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How Brex uses research to add proof to their value proposition

How Brex uses research to add proof to their value proposition

The product marketing team at Brex knows the importance of thought leadership. As a fintech company with a unique offering of corporate cards with no personal guarantee and business cash management accounts, the team has published a number of data-led opinion pieces around how burgeoning companies can lay a strong foundation and grow. 

Aliza Edelstein, Director of the Product, Partner & Content Marketing team at Brex, says that from the very beginning, Brex has focused on supporting their messaging by collecting data. “Best-in-class product marketing teams don’t make promises; they deliver proof,” Edelstein says.

Creating a thought leadership presentation that resonates 

When Brex launched the first-ever direct corporate card integration with leading enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution NetSuite, Edelstein and her team began preparing for a speaking session at industry show SuiteConnect. The trade show was an important opportunity for Brex to share its strategy with the finance decision-makers who would be in attendance. 

Their presentation needed to lead with a compelling value proposition—that Brex’s integration with NetSuite removes the manual effort in closing the books—and prove that value using data. Edelstein turned to SurveyMonkey Audience to collect feedback on their messaging and ensure that Brex’s presentation would resonate.

Supporting a unique value proposition with on-demand research 

Edelstein’s goal was to test the selling point that attendees could ‘take back control of their corporate card and shave hours off the month-end book close.’

Instead of just making the claim that this was a better and faster experience, I knew it would be more powerful to back that statement up with data.

Aliza Edelstein, Brex

Her team partnered with the User Research team to first conduct qualitative interviews with customer and non-customer finance and accounting leaders. These case studies helped Brex understand the unique challenges leaders faced, in order to craft a strong value proposition that spoke to their specific pain points. 

The responses from these testimonials guided Edelstein and her team in crafting a more quantitative survey, with questions centered around key benefits of an effective value proposition: efficiency, reducing human error, and more accurate data. 

Based on the first qualitative survey, Edelstein had a few hypotheses she sought to prove through the second survey:

  1. Companies that allowed employees to use personal credit cards for reimbursement take longer to close their books each month than companies using only corporate cards.
  2. The manual lift of book-closing primarily involves preparing and uploading CSVs. 

She also wanted to message test the phrase “bean counters,” and ensure the term wasn’t offensive to the target audience.

The survey was run through SurveyMonkey Audience to 292 finance and accounting pros, and included qualifying questions to ensure respondents were buyers/decision-makers. The results helped Edelstein and her team craft a presentation that leveraged thought leadership, storytelling, and marketing to address customers’ needs.

Understanding the target customer in a whole new way  

Edelstein collected the survey results in just two days, ensuring the team could remain on track while developing their presentation. The results confirmed her hypotheses, and lent credibility to Brex’s customer value proposition. 

Edelstein used SurveyMonkey’s Compare tool to analyze the differentiators in companies’ approaches. Here are two of her findings:

  1. Of the companies that allow personal and corporate cards, 67% said their team collectively spends over 10 hours a month closing the books; that number shrinks to 52% for companies that only allow corporate cards. 
  1. Of the 71% of companies that said they manually upload CSVs, 48% of those say they spend 10+ hours on that task alone.
Brex survey results chart 1

The survey results also confirmed that Edelstein was safe to move forward with a “bean counter” theme, with 81% finding it endearing, feeling neutral about it, or not having thought about it.

Brex survey results chart 2

For the trade show presentation, the team crafted a research report highlighting the insights in a digestible, easy-to-read format. These were included in seat drops before the presentation, alongside jelly beans in a fun play on the “bean counter” idea. 

Brex jelly bean

Brex’s marketing and sales teams collaborated to promote the report in advance of SuiteConnect, boosting organic and paid reach on social and other earned media efforts. 

Give your target market the best value proposition using supportive research

Edelstein says that the key to leveraging both qualitative and quantitative data generated in proprietary research is telling a compelling story, and getting everyone on board. “Transform your best data points into a narrative, and distribute it across different areas of your business,” she says. “SurveyMonkey made it so much easier for us to do that with this opportunity, and streamlined the process from conception to execution.” 

If it’s time to boost your competitive advantage, start by addressing your customer’s problem with a great value proposition based on real data and proof points. Then work on communicating that value to your customers in a way that resonates with them.

Learn more about how to create powerful stories with proprietary market research using SurveyMonkey Audience.  

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