk about the customer pain points they’re trying to solve. It’s also helpful to look around at their pricing, features, and FAQ section.
No one said identifying pain points was easy, and the truth is that sometimes it’s a matter of trial and error. As your company grows, you’ll be able to identify more and more places where your customers are struggling. Keeping pain points in mind is just the first step to a solutions-based marketing and sales model that can help your B2B company thrive.