Doing your homework before diving into vendor conversations is absolutely critical to a successful buying process. If you are unprepared, you could end up buying a solution that doesn’t fit the needs of your business and exhaust your already limited budget.
Market intelligence solutions provide an abundance of data, but it’s only useful if you know what you want to use that data to accomplish. You won’t be able to determine if the solution is the right fit for you if you haven’t clearly defined your challenges and your desired outcome.
Some questions you may consider include:
💡 Check-in: Do you have a clear goal in mind? Be able to articulate why you need a market intelligence solution.
Next, do your own research on the current market intelligence solutions available.
As mentioned above, there are over 200 solutions in the audience/marketing data and data enhancement category. Conducting conversations with all or even most of these vendors isn’t possible, or recommended, and having more options doesn’t always lead to a better outcome (see the paradox of choice). We suggest narrowing your list to around three vendors. This will make the process a lot more manageable.
So, how do you take that 200+ number and isolate which vendors you want to chat with? Let’s take a look at some approaches based on where you are in your buying journey.
You are in the exploration phase if you are trying to understand what market intelligence solutions can do for you. You have a goal in mind but aren’t completely sure how a market intelligence tool may fit into the equation. Some great places to source information while in this phase are peer communities, events, and webinars.
We recommend joining marketing-centric Slack communities like DemandCurve, MO Pros, and RevGenius. These Slack groups typically have channels specific to tech recommendations, questions, and discussion. Joining these communities will give you a space to ask questions and learn from your peers without the influence of vendors.
Events and webinars are also a great way to connect with people in the space and learn more about the functionality of market intelligence tools.
You are in the evaluation phase if you understand the functionality of market intelligence providers and have identified that you need this solution. This is the time to dive deeper into specific products by reviewing vendor content, reading review sites, and connecting with peers.
In this stage, using ratings and review sites like G2 is beneficial. G2 can help you weed out vendors with extremely low ratings and help you get a feel for what trends or commonalities the reviews share.
Another way to gather information is to connect with peers who are already a customer. If you know people in the space and can set up these conversations yourself, this will help you source unbiased opinions.
Lastly, with the emergence of vendor management solutions, you can utilize their expertise and research and see what they recommend after working with many tools in the space.
💡 Check-in: Confirm your list of 3 vendors you want to speak with.
You’re almost ready for vendor conversations. However, before talking to market intelligence providers, you should identify your business and technology requirements. This will help you make a smart buying decision and prepare you for the questions sales reps will likely ask. It’s important to conduct this step with team members who will be involved in the process to ensure complete alignment.
💡 Check-in: Do you have your business and technology requirements clearly listed out?
With your short list of vendors and business and technology requirements in place, you’re ready to start having conversations. In the next few chapters, we’ll explain the questions you should be asking vendors to ensure you select the best possible tool for your business.