Talking to your target audience is crucial. Find out how to gain a competitive advantage by having conversations with your customers.

When was the last time you had an exploratory conversation with your customers? Do you know what currently matters to them?

One of the most important things you can do to put your B2B startup ahead of the competition is talk to your target market. Without purposeful, in-depth conversations, you’re missing out on information that will give your business a major competitive advantage.

If you aren’t having plenty of these conversations, you’re not learning enough about your customers.

Why Conversations Are a Powerful Tool to Gather Customer Data

Customer data gives you a powerful tool to confirm or correct your intuition about the goals, needs, and interests of your buyers. Where are they directing resources? How are they trying to solve their business problems? Quantitative data will never give you the full picture. Conversations with your customers — qualitative data — help you unlock crucial insights that even the most robust data-driven models may miss. This initial qualitative research typically requires fewer resources than quantitative investigations and yields information about your target market that can drive informed business decisions and future research. 

By talking with your customers, you learn about their concerns, challenges, and goals. You can use this information to improve your existing solutions or even access a new entry point into your market. Your customers’ best path to growth could be completely different from what you intuited before doing this research — your customers may have just discovered a new problem or solution themselves! 

How to Make Your Customer Conversations Effective

Interviewing customers is a critical skill you can develop. Asking the right questions and having context for the answers will maximize the quality of information you gather. Try using these communication tips to get the most out of each conversation.

  • Listen to your customer’s tone of voice. Reading a speaker’s tone can yield enormous amounts of information, sometimes even more than the words themselves. Studies suggest tone can account for 38 percent of the message in a conversation. The words used often only account for about seven percent.
  • Practice active listening. This means you consciously focus on what the person is saying instead of letting your thoughts wander or thinking about your response.
  • Be human. Your conversations don’t have to focus exclusively on business. Make an effort to get to know people by learning about their life outside of work. This will also help build comfort and trust, enabling deeper professional conversations.

Talk to your customers. Be deliberate about building your communication skills. You’ll reap incredible rewards from your efforts. To learn more about taking strategic steps to empower growth, tell us a little bit about your company by filling our our Growth Acceleration Starting Grid.