Define target audience’s purchasing barriers
1. Make a list of 20-30 current customers and 20-30 prospects that match your target audience's buyer personas.
To find this customer data, use sources like: Your CRM platform. Your ecommerce software. Email segmentation. Customer accounts flagged by your customer service team as typical of your target audience. Aim for recent customers who have purchased your services or products in the last 6-12 months. While customers with more distant sales history can also provide valuable information, their purchasing barriers, needs, motivations and available solutions might have changed since they last bought from you. Example prospects include: Leads who have yet to convert. Attendees of webinars or similar events who have not made a purchase. Individuals who reached out for information but have not bought your product.
2. Conduct in-person or online interviews with these customers and prospects to obtain qualitative data about their past or current purchasing barriers.
Cover the four most common categories of BANT purchasing barriers: Budget Authority Need Timing. Example questions to get a deeper understanding of their purchasing barriers include: When did you notice that you had a problem that needed to be solved? How large a factor was price in your decision-making? How much have you spent in the past on a similar solution? How did you first hear about our product? Which product feature that appealed to you the most? Which features were missing? Did you find the answers you were looking for on our website? What information was missing? What other solutions did you try before finding us? What options or solutions did you look at after? Consider recording the interviews so you can focus on asking questions instead of taking notes. When recording, always obtain the consent of those on the call.
3. Review customer service phone transcripts, chat transcripts, and email logs to detect common objections, concerns or worries.
Your customer service team should ideally be tracking each customer service interaction and logging complaints, questions, concerns, and purchase barriers reported by your prospects and customers. If your CRM platform doesn’t create automated reports of customer complaint trends or commonly asked questions, search your customer service team’s notes for keywords that often indicate that a customer was asking about a specific purchase barrier. Example keywords include Price, Does it, Why does it, Can it do, and How does it compare to. Review the customer support pages, frequently asked questions pages, or knowledge base pages that receive the most traffic. Highly trafficked customer service URLs, as highlighted in your web analytics platform, may indicate a common concern, worry or objection.
4. Monitor customer reviews on third-party websites like Yelp, Amazon, Google Reviews, and Facebook. Automate the process on a platform like Podium, ReviewTrackers, or ReviewPush.
If the review website allows you to respond to a negative review, invite the customer to email you so you can ask clarifying questions and identify the specific purchasing barrier or complaint they faced. Using the same review-tracking tools, also look up the reviews of your closest business competitors. Often, purchase barriers in a specific niche, industry or product/service type tend to have similarities.
5. Send out Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys after every important customer interaction. Automate the process with NPS software like Qualtrics, Refiner, CustomerXM, Retently, or Listen360.
Don’t overwhelm your customers and prospects with endless surveys. Instead, contact customers after interactions that are part of the sales and marketing funnel, such as: Contacting customer support. Signing up for a free trial or demo. Making a purchase.
6. Include open-ended clarifying questions in your NPS survey after the initial NPS ranking question.
Example questions that probe potential purchasing barriers include: What are our services missing? What is one thing that almost stopped you from using our product? How can we improve your experience? What was missing or disappointing in your experience with us?
7. Review the replies from your NPS detractors — those who scored 0-6 in your NPS score report — to see if there are common negative trends.
Look for multiple people reporting the same bad experiences, missing features, or confusions about your product or services. These tend to indicate a larger purchase barrier across your target audience that needs to be addressed.
8. Email feedback surveys to first-time customers to identify purchasing barriers or sales objections that your long-term customers may not be aware of. Survey tools include SurveyMonkey, Typeform, and Qualtrics.
This is key if you have made changes to the buyer journey, the marketing funnel, the product or service, or the overall purchasing experience. Long-term customers typically skip much of the top-of-funnel communication, so it’s your first-time buyers who can better highlight potential barriers in your current marketing flow. For example, a new customer may identify confusing communication in a free trial that your long-term customers would never see. Use your ecommerce platform to trigger a survey pop-up if someone orders your product or service with a new customer account. Alternatively, use your email platform to tag all new customers with a specific tag that triggers a new customer survey email automation.
9. Conduct user testing to track how a customer or prospect navigates your website and the purchasing process.
Look for common friction points, listen for users vocalizing complaints, and watch for areas where users give up on selecting a service or product and checking out. User testing platforms include: UserTesting Userlytics UserZoom.