B2B market research is the process of finding out who’s interested in a particular product or service. The purpose of B2B market research is to find out who your customers are, their needs and wants, and how to best satisfy them.
Marketing managers, analysts, and external marketing research resources gather information about customers. Various factors can be the impetus for B2B market research. For example, these can include decisions about what products to sell, how much to charge for them, or how they should be marketed.
B2B marketing research is compiled in order to understand how well current messaging resonates with a target market or what changes need to be made in order for the company’s business model to continue working effectively.
B2B marketing research types
There are two main types of B2B marketing research:
Quantitative B2B marketing research
Quantitative B2B marketing research involves gathering data from a large population through surveys.
Qualitative B2B marketing research
Qualitative B2B marketing research involves an in-depth interview or focus group from a small population to better understand opinions on products or services.
Both types involve learning from real professionals to best understand how to meet their needs with your product or service. Consequently, this type of information can help organizations develop effective sales and go-to-market strategies that drive revenue.
B2B marketing research methods
When doing B2B market research, it is important to keep in mind that your audience is very different from the consumer market. Finding B2B decision makers is completely different than finding B2C audiences. B2C audiences are relatively easy to uncover. However, B2B professionals are much harder to find. This is because all market research panels cater to B2C research. As a result, the type of research you conduct will depend on what you want to achieve and who you want to target.
Primary market research
Primary market research is direct engagement with respondents who meet your exact criteria. Here are some of the most common types of primary B2B market research.
- Online B2B surveys
- Customer interviews — In any marketing program, specific customer interviews should occur near the beginning stage. This is because this helps set priorities and get feedback for future development options and directions early on. This method is very effective if done correctly.
- In-depth interviews with participants in a particular industry or market segment.
- Interviews with experts in the field who work (or formerly worked) at competing companies to get their views on the industry and its products.
- Focus groups — Focus groups allow members from different markets who exhibit common characteristics to share opinions in a group setting.
- Exploratory studies — These studies assess product market fit and ask the right questions to get an idea of the potential level of interest and sale in a product or service before it’s even available on the market. Product Marketers most often use this to inform strategy for new product launches. The results provide valuable information about how much interest there is likely to be in your product or service. This helps you decide whether it’s worth spending money on further research or production.
- Competitor Benchmarking — This approach helps businesses identify best practices among competitors by looking at factors like price/performance ratio or customer satisfaction ratings among other things which you can use to improve business operations both internally – by identifying areas where you need to make improvements – but also externally – by analyzing which aspects differentiate one competitor from another.
- Communities — Curated communities for leaders in similar roles across different functions to gain feedback, ask questions and solve critical business challenges.
Secondary research (“desk research”)
Compilation of product reviews from various sources, such as consumer magazines, trade journals, and so on.
Behavioral Science Tools — Behavioral science tools are non-invasive methods of gathering qualitative data based on your customer’s past experiences, attitudes, beliefs, perceptions and opinions. (A/B testing is also another Behavioral science tool, which you can use to confirm their behaviors). These behavioral science tools include the following:
- Market segmentation research: Studies that identify different types of consumers within a given category. (For example, IT leaders who buy software.)
- Competitive Analysis: This type of analysis looks at how your product compares with other similar products on the market. You can use the data you collect during this type of analysis for pricing decisions, product positioning and more.
Secondary & primary research interaction
Research methods can complement each other if done correctly. Many nuanced interactions require the valuation and recommendations of a B2B market research expert. While we recommend secondary research as a start, it’s wise to follow it with custom primary research. Doing this helps you hone in on exactly how to solve the problem. It’s always advisable to find a market research partner that can understand your business challenge, provide consultative feedback and a recommended approach.
For example, imagine you were interested in researching the business-to-business market for accounting software packages. To start, you might do an online search to find out what is available currently and what companies are involved.
If you found several possibilities that looked interesting to you, you might proceed to do some more research that specifically answers your questions. What do they like about the software, what would they change? What other software programs to they use? Do they value certain features?
NewtonX is the world’s leading B2B research company. We specialize in connecting companies with the exact professionals required to solve any problem. We built our AI technology to find professional audiences anywhere in the world across 140 industries. Leading market research firms, the top management consultancies and the Fortune 500 trust us to solve their toughest business challenges.
NewtonX is the partner of choice for business leaders who want to make confident decisions and drive success in their organization.
Our proprietary, AI-driven NewtonX Knowledge Graph scans and verifies an open network of 1.1 billion professionals across 140 industries to find insights and answers to any business question. We go to every corner of the world to connect you with the right sources, delivering 100% verified professionals to give your thinking a flawless foundation.