In the early part of my career – when business life was more structured, somewhat slower and people were easier to access – one was unlikely to have considered a hybrid approach to B2B research. There were clear preferences for a type of methodology, quant often followed qual and there was not the proliferation of methodologies available to researchers.
Why consider a hybrid approach for B2B research now?
In today’s world, the business environment is less structured, decision groups more complex, often remote and time is a scarce commodity. Understanding and identifying opportunities with business customers as well as evaluating the whole experience requires multiple approaches appropriate to different touch points within a business. Different parts of the research question/problem need to be answered by different people.
Obtaining a holistic answer and full samples, where you have defined target groups, requires an inclusive and adaptive approach that is convenient to the business person.
So what would a hybrid research approach look like for B2B research? In a single study, it could be a combination of qualitative, quantitative and desk research using a combination of different methodologies.
An example of how one could fully understand the needs and challenges facing clients on a particular business issue may include some, or all, of the following :
A few in-depth qualitative interviews with key decision makers or influencers who are crucial to the business or leaders in the industry.
A targeted sample of F2F interviews, virtual or in person, with those clients who contribute 80% of the revenue.
A CATI approach with those people who engage with the transactional elements of your business, such as daily logistics or purchasing.
An online approach to the rest of the customers who make up the other 20% of the business but account for a large number of smaller accounts.
Desk research around changes facing the industry.
The benefits of hybrid approaches are answering both the “what” and “why”, thus providing a more holistic answer but in a cost effective, shorter, more targeted manner resulting in happier respondents and clients.
Selecting a research supplier who understands businesses, their complexities and how they operate is key to conducting successful hybrid B2B research.
At Livingfacts we have 20 years’ worth of experience in understanding what customers, stakeholders, staff and suppliers need. We work with you to provide current research and insights on how to remain relevant in changing times.