Enterprise leaders know that they need reliable insights from professionals to guide their decision-making. But when so many B2B market research companies rely on pre-determined panels of experts, where do you go for the custom findings that will be responsive to the specific needs of your business? In a recent conversation, Sascha Eder, the CEO of NewtonX — a leader in custom B2B research — spoke with Scott Swigart, the CTO of the market research firm Cascade Insights, specializing in B2B tech research. Eder and Swigart discussed why AI-powered platforms like NewtonX’s Knowledge Graph are essential to gaining competitive intelligence and generating reliable data that will help businesses excel.
1. A custom recruiting methodology leads to decision-quality data
Not long ago, Cascade Insights tasked their panel company with fielding a survey to learn which customer-relationship management (CRM) systems the technology industry relied most on. A head-scratching result came back: Respondents listed Salesforce — the world’s leading CRM — in 4th place, well below some more-niche CRMs.
Looking into it, Cascade discovered that the panel company had outsourced the survey to a third-party provider. That provider in turn fielded the survey to a pre-registered panel of unqualified, poorly paid respondents who knew how to beat screeners. This led to rampant fraud — and worthless data. It was in that moment, Swigart recalls, that Cascade realized “the whole panel model is broken. The people we need for our research aren’t signing up to take surveys in their spare time.”
Cascade turned to NewtonX to overcome these limitations. The NewtonX Knowledge Graph leverages an automated recruiting platform for quick and precise results. Experts come pre-vetted. And because participants receive a much higher financial incentive for their responses, high-ranking respondents are easier to find.
Whether a client needs ten blockchain experts in Asia or 3,000 marketing decision-makers across 20 countries and 10 industries, [the NewtonX Graph] can deliver it in real time.
2. Enterprise decision-making can use custom research to overcome groupthink and refresh insights
To meet their clients’ needs, businesses are often encouraged to be “customer-obsessed.” But the focus on current customers can cause decisions to be guided by groupthink, and the needs of current customers can distract from another important question: What do the people we’re not hearing from in our research think — and what could we change to turn them into customers?
As Eder explains, a key way of overcoming the limits of customer capture is to seek out new voices in your research. “You want to get input from existing customers, but you don’t want this to be the only input. You want to refresh the people you talk to” — so you’re talking to your customer base, your competitors, and your prospective customers, uncovering why they’ve chosen to work with someone else. To find these specific recruits on the spot, NewtonX uses our Knowledge Graph to source experts from an open network of 1.1 billion professionals.
There’s nothing wrong with being ‘customer-obsessed’ … but there’s a whole population of potential customers out there that you’re not hearing from.
CTO, Cascade Insights
3. High-quality, custom B2B research costs money — and it’s worth every penny
When Cascade Insights spoke to market researchers at some of the top Fortune 500 tech companies, they found that employees were dejected: Their executives often didn’t trust the data. Over years of experience, these executives had learned to pattern-match; their gut could tell when something was fundamentally off. And the stakes weren’t low: In the context of making multimillion dollar business decisions, a decision guided by flawed data could be catastrophic. So researchers were sent back to the drawing board — and to the same panels that had led to the flawed findings.
The solution: Vetted respondents and incentives to get the right respondents. NewtonX verifies professionals through a rigorous ID check, using corporate email addresses and LinkedIn profiles. As a result, all respondents are guaranteed to be the right fit for the study. But to get incentives from a decision maker, you need to pay for their time — and that can often mean paying them $50 or more for their responses. “Now, is that more expensive than working with a panel?” Eder says. “Absolutely … But it’s really the difference between totally useless data and absolutely actionable data.” In the context of a multimillion dollar business decision, custom B2B research will give executives the faith they need in the data.
If we’re spending $60 with a panel and the participant is getting a dollar, we could have just gone to the bottom of the bucket and recruited 60 times as many people as we needed. One of the things that we like about NewtonX [is that] we know that the participants are getting a much higher incentive and it makes it worth it for the right people to participate in the research.
CTO, Cascade Insights