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October 12, 2022

How To Identify Customer Pain Points for B2B Messaging

By Jenny Goldade, Content Specialist

The solution for how to identify customer pain points is right in front of you. By using the resources available to you, it’s easier and less time-consuming to find pain points. Then, you can use them to create buyer-focused content for all stages of the buyer’s journey.

Let’s go over pain points, six resources to identify them, and how to make them buyer-focused.

Learn how Ironpaper’s content methodology can help you create messaging that engages your ideal customers.

Three illustrated people putting puzzle pieces together in a lightbulbWhat are pain points?

Pain points are the challenges and frustrations your customers face. These could be anything from daily obstacles to unrealized aspirations, but they shouldn’t be solution focused. For example, needing a specific feature you offer isn’t a pain point; the pain point is the reasoning behind needing that feature.

After identifying these, the next step is to figure out how they go hand in hand with the buyer’s journey. Gartner found that mapping the buyer’s journey is one of 2022’s four themes that’ll drive marketing strategies.1

To map their journey from start to finish, you need to understand the motivations, also known as pain points, that impact how your customers behave. “[Brands] will discover that this is the best path to elevating personalization and ensuring greater brand affinity,” Roger Hurni, Off Madison Ave, said in Forbes.2 

Here’s how these motivators play a role in the buyer’s journey.

  • Awareness: The prospect either knows their problems or at least that something’s not working. To solve this, they begin research, like reading your educational content.    
  • Consideration: By nurturing them with more educational resources, they’ll likely consider your business a possible solution to their obstacles.
  • Decision: Content like case studies showing how you solved others’ problems could be just the thing to convert them into customers.

Want to learn more about defining buyer challenges? Read this article, Guide: How a Shift in Mindset will Improve Brand Growth.

Use these six resources to identify customer pain points

Identifying customer pain points doesn’t need to be time-consuming. Here’s how to identify customer pain points using six resources:

  • Ask your customers and prospects
    What better way to understand your buyers’ needs than by going straight to the source? Send surveys, or better, schedule interviews. Just don’t forget to record the calls and always ask permission before recording them.

    You could also reach out to your leads at the point of conversion. For example, Ironpaper has a pain point question on all of our lead generation forms to help us understand why people are interested in learning more about us.
  • Talk to your colleagues on the sales team
    Your teammates on the sales team all have unique insights, so ask what questions and complaints they hear a lot. According to an Oracle survey, 32% of participants said “aligning marketing and sales efforts” was a top marketing challenge.3 Establishing open communication keeps everyone on the same page.

    Collaboration is key to success, as a LinkedIn report found that “87% of sales and marketing leaders say collaboration between sales and marketing enables critical business growth.4  Everyone contributes to a single buyer’s journey. It’s not one journey with sales, another with marketing, and so on. All teams work as one to solve buyer obstacles.
  • Join LinkedIn groups
    See what people post in LinkedIn groups. Often, these messages help you elaborate on customer needs or identify new ones. You want to join industry-specific groups and ones that are tangential to your product. For example, it would be useful for a cybersecurity software company that serves financial institutions to join groups about banking issues, digital payments, and data compliance. Along with joining groups, follow relevant LinkedIn hashtags, pages, and industry influencers.
  • Follow industry associations
    Reading industry association websites is a great resource, but don’t stop there. Associations often provide free content, like:
    • Articles
    • Guides
    • Statistics
    • Webinars
    • Email newsletters
  • Keep up with current events
    Staying up to date with current events helps you understand buyer frustrations. To receive these updates right in your inbox, subscribe to Google Alerts for important terms about the industry you serve and related topics.
  • Reference your buyer personas
    Don’t forget about buyer personas. These are semi-fictional representations of your ideal target clients. You should use them as a refresher on who your target audience is.

    Don’t have buyer personas? Learn more in this article, Where Do Inbound Marketing Personas Fit In ABM?

Change autobiographical pain points to be buyer focused

Once you know your buyer’s pain points, you need to write them so they’re buyer-focused, not autobiographical. This is key to generating qualified leads. 36% of B2B companies reported that speaking to buyer challenges in messaging created the most success in their qualified lead generation strategy.

36% of B2B companies reported that speaking to buyer challenges in messaging created the most success in their qualified lead generation strategy.

-Ironpaper, 2022

Let’s go over a few examples of autobiographical pain points and how to tweak them so they speak to the buyer’s needs.

Company-Focused Pain Point

Buyer-Focused Pain Point

Explanation

Our revolutionary cybersecurity software automatically updates with new industry changes.

Cybersecurity best practices constantly change, so it’s difficult to keep up and make sure client information stays safe.

Early on in the buyer’s journey, leads often don’t know yet what form a solution might take (or that the problem can be solved). The company-focused version assumes the buyer already has a somewhat in-depth knowledge of cybersecurity software and is frustrated their software can’t keep up. In reality, they might not know this is something cybersecurity software can address. That’s why the buyer version shares the “why” behind keeping up with cybersecurity best practices.

Our cybersecurity solutions have innovative features like two-factor authentication.



Some customers don’t follow cybersecurity best practices like setting up two-factor authentication, which means hackers could more easily gain access to their accounts.

A pain point should address a possible outcome that matters to the buyer. That’s why the buyer-focused version includes a possible negative outcome for the buyer and their clients if they don’t set up two-factor authentication, while the company version only focuses on what features they have to offer.

Our world-class software provides banks with the education they desire.

Both bank employees and customers fall for hackers’ tricks to steal their information due to a lack of education on how to spot cyberattack attempts.




A desire, want, or need for a product isn’t a pain point. When buyers first discover their problem, they don’t know yet that your software is a solution. That’s why the buyer version focuses on the pain point of a lack of education about spotting cyberattack attempts.

 

Along with writing buyer-focused content instead of company-focused content, these are a few more writing tips.

  1. Remove fluff and jargon and focus on substance and supporting statistics.

  2. Balance being detailed and concise.

  3. Speak to pain points using the buyer’s language.

  4. It’s not about features but what obstacles the features solve.

Want to learn more about buyer-focused content? Read this article, How to Write Buyer-Focused Copy to Improve Content Engagement.

Take the pain out of customer pain point identification

With the right resources, identifying customer pain points can be faster and easier. Once you understand their challenges, you can write B2B messaging that speaks to the buyer's journey's awareness, consideration, and decision stages. This messaging educates your audience about their options while helping your business generate more qualified leads.

Ready to start? We can help improve your messaging and buyer’s journey. Learn more about Ironpaper’s content methodology.

 

Sources

1Gartner, Top 5 Emerging B2B Software Marketing Trends for 2022, January 27, 2022.

2Forbes, 15 Key Marketing Trends Brands Need To Take Note Of In 2022, April 29, 2022.

3Oracle, Marketing trends 2022: Marketers tell all about successes, struggles, and solutions

2022.

4LinkedIn, Moments of Trust: Why customer value is the key to sales and marketing alignment, 2020.

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