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Customer pain points are the problems and challenges that prevent them from having an easy life. It’s the same for B2B customers as it with B2C customers—we hunt for products and solutions to deal with the difficulties that hold us back. There are many motivators behind pain points that go beyond a simple lack of solutions. It could be that they’re plagued by inefficiency or are currently spending too much to get something working.

The possibilities when it comes to pain points are pretty much endless and these are what drive leads to a company that wisely works to address them. That said, it’s clear that identifying these specific pain points are key if you want to convert more leads into purchasing customers. So how exactly do you do that? We explore the tactics and tricks that you can use.

Common Types of Customer Pain Points

Before we dive into that discussion, let’s try to narrow down customer pain points into manageable categories. Now, the specifics might vary depending on the customer and their situation, but there really are four broad categories they can fall under. Productivity pain points have everything to do with efficiency in terms of time. When something is consuming far too much time, a B2B customer will look for better solutions that help things get done right and faster.

The next class of pain points are financial in nature. As the name suggests, it always has to do with currently spending too much on a solution and the desire to find something more economical. The third class involves the need for support. That is, whatever they’re doing is extra challenging and even frustrating and they’re looking for products and solutions that make what they’re doing feel backed up and supported—preferably by a provider with proven expertise.

Finally, you have process pain points. These can run the gamut from their lead generation and sales efforts to everything in between. Basically, these B2B customers are looking for the best ways to get key tasks done and done correctly. Now, understanding these common types will help you in your approach to addressing them—but that’s a discussion for another time. For now, we want to figure out how to draw out these pain points from your customers themselves.

1 – Well, why don’t you ask them?

Often the simplest solutions are the best. One way to draw out what pain points currently afflict your customer base is really to go straight to the source. Through directed surveys, you can get a pulse on common problems that they’re facing. If at all possible, interviews—however brief—are even more effective because you can ask follow up questions to real dive deep and better understand exactly what you can possibly provide solutions for.

Of course, the key to pulling this off successfully is to ask the right questions. We recommend using the common types as a guide to developing your questions. Ask, for instance, what problems or challenges keep them from growing or even succeeding as a business. Inquiry as to what consumes the most time and money in the processes as well as whether or not they find these efficient and acceptable. From there you can ask questions based off what their specific responses are.

2 – Talk to your sales people

If, for whatever reason, it’s difficult or not cost-efficient to talk to your customers directly, the next best thing is talking to your salespeople. After all, your sales reps are on the frontlines interacting with your customers on a daily basis. They’re the ones with the most engagement a probably hear a lot of different customer complaints. They’re a gold mine for customer information that you really should be looking into anyway to get on-key insight on common pain points.

To maximize the potential of your sales reps in data-gathering, it pays to train them to be on the look out for pain points. For instance, you can provide them a copy of your customer survey with instructions to make notes during the course of a customers’ inquiry. This way, your customer isn’t put on-the-spot and will be more inclined to share openly. You could also train them to listen for audio cues—like sarcasm or sighing or the like—that are indicative of a particularly frustrating pain point.

3 – Leverage intent data

Whenever a customer is bothered by a pain points, they go online to research for solutions. In doing so, they leave a trail that you can actually track. These activities include using keywords in search engines, visiting relevant websites, reading articles and blogs, and even trading their contact details for downloadable content. These activities, how often they’re done, and even the extent to which they’re pursued can clue you into their level of interest.

Providing you have an effective way of gathering these intent data signals or engage with a provider that does, you can use these to understand what problems or challenges afflict your customers. More than that, you can also develop appropriate responses that position you as a provider of just the solutions that they’re looking for—through outreach via emails, targeted content via blogs, or even telemarketing calls. In fact, your discovery of pain points should never be independent of a plan to address them.

Match Problems with Solutions

B2B customers become buyers because they have problems and are on the market for solutions that work. Today, they’re become more immune to impersonal, blanket marketing speak that many companies adopt as part of their advertising strategies. What they want are solutions providers that “get them” and genuinely understand and even empathize with what they’re undergoing. If you want to position yourself as such and convert more customers, ground your efforts in understand exactly what their pain points are and why they are so bothersome.