Market research for B2B needs is used very differently from market research for B2C needs.
B2B market research is conducted to inform decisions about transactions between businesses. In other words, the customers are other companies. When a company performs B2B research, they’re usually looking to accomplish one or more of the following:
- Learn about the experiences of their customers.
- Understand what their competitors are doing and how they’re doing it.
- Gain informed feedback on a given product or service.
Ultimately, the difference between B2C research and B2B research is that while B2C research focuses primarily on the tastes or preferences of consumers, B2B research focuses on the knowledge and experiences of professionals.
First, B2B market research relies on expert and influencer panels that consist of a group of highly targeted people who can provide data and insights over time. These panels are particularly useful as tracking tools. Quantitative data is best to gather prices, capabilities, budget, risk, growth, forecasting, innovation trends, and voice of the customer. Because the panel can be accessed at different points in time, controlling for variables is easier than a typical consumer survey where the group of people responding might change significantly over time.
Second, brand trackers or expert trackers differ from typical surveys. This is because respondents commit to intermittent participation for a period of time. For instance, if you wanted to track growth in a particular area of the SaaS space, you could configure a tracker survey or interview users and potential users. Then do a monthly survey on budget, forecasting, pain points, and spend to these users. The respondents won’t change over time, but their spend and budget will. An expert panel tracker will reflect only this change, ensuring that historical data is accurate and controlled.
B2B research done well uses Custom Recruiting, not retrofitted B2C audiences
To do B2B market research well, it requires an upfront investment in finding the ideal respondents. At NewtonX we call this process Custom Recruiting. Unlike B2C consumer surveys, ensuring that your respondents are perfect fits for your respondent criteria is paramount. The data you get will only be as good as the people who give it to you.
Because of this, many enterprises turn to b2b customer market research specialists. These companies can find extremely precise matches for your needs, and screen professionals to ensure their responses will be valuable and accurate. When done correctly, this can become an extremely powerful resource. For a tracker study for example, you have the exact group you’re targeting, often a very niche population (e.g. the top 200 buyers of media in the US), and with everything staying equal, you can measure only changes that occur over time.
Why do B2B market research: The three most compelling use cases
There are three common use cases for B2B market research.
Customer data – VoC
Companies are coming around to realize the importance of B2B market research. Understanding and even tracking the voice of the customer over time is a powerful resource for forecasting and product development. Therefore, with knowledge of customer budget, spend, trust in partners (scale of 1-10), and forecasting for the space, you can get ahead of your customers and reduce churn.
This is an increasingly popular and important use case for B2B panels. Influencers can consist of policymakers and think tanks around consumer data privacy. If you’re a tech company, staying ahead of trends and influential decisions is a crucial competitive advantage.
Staying ahead of innovation trends can make or break a company’s relevance. If you’re a retailer you may want to know what the future of retail over the next 5 years is likely to look like. Will the most relevant technologies be VR, e-commerce personalization, or brick and mortar tech-enabled enhancements? The answers to these questions change over time. Checking in with a consistent group of people on the state of the market is a powerful way to stay abreast of market intelligence.
How to get the most from your B2B Survey or Expert Interview
Whether you want to assess risk, growth, pricing, forecasting, or voice of the customer, NewtonX can identify the most precise matches for your needs, and execute surveys on your timeline. Additionally, NewtonX offers the Q3 Formula, a unique capability that allows clients to conduct one-on-one consultations with select respondents who give outlier or striking answers. This enables quantitative data collection with qualitative deep-dives into the reasons for the data.
To learn more about how NewtonX helps enterprise clients gain insights and data over time through B2B market research using expert or influencer panels, visit https://www.newtonx.com/get-started/.