For example, if you run an A/B test on your website to see if a new pricing tier would bring in more business, you’d also want to interview several customers about whether the new pricing tier would appeal to them and why or why not. Yes, the “why” is something you can’t get from quantitative data, but sometimes the “why” is the linchpin to solving your biggest marketing problems. It’s not enough to know that someone took a specific action (or didn’t), you need to know why.
To get the right qualitative data and find the underlying “why”, you must ask the right questions. Keep your questions unbiased and direct—and never suggest a particular answer.
For example, instead of saying, “You think we should add in a higher pricing tier with additional services, right?” consider framing the question like this: “How would you feel if we added a higher-priced tear with additional services?” The first question leaves the interviewee with a simple yes or no option, while leading them to answer with a “yes”, whereas the second version of the question allows them to express their feelings openly.
But don’t make all of your questions open-ended, lest your interviewees feel overwhelmed. Ask both open-ended questions and closed, yes-or-no questions, plus multiple-choice questions to get a depth of answers.
Use Personas as a Resource
Helping your buyer personas move through the Buyer’s Journey more efficiently is one of the major goals of solving any marketing research problem, which is why collecting data on your personas is vital to your process.
In addition to surveying and interviewing your actual customers, which we discussed earlier, consider interviewing your sales team, because they’re most intimately involved with the leads who convert into customers. They know your customers inside and out and can pinpoint specifics about your personas that the marketing team may be in the dark about. Some questions to ask include:
- What is the most common question that customers ask during negotiations?
- Is there a particular product or service that is misunderstood or needs frequent explanation? If so, which one?
- Who is the toughest competitor that you come up against in sales? What are they doing well?
- On a scale of one to 10, how advanced in the subject matter would you say most prospects you speak to are?
- What type of content would help you close another sale in the next month? Why would this help?
Some additional passive techniques you can use to gain even more information on your marketing research problem include:
- Posting questions online to your followers who meet persona criteria
- Job listings
- Social listening on sites such as Quora or LinkedIn
- Industry blogs and publications
Don’t Forget the Quantitative Data
With all of the qualitative data you’ll have in hand, we don’t want you to forget about the quantitative data! The hard numbers matter and can support your qualitative data in big ways.
Be sure to pull data on the following:
- Current website performance
- Channels with the highest ROI
- Lead conversion rates
- Conversion drop-off rates and location in the buying cycle
- Health of your contact database
When pulling data on the health of your database, look for the following metrics:
- Percent of contacts in each lifecycle stage
- Rate of decay at each lifecycle stage
- Percent of contacts for each persona
- Click-through rates (CTR)
- Conversion rates
- Time spent on page
Now that you have data flowing in, it’s time to analyze and report on what you’ve found.
Marketing Research Pro Tip:
Using Marketing and Sales Technology to Track and Report for Continuous Improvement
Lest you get stuck focusing on specific metrics or assumed patterns, we present the first rule of the marketing research process: Always focus on the trends and patterns actually present in the data and research.
It’s easy to get caught up in the wrong things when you’re looking at raw data, which is why we recommend analyzing and reporting on your research findings in dynamic, visual ways with HubSpot, Marketo, and Databox.
With HubSpot, you can view data graphically in dynamic charts and examine reports quickly and easily on a dashboard interface. If you need the raw data, it’s there, but HubSpot’s interface makes it easy to see persona trends, conversion rates, and source reports.
If you’re asking yourself which persona buckets most of your clients fall into or how long it took for a contact to convert into a customer or which of your personas are of higher value, HubSpot can help you unveil some powerful reports.
For example, you might be creating tons of content and running campaigns to reach Practical Pete, but the data may actually point to Living Dangerously Dave as the bucket that most of your customers fit into. You might be pouring ad spend into reaching SaaS Manager Steve because you think he’s converting quickly, but your marketing research may actually show that CTO CeeCee is not only converting at breakneck speed but is also a higher value customer.
Additionally, with HubSpot reporting, you can take a deep dive into conversion rates and traffic sources to benchmark how customers transition from contacts to leads to MQLs to SQLs and, eventually, to customers. Having a view into these insights is important for understanding how your customers are flowing through the buying process so you can modify the process to better serve future customers and delight your current customers. Knowing where your customers are coming from also means you can direct your ad spend in the most effective direction to maximize your ROI.
Like HubSpot, Marketo can help you turn data into deep understanding and insight with its Revenue Cycle Explorer/Revenue Cycle Analyzer (RCE/RCA) tool, which lets you pull opportunity reports, email metrics reports, and much more, including:
- Campaign Activity Report
- Campaign Email Performance Report
- Company Web Activity Report
- People Performance Report
- People by Status Report
- Report Type Overview
- Web Page Activity Report
The goal of digging into all of these marketing reports, of course, is to understand how your personas are engaging with your content so you can provide them with more intentional and conversion-driven opportunities.
Instead of pulling and crunching numbers from dozens of different sources, Databox is your one-stop shop for data analysis across multiple sources. For example, if you want to pinpoint the overall cost per acquisition across all of your paid marketing campaigns, you should pull in sources of spend into your Databox dashboard, such as:
- Inbound marketing
- Paid media
- Marketing or other agency
Then, you can compare that total spend against the number of closed customers to find your total cost per acquisition. What may have taken hours to compile across dozens of apps or sources—or even departments—happens in seconds on Databox’s visual, dynamic dashboard.