Getting to know your future customer is somewhat like courting. You need to determine who will be your ideal mate, who can influence your future spouse and who will ultimately be paying for the marriage. At Philips Healthcare they have thoroughly studied how to ensure they reach the right people when it comes to the B2B buying process. Pamela Pauwels, director innovations and customer insight explains this.

Who to talk to

“There are a couple of steps to follow. Identify who is involved in the buying process, who are the influencers, who are the users and who do they want to talk to in the value chain. In the first phase, try to talk to as many people as possible. Afterwards, focus on two maybe three key players; people who will spend the money, people who will use the product and people who will influence the user.”

When looking at these different kinds of users, the marketers at Philips Healthcare move to the next step in the cycle. Because needs change, and with them the people that you want to target change; it’s crucial to regularly track which people to target.

Focus on needs

“First focus on the users to meet their needs. Then try to focus on what added value a product can bring to the user, so you can capture that in an amount.”

Going through the process takes time, but it’s well worth it. Finding out who to target is never easy. The best advice Pamela can give us is to ‘sit down’ “Sit down and identify who you will need to target. Quite often you have people in your list you hadn’t thought of at first. Next step: clearly outline what they want and what they need. Don’t be afraid of complexity. If you don’t do your homework upfront it will come back to haunt you and you will lose important deals because of it.”

Before taking the stage at the B2B Marketing Forum on 14 March in Amsterdam, Pauwels offers some final words of advice:

“Never underestimate the knowledge available in your company. Use the years of experience, and devise a hypothesis. Test the hypothesis. Only then get to work.”