TAL .020: How to Create a Buyer Knowledge Bank

The Arete Letter

Customer insights shouldn’t be messy. Find out how to use buyer knowledge banks to make them more accessible.

Today’s letter is about buyer knowledge banks – the easiest way to consolidate and share customer insights.

(This letter is part of a series that started with issue .016 of The Arete Letter, which you can find here.)

1. The Problem

In smaller marketing teams, collecting customer insights isn’t always a formalised process.

Often, it’s siloed – individual team members build up knowledge over time, but don’t necessarily share it with anyone else.

That’s a problem, because siloed knowledge = knowledge that no-one else benefits from.

And, without good customer insights, it’s very hard to develop an effective marketing strategy or execute it well.

2. The Solution

Instead of relying on individual contributors to autonomously share their customer knowledge, create a buyer knowledge bank.

A buyer knowledge bank (BKB) = a cloud-based platform where you aggregate all useful customer data in a structured, easily accessible format.

Every company’s BKB will look different, but some useful sections to include are:

  • An overview of who your ideal customer persona (ICP) is
  • A list of their jobs to be done (JTBD), categorised by priority (critical, high, moderate, low)
  • Information about the buying journey, including:
    • The triggers that kickstart a buying journey
    • The approximate time it takes for customers to move from problem-aware to deciding on a solution provider
    • The typical channels they consult during that process
    • The factors that matter most to them when deciding on a solution provider
  • Alternative ways customers are currently solving their problem (not competitors – alternative solutions)
  • Competitors that customers have raised as being suitable alternatives to you
  • A list of sales objections that customers raise
  • Frequently asked questions that have actually been asked by customers
  • Survey data (if relevant)
  • Interview recordings with transcripts
  • Any relevant information about your ICP’s general situation or industry

The result should be an up-to-date library of information that any vendor or internal stakeholder can use to quickly learn about your ICP.

If you work at a B2B company with ICPs from multiple industries, it can be useful to have a BKB for each industry.

(For example, our BKB for law firms looks very different to our BKB for construction companies.)

I personally use Coda for BKBs, but other cloud-based doc platforms, like Notion or OneNote, work equally well.

Remember: BKBs are only as good as the insights they contain.

Don’t use LLMs or Google to stuff your BKB with random, unverified information.

The best way to get insights is to talk directly to customers, but analysing third-party data sources (like Capterra), conducting surveys, using research tools like SparkToro, or consulting internal stakeholders with strong customer knowledge can also work.

3. Implementation

Tech Needed: A cloud-based doc platform like Coda, Notion, or OneNote

Ease of Uptake: Very Hard

  1. Create a buyer knowledge bank. Use the structure I shared above as a base if you get stuck.
    1. If you’re not creating and maintaining the BKB yourself, nominate someone on your team to own it.
  2. Interview buyers to get insights. Consider offering gift cards, free products, or discounts for current customers if you have trouble locking people into interviews.
  3. Once you’ve recorded at least 10 interviews, you should have a solid foundation for your BKB. Consider bulking it out with additional interviews and research.
  4. Update your BKB whenever new, relevant information comes to your attention.
  5. Review your BKB at least once a year. Your review process should include an additional round of interviews to make sure all information is up to date.

By Duncan Croker

Duncan is a copywriter with a background in editing and storytelling. He loves collaborating with brands big and small, and thrives on the challenges of hard marketing.