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5 key questions to ask in buyer research

3 min read
A buyer research survey is only as useful as the questions you ask – so what are the most important points to cover when you’re building out buyer personas?

1. What drives purchase decisions?

Start out with success: which drivers prompt your existing customers to choose you over your competition (or vice versa)?

Explore the complete customer experience, including checkout or invoicing process, interactions with staff, marketing touchpoints and brand perception, as well as the features of the product or service itself to discover where you stand out above the competition.

2. What’s getting in the way?

No matter how smooth and carefully designed your customer experience, there’s always a chance that something is throwing up a barrier to purchase. Are there shortcomings in your product? Are your marketing materials failing to set the right expectations, or is the price simply not right?

Sometimes customers will be put off by a problem you have since solved, or they will have the perception of a lack of ease based on incorrect information. This type of insight is valuable as it allows you to actively correct the misconception before it causes problems.

Then there are the barriers on the customer’s side. Are they struggling with buy-in from senior management, or loyalty to legacy systems and products? With insights from buyer research, you can support them in overcoming these issues.

3. What’s the customer’s journey from awareness to consideration to purchase?

The buyer journey can vary widely across your customer base, so surveying a range of customers can help you understand what proportion come in via marketing, which have been recommended by existing customers, and which you’ve recruited through sales approaches. In turn, this knowledge can inform your investment in these different channels.

4. What are the decision-making factors?

When your customer is weighing up their options, what factors come to mind? Price is an obvious one, but also explore factors like the perception of reliability, customer satisfaction or review ratings among existing customers, the level of support available and whether the customer feels the offering could grow along with their business. These questions should be explored for you and your competitors alike.

5. What role do you play?

Are your customers those looking for a solution to an existing challenge, or are they exploring new ideas for future-proofing their own business? Do they see you as a reliable player or an innovative outlier?

How they perceive you and the kind of partnership they feel you could offer might line up with what you already know, or it might surprise you – and even prompt diversification within your own business.

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