ANATOMY OF A B2B MYSTERY SHOP
(Competitor Research and Analysis)
Demystifying an underutilized, misunderstood
but valuable market research technique
SETTING THE SCENARIO:
B2B INDUSTRY: E.g. SaaS, HCM (Human Capital Management), Digital Adoption, Industrial products, Sales and Marketing, Financial Services, and generally any business-to-business sales activity.
TYPICAL BUSINESS CHALLENGE:
Losing business to specific competitor(s), undermining market share and profits
Understanding competitor sales strategies/techniques, their “sales pitch”, book pricing, how they compare their offerings to those of their competition
Development of the discussion guide with client company, including the prioritization of data points (i.e. information that needs to be obtained versus information of secondary value)
RECRUITING & TRAINING MYSTERY SHOPPERS
DEVELOP BUYER PROFILE WITH CLIENT COMPANY: Who typically initiates contact? E.g. SVP Human Resources, VP Finance, VP Marketing Strategy, Legal Department, Consultant, etc.
MYSTERY SHOPPERS RECRUITMENT & VERIFICATION: Recruit mystery shoppers. Verify that their social media profiles correspond with the desired profile: e.g. LinkedIn profile, Twitter, etc.
TRAINING: Ensure that mystery shoppers understand, and accept, that their social media profiles will likely be researched for verification by competitor representative. Therefore, the mystery shoppers should update their social media profiles as required.
Consultant and mystery shoppers review discussion guide and uncover any inconsistencies or other issues that may disrupt the field work;
Pre-Launch discussion: Review discussion guide, timing and approach with mystery shoppers. Client may also want to get involved in the discussion.
Final revisions to discussion guide are made at this stage.
LAUNCHING MYSTERY SHOP FIELD WORK
CONTACT: Mystery shopper contacts competitor. Usually via contact form or directly to sales rep.
VERIFICATION: Competitor sales representative will likely look up mystery shopper to verify background on various social media platforms.
PRESENTATION: Usually done online. This allows the mystery shopper to either take screenshots of the presentation or to record the presentation via mobile device or other recording software. If done in person, other recording options may be considered.
Debriefing of mystery shoppers. Provide a debriefing report to client for comments or follow-up questions for the mystery shoppers.
Executive summary and key insights from mystery shop;
Detailed analysis of the fieldwork;
Conclusions and suggested actions;
Recording of the sales presentation and/or screen shots.