Ensuring full samples and making sure you are talking to the right people has always been critical to quality outcomes in B2B research.

However, over the last 18 months accessing the right target respondent and completing a full sample, in a short space of time, in the B2B environment, is proving to be more challenging than ever.

Why is that?

When securing interviews for B2B studies, one typically works from a client list, or recruits a respondent from a database, or they are self-find through one’s networks.

While conceptually the approaches are still the same, there are a whole new set of challenges:

  1. With the move to “Work from Home”, decision makers, managers and staff are not at their offices. The databases from clients or list companies, however, still have the potential respondent’s workplace contact details.
  2. With Zoom meetings, online discussions and collaborative work on shared platforms, potential respondents have very full diaries, with limited time for a research interview.
  3. With everything moving online, more communication via e-mail and digital marketing, survey request often land in the bottom of the increased e-mail pile, or there are concerns about cybersecurity when clicking on a link.  The result is requests to participate in research are often not completed.
  4. A research study may not be a key priority compared to other things that are happening in the client’s business and country.

So, what are some solutions to obtaining an effective B2B sample? Here are our top 6 tips:

  • Engage Field teams that are resourceful, respectful and investigative
  • Use Hybrid methodologiesResearch methodologies and approaches for B2B must be flexible enough to interview decision makers at a place, and time, and in a way that is most convenient and suited to them.
  • Work around the B2B respondents time constraints. Interview outside working hours, have shorter interviews, engage in a pre-interview chat so respondents have time to think about your company and topic before the interview.
  • Acknowledge the B2B respondents’ time, input, and value without compromising ethicsWhile many companies do not allow monetary incentives, contributions to “Good Causes”, a small non-monetary thank you and letter of acknowledgement is important if you value continued participation in research.
  • Don’t try and systematize these respondents. The B2B target audience is often a small pool of respondents.  Putting them into an automated system often does not yield a valid sample. Decision makers need an approach that has understanding, persistence and empathy to get them to participate and is investigative in finding the right respondent.
  • Treat the respondent with respect. Don’t interview the sample pool of decision makers too often. The research company should be advising the client on this. We should talk to our customers, action their feedback to drive improvement, make sure changes are happening and only then go back to them. Interviewing them too frequently, when they are time constrained and haven’t seen any changes is counterproductive.

Selecting a research supplier who understands businesses, their complexities and how they operate is key to successfully conducting 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.