How to Conduct a Market Research Call

Do you really know why buyers in your target market make the purchasing decisions they do? It’s time to find out by asking them. We’ve outlined the basics of how to conduct a market research call to get the buyer insights you need.

There are a myriad of reasons why your business should conduct buyer insights research. It gives you access to what really matters to your buyers, provides an advantage over the competition, a basis for making sure your marketing and sales teams run efficiently as possible, and a tool for elevating your go-to-market strategies.
That’s all fantastic, but how should you go about gaining these invaluable insights? Lets start with the first step: Conducting your market research call.

To Click or Call? That is the Question

phone research
When it comes to conducting your market research, opt for phone calls over Internet surveys. Sure, Internet surveys provide wider access to contacts and offer built-in tools for analysis. However, the rigid strategy lacks depth, and it’s not suitable for the qualitative answers you hope to gain from your research.
Phone interviews are the clear winner. Here are three instances where phone calls shine:

  • If there are points in the conversation where the buyer becomes confused, you can easily offer explanations or prompt answers.
  • If you receive a response you don’t full understand, you can request the respondent elaborate.
  • If there are responses the interviewee would like to explain further.

Below, we’ve provided a sample phone interview guide you can reference when conducting your market research call.

Sample Interview Guide

This is a basic interview guide for a 30-minute phone interview. During an actual project, you should go into deeper detail on certain sections and provide more company- or product-specific questions and prompting. (For more detailed or longer interviews, additional questions follow this interview guide.) In the following list, “problem X,” “use case X,” and “product X” all refer to items related to your company or solution.

Introduction

Thanks for agreeing to take the call. We’re currently doing a market research project for product X, and we’re speaking with customers and industry participants to understand their requirements, needs, and decision-making process when it comes to selecting a vendor for this type of product. Again, this isn’t a sales call, and none of the specific information you offer will be shared with our salespeople. The call should last about 30 minutes. Do you have any questions for me before we begin?

Questions

What were the circumstances that led you to start looking for a product X vendor?
Optional follow-ups:

  • What was the problem you were looking to solve?
  • Was there a specific event that highlighted this problem?
  • Was there an internal solution you considered?
  • Where did you look for more information? Prompt: Googling vendors, magazines, asking peers, associations

As you narrowed down your list of possible solutions, what were the criteria that you considered?
Optional follow-ups:

  • What were the features or value propositions that all of the solutions seemed to offer?
  • What made your short-listed vendors stand out?
  • When and how did you begin speaking to salespeople from prospective vendors?
  • Was criteria X important to you? Why or why not?

What were the common objections that would lead you to eliminate a vendor?
Optional follow-ups:

  • Why was that so important?
  • How about objection X?
  • What were the technical requirements of the product?

Who else was involved in the buyer journey and how were they involved?
Optional follow-ups:

  • Who was the main technical buyer?
  • Who needed to approve or sign the contract?
  • Was there a formal committee?
  • How was the final decision made?

What were the vendors you considered as finalists?
Optional follow-ups:

  • What were the major differences you saw between them?
  • Did you see any differences in their value propositions or marketing strategies?
  • What was your single most important criteria in making the decision?

How are you measuring the success of this project?
Optional follow-ups:

  • Are there specific KPIs that you monitor in relation to product X?
  • In your opinion, has the project been a success? Why or why not?
  • At this point, what would prompt you to switch vendors?

Validation questions (if they haven’t already been answered):

  • Are you the decision-maker for this kind of product?
  • What are some of your responsibilities as <title>?
  • Would you consider your company to be in <segment X>?
  • Is there anyone else in your organization or company that we should speak with?

Wrap up

That’s about all of the questions I have today. You’ve been a huge help. Thanks for your time! 

What Happens Post-Call?

After conducting your market research call, you now have a more in-depth view of your target segment’s buyer, their pain points, marketing channels, and business goals. In order to be successful, you must analyze your research results, use that information to map out your customers’ buying process, and incorporate the insights into your sales, marketing, and product development strategy.
Image by Doug

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