3 Ways to Use Voice of Customer Data in B2B Marketing

March 16, 2022
Contributor: Amita Jain

Improve buyer satisfaction and brand advocacy by listening to what your customers have to say.

Whether it’s a glowing review or a raging complaint, customer feedback is crucial to business success. It’s a window into the experiences buyers seek and a way for B2B software providers to improve their products, services and processes.

With B2B buyers demanding more B2C-style experiences, 66% of marketers say they are struggling to keep pace with the changing buyer needs, according to Gartner.

Voice of the customer (VoC) analysis can help B2B marketers tasked with engaging stakeholders in large buying groups to collect, consolidate and act on feedback data to capture customer expectations and deliver a relevant buying experience.

What is voice of the customer?

Voice of the customer, or VoC, extracts actionable insights from raw customer feedback, opinions and reviews to detect changing buyer needs, define buyer personas, optimize journeys and identify issues that impact customer experience.

VoC analysis involves probing every customer feedback to “close the loop” by acting on and responding to user comments with a targeted and personalized response. It involves taking steps to resolve the trouble areas highlighted in negative reviews and delving deeper into every positive response to affirm what’s working. A majority of organizations don’t yet operationalize feedback to glean customer insights. 

Prevalence of VoC platforms used to distribute customer feedback

Three types of VoC data

VoC platforms collect three types of customer feedback data to analyze and generate insights for departments such as marketing, customer service and IT. 

Understand voice of the customer
  1. Direct feedback involves responses that customers directly provide when asked for feedback or motivated by their experience. Examples include customer interviews, surveys, complaints, market research and focus group discussions.
  2. Indirect feedback includes responses derived from instances where customers speak about an organization without intending to provide feedback, such as social networks, customer care inquiries, reviews sites and troubleshooting with engineers.
  3. Inferred feedback comprises transactional and operational data related to the customer journey extracted from website clickstream data, customer location data from apps, purchase history or other operational information from call centers

Put diverse listening posts along the customer journey

VoC programs are more successful when customer data and feedback are gathered from multiple sources to get a rounded view of customer needs and impressions.

While traditional VoC research methodologies live in focus groups, in-depth interviews and customer surveys, they are falling out of favor due to being costly and time-consuming. That said, they still hold water for B2B software companies with usually high customer lifetime value (CLV) compared to B2C. Additionally, newer sources such as social networks, email, mobile apps, in-app kiosks and third-party reviews sites are gaining importance, as they can be easily deployed and provide richer customer insight. 

Past, current, and future VoC data collection methods

When collecting VoC data, prioritize your sources based on the recency and authenticity of customer reviews and the completeness of customer narratives.

Additionally, leverage natural language processing (NLP) to pull out key insights of both positive and negative customer sentiment. Customer interaction analytics uses complex NLP to derive better customer context, emotions and experiences from messages, posts, calls and emails. Gartner predicts that by 2025, 60% of organizations will analyze customer voice and text interactions as part of their VoC program.

Three uses of VoC insights in B2B marketing

VoC data can inform numerous marketing aspects across customer experience, brand management, product development and behavioral analysis. Three prominent ways VoC insights set the table for better marketing outcomes include:

1. Improve brand messaging and communication

In large B2B buying teams, the needs of a few decision-makers can differ from that of others. Marketing to such buyers requires striking a balance between personalized, role-aware messaging and a focus on shared team goals. VoC insights ensure you can reach the right buyer segment with the right messaging.

Pro tips for using VoC data in marketing messages:

  • Deploy a judicious mix of customer VoC data collection methods with old (e.g., focus groups) and new (e.g., social media mining) research techniques to generate granular actionable insight to build better buyer personas.
  • Measure and analyze customer satisfaction across physical and digital touchpoints to understand which customers are more satisfied, which are not and why. Use this data to clearly position who you are and what your product does.
  • Formulate VoC questions to improve ad copies and campaigns. Find out the reason for the poor open rate for your email or advertising campaign by asking: Where did you hear about our software for the first time? This question will help you identify your best-performing marketing platforms. 

2. Create a better content strategy

Rethink the way you listen to your buyers to optimize your content marketing strategy. Learn what’s important to your potential customers to help ease their pain, facilitate their decisions and solve their problems. Use VoC data to find out the most effective marketing channels, figure out which topics to write on and test campaign taglines that work best with your audience.

Pro tips to incorporate VoC data in your content strategy:

  • Discover what customers say about you and your competitors on third-party reviews sites. Focus on a few sites that are right for your industry. Use the terms, phrases (e.g., “best invoice generator app”) and other keywords that customers use to enhance the findability of your products.
  • Invite customers to write reviews of your product or service on your website as well as public reviews sites. Use these user-generated stories for your social channels and website to build trust and influence buying decisions. 
  • Leverage VoC tools, which have features such as built-in heat maps, to check which web pages perform the best.

3. Make product improvements

Identify which products need updates and which should be retired. VoC data can help you retain customers by delivering the products and features they need most. Boost the usability of your products and services by adding features that users find most valuable.

Pro tips for using VoC data for product management:

  • Analyze product features that are used most, and identify features users would like you to add. This can help improve your product roadmap and also close the loop with disappointed buyers to improve the customer relationship.
  • Use feedback data to understand how to customize different packages for different customers and customer needs. Discounts, free trials or demos can be popular among certain target groups and eventually lead to a surge in paid users and customer satisfaction levels.
  • Analyze customer reviews and create customer advisory boards to collect feedback and identify opportunities to revise product strategies and roadmaps. Improved offerings will help boost customer retention and ensure better customer success.

VoC programs are a useful addition to B2B customer journey analytics, offering insights into the motivations and thoughts of individuals and group buyers. Convert VoC data into relevant, actionable recommendations to improve your offerings, marketing campaigns and sales outreach.

Amita Jain

Amita Jain covers B2B content creation and strategy to help businesses reach their marketing goals. She received her master’s degree from King’s College London, U.K. Exploring the world of art and reading fiction are some of her usual happy distractions outside of work. Connect with Amita on LinkedIn.

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