Most executives would concur that gaining deep insights into customers' preferences at every stage of the buying process is a good idea.
That said, until recently, gathering such information has been both expensive and time-consuming.
Therefore, many technology companies have decided to rely heavily on the second-hand information they've been able to glean from their salespeople—and, to a lesser extent, customer-support personnel—to drive product marketing decisions.
B2B technology companies are increasing their investments in pre-sales customer research
As I discussed in the article "The Secret to Success in a Down Economy: Market Intelligence,"many technology companies are increasing their investments in customer research.
One impetus has been the need to discover ways to differentiate their solutions in an increasingly competitive market. Another impetus has been the declining cost of gathering customer information.
In the past, because months or years elapsed between product releases, the primary focus of customer research was to ensure a successful product launch. Today, however, with the advent of browser-based technologies—such as Web analytics, sales-enablement systems, and customer-relationship-management systems—it's possible for companies to cost-effectively gather customer information at every stage of the buying process.
What that means is that companies can now continually hone their ability to attract qualified leads—and make optimal use of their marketing dollars.