We introduced the concept of designing a customer decision journey driven sales and marketing framework in a previous post. In this post we discuss phase one of designing the sales and marketing framework, the research phase.
We start the design process by collecting information about who our clients customers are, what our clients customers are doing and why they are doing it. This requires both quantitative and qualitative research. Quantitative data are numerical and are useful for finding patterns in what customers are doing, qualitative data are descriptive and are useful for understanding why customers do what they do.
Who - Customer Segmentation
Before we start we separate the customer base into segments. We use these segments to guide our exploration as we conduct further research. Patterns in behaviors or attitudes are often obscured when we view the customer base as a whole but may become obvious when we viewed for a specific segment.
We base segments on demographics such as:
- Company size
- Acquisition source
and on behavioral characteristics like:
- Complexity of the buying process
- Structure of the buying team
- Channel preferences
- Information consumption habits
- Goals and motivations
We use these segments to help focus the research we are about to do. These segments are fluid tools. We can make ajustments as the research shows our assumptions are incorrect or need refinement.
What - Quantitative Research
Our clients already have significant amounts of information about their customers behaviors. We start the design process by tapping into this knowledge. Sources of data can include:
- Website analytics
- Pipeline metrics
- Marketing campaign metrics
- CRM Data
- Public data (census, municipal databases, etc.)
- Data from social networks
It is key to remember we are not looking for cause and effect or interpreting the data. We are gathering data so we can look for patterns in behaviors. When patterns begin to surface we use qualitative research to explore the factors driving those behaviors.
Understand why people do things requires spending time side by side. We watch what people do and ask questions to understand why they do what they do. Whenever possible we conduct research with the customer while they are in the process of purchasing or using the product or service.
Additional sources of information can include:
- Online forums
- Social networks
- CRM/customer service notes
- Diary’s (personal or guided)
We capture qualitative data in the form of notes, pictures, audio and video recordings and storyboards.
At the end of the research phase we have gathered a massive amount of information. In order to make sense of the information we need to present it to a cross-section of the company so they can help find the insights that drive new products, services and ways of approaching sales and marketing frameworks. This is the work we do in the analysis phase.