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How Market Research Can Help You Grow

Market research helps a business determine who to target and what messages will be most effective. Here are some ways that market research can help increase your sales.

1. What is most important to your customers?
A well crafted research script will reveal what's most important to your customers and why they are purchasing from you. Often, businesses excel at exactly what their customers are looking for, but they don't always include those selling points in their messages. When you know the two or three attributes that customers and prospects are most interested in, your message can be adjusted on your website, in your advertisements and company literature, and in your sales pitch. Customers will recognize immediately that you offer exactly what they are looking for.

2. What offers and contact methods will your customers respond to?
Effective research tells you exactly what offers will cause customers and prospects to purchase. Once a new customer makes one purchase, you have a reason to contact them and try to expand the types of purchases they make with your company. You can also find out what types of communication methods they will respond to—emails, sales visits, postcards and/or ads. Then, you can shift your marketing efforts to optimize your time and your budget to achieve much better returns.

3. Where are you ranked against your competitors?
Market research will show how the market ranks your company when compared to your competitors. Who is #1 in your market? Who is in the middle, and who is last? Where does your company rank?

Your sales team can target customers of companies who are considered less capable. Market research includes conducting surveys with prospects in your market to find out who they do business with. This kind of approach can also work in a sales effort. If they are doing business with a company that is considered less capable than yours, provide an offer that the research says will work to persuade them to try your company.

Market Research Case Study
Here is an example of how Winsby's market research helped one company grow

Market Research Changed their Business
According to Dennis Heller, president of Stephenson Equipment, a Manitowoc dealer with seven locations in Pennsylvania and New York, market research "changed the company's culture"—especially the messages it was sending to their market.

With more than 50 percent of the crane buying decision based on product support, the dealer chose to promote parts and service in a way that emphasized uptime. Together with Winsby, Stephenson began crafting messages focused on what was most important to crane owners.

"We used to talk about how many millions of dollars of parts we had in inventory," explained Heller. "Now we talk about our 24-hour fill rate."

How the Research Was Implemented
Brochures for new products, rental and product support were updated with messages that customers would respond to, according to the research. Product support brochures now explain the dealer's services, such as operator training, welding repair services, and reconditioning services.

"Why talk about the color of the machine, when you can talk about your ability to supply parts or how quickly you can turn around a repair," advised Heller. "That's the new dialogue."

One of the top forms of communications that customers said they would respond to was emails. Topics included in the emails are things the customers and prospects said were important to them: OSHA regulations, changes to crane laws, and special promotions.

Year-over-year parts sales rose 18 percent, service sales, 16 percent and new machine sales, 20 percent.

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