B2B Research Essentials to Grow Your Business

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What is B2B Research?


When starting a new venture, launching a new product, or maintaining your competitive advantage and building your brand perception, B2B research is essential.  To grow a brand and establish a positive reputation, you need to have trust. You must build closer relationships with potential and current customers for this equity to occur.

Conducting B2B specific research is a great vehicle for understanding how clients and would-be clients answer the types of questions they have. As a matter of fact, quantitative data helps your organization understand key preferences and requirements by soliciting feedback from various relevant B2B audiences:

  • Customers
  • Employees
  • Prospects
  • Suppliers
  • Other stakeholders

Conducting competitor analysis by surveying or sampling a portion of these audiences to understand their market strengths and weaknesses is another principal reason for using B2B research. 

A company might want to learn more about an unmet product or service need before releasing a new offering. Equally important, organizations will also want to understand what contributes to employee turnover or what attracts prospective team members to a particular organization.

Discovering the answers to these types of questions and a list of other B2B market analysis questions helps a company make better, smarter decisions that will significantly impact its bottom line.

What is B2B Research

Typical Benefits of B2B Research


Global B2B market research analysis helps businesses in many ways. Changes in industries, markets, the economy, and even society can significantly impact organizations from year to year. A reputable B2B market research company provides accurate snapshots about where your target audiences stand at any given moment and is critical in helping to answer many of these B2B market research questions:

Market Awareness
Market Analysis
Brand Perceptions
  • Enhance understanding of your business's brand awareness and perception among customers and prospects?
  • Determine the level of customer familiarity with your primary products or services?
  • Help discover the demand for your new product or service?
  • Provide insights into upcoming opportunities in your industry?
  • Explain why customers choose your services over those of a B2B competitor?
  • Assist in understanding the factors that retain clients?
  • Contribute to identifying and defining niche markets?
  • Aid in mapping your B2B marketplace, segmenting customer personas and job titles, and understanding your competitors?
  • Determine the ways customers discover your business and help in mapping the customer journey?
  • Find out the significance of price for your B2B buyers?
  • Compare your pricing with that of the competition?
  • Developing key topics for your digital-content marketing strategy to engage buyers and build your authority.
  • Tuning your marketing content to resonate with what buyers are searching for on Google and Social Media.
  • Clearly defining what sets you apart
  • Uncovering your strengths and weaknesses
  • Identifying whether your ideas about your company match what the public thinks about you
  • Measuring Customer Satisfaction and Net Promotor Score for your Brand/Product/Service
  • Identifying emerging trends in your industry or marketplace
  • As you can see, strong B2B international market research methods can help you determine what current challenges exist. You will uncover areas where your competitive advantages can be highlighted, and new opportunities that are present in your customer landscape. By using this information, you’ll be able to make smarter business decisions.


    B2B Research Methods


    In general, businesses conduct primary or secondary research. The latter involves analyzing information already collected by other organizations and sources and then drawing conclusions from that particular body of knowledge.

    On the other hand, primary research is research that deploys b2b market research methods that are intentionally conducted to answer a specific research question or address a particular need.

    B2B Research Methods


    Within primary research, a B2B market research company will conduct qualitative and/or quantitative research, depending on their particular goals and requirements:

    Qualitative research is typically conducted with smaller groups and goes into more depth to gather opinions, ideas, and thoughts of those being interviewed. Many businesses may use qualitative research methods such as online focus groups or in-depth interviews before or after quantitative market research questions.

    For example, if a company is looking to fill a particular need with a new product offering for HR Online Recruitment Platforms, the best way is to do business use market research by talking with a group of HR Professionals to uncover these pain points:

    • what their biggest challenges are in recruitment areas,
    • what tools and information they wished they had, or
    • what problems they cannot seem to solve.


    Quantitative research would typically follow, and the feedback from focus groups can then be refined into a more quantitative study (conducted via either an online survey or a telephone survey), which can help answer this set of questions:

    • frequency of need,
    • willingness to pay to meet that need,
    • and preferences on how to learn about new products or services.


    Concept testing can help inform you about strategic decisions:

    Is there a demand for your product or service?

    And it can help you fine-tune issues such as pricing, packaging, and communication preferences.

    When a company embarks on business research like quantitative B2B international market research, it really wants to gather the hard data or numbers from a sample size that is a statistically significant portion of its target audience. The results are designed to help the business make better product development, pricing, and distribution decisions, leading to greater profits and lower costs in the long run. Quantitative research may be in the form of a phone interview or, more typically, online surveys.


    When is the best time to conduct B2B research?

    Selecting the best timing for conducting a B2B study is two-fold: first, you need to consider when is the best time in relation to a particular project or product launch, and second, you need to think about the best time to actually complete the data collection with your target market.

    The general rule is that the sooner you conduct the research, the better. For example, if you’re beginning a new business or launching a new product, it’s always a good idea to conduct some B2B market research before you invest much time and money in pursuing a particular direction.


    Best Time for B2B Research

    You can also consider natural moments of gathering feedback when your business reputation is at stake, like before and after a crisis, or even more regularly when, regular daily matters count, such as after a customer calls your service line, after a conflict resolution attempt, or once a purchase is made and received.

    The second issue with timing is the scheduling of the actual research. Practical considerations such as when a budget is available or renewed or how work plans are put in place may dictate beginning a project at the start of a calendar year or a specific quarter.

    Another factor is when you actually need the research results. For example, if the results are scheduled to be presented at the company’s shareholder meeting, during a specific customer conference, or during the peak time for the industry community, you’ll need to backtrack to determine the timing of the actual research.


    Consider the busy periods for your particular target audience and avoid scheduling a survey during those times

    You’ll also want to consider when your potential audience may be experiencing a peak time for their business operation and when they are more available to give you time for your study. Consider your target audience’s busy periods and avoid scheduling a survey during those times. For example, don’t send accountants surveys during tax season or ask for input from educators during the first week of school or during common exam periods.


    Conducting international B2B market research is an intricate process that calls for a keen understanding of diverse markets and their nuances. A successful international B2B market research campaign begins with defining clear and measurable objectives. What are you hoping to learn from your research? Whether it’s identifying potential opportunities, understanding the competitive landscape, or assessing the demand for a new product or service, having a precise target is crucial.

    One of the key considerations in international B2B market research is understanding cultural differences. Ensure that your research instruments like surveys, questionnaires, or interview guides are culturally sensitive and translated correctly, maintaining their intended meaning. Familiarize yourself with local business customs, etiquette, and legal or ethical considerations to build trust and ensure meaningful interactions.

    In international B2B market research, the choice of research methodology matters a great deal. Primary research techniques such as interviews, surveys, and focus groups can provide invaluable first-hand insights. However, the logistical challenges of conducting primary research across different time zones and languages can be significant. Therefore, combining these with secondary research techniques, like studying existing market reports, trade statistics, or government publications, can often provide a more holistic understanding of the market.

    Many articles, contractors, and consultants provide myriad options for conducting B2B projects. On closer look, companies with large budgets and complex research projects can hire a full-service research marketing agency to manage all the details, from strategy to compiling a comprehensive final report.

    Many do-it-yourself options abound online on the opposite end of the spectrum, which can be executed inexpensively and quickly. However, results may or may not provide you with the range of market research reports you seek.

    Most businesses choose to conduct B2B research someplace between those two extremes. With all the technology and connectivity available today, both quantitative and qualitative research can often be completed in-house with assistance from online B2B panel providers

    Remember, international B2B market research is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Each market is unique and will require a tailored research strategy. Being flexible, patient, and adaptable is key to overcoming potential challenges and succeeding in your international B2B market research efforts.

    B2B Research with Active Professionals

    What is a B2B Panel Provider?


    B2B panel provider is a company that pre-recruits people willing to provide insights for various research projects. Job title, expertise, demographics, geographical location, or a host of other specifics can categorize panel members. When a customer contacts a panel provider and specifies the representative group they want, the provider then pulls from its database to deliver the correct panel. Panel members can be tapped for both qualitative and quantitative research projects.


    Types of B2B Panel Providers


    Many companies provide different B2B panels for their customers. These providers can be divided into three main categories:

    Specialty Panel Providers: Specialty panel providers can provide customized B2B panels down to extremely narrow parameters so you get the representative sample you seek.

    For example, if you want to survey individuals responsible for purchasing office supplies at companies under $200,000 in annual revenue on the east coast, you can obtain that panel quickly and easily.


     Specialty panels will focus on industry verticals like:

    C-Suite Executives
    Financial Decision Makers
    HR Professionals
    IT Decision Makers


    B2B Research Panel Resellers

    Like most reseller companies, panel resellers depend on the work of other panel providers. They act as an aggregator for many other panel providers, providing a one-stop-shop solution for various customer needs.


    B2B Research Full-Service Panel Providers

    These panel providers, often global panel providers, offer access to a large database of millions of people who have agreed to participate in panels and provide various profile attributes for consumer profiling, B2B profiling, and healthcare profiling that can be sorted for customers. Like some Panel Resellers and Specialty Panel Providers – most Full-Service Panel Providers offer Programming and Hosting Services for Online Surveys and Data Tabulation and Data Reporting Services.




    How to Select a B2B Panel Company


    Utilizing an online panel provider will increase your success in reaching the right business audiences using an online research methodology; however, choosing the right panel provider is critical. A reputable panel provider will be able to answer your specific project-related questions and also be able to talk about how their panels are recruited and managed.

    A reputable market research company will offer its response to ESOMAR 28, the research industry’s most thorough questions about their panel operations and practices.  When screening B2B panel providers, you’ll want to ensure they have a few key processes in place to help ensure you get the online panel quality you’re paying for.


    Here are some tips for you as you begin your B2B panel selection:

    Specialization in B2B: Some panel providers focus on business-to-consumer panels, which are very different than B2B panels. Make sure you select one that has expertise and proven experience in the B2B marketplace. Compared to consumer markets, B2B markets can be much more complex to target, and the need for onboarding participants is much more intensive.


    Categories of B2B markets are different than B2C markets and tend to be:

    1. Industry and Role Focused
    2. Product or Service Focused
    3. Market Focused


    Throughout the B2B market research recruiting process, panel providers need to consider the following areas, which should be of interest to all B2B market research clients:

    Targeted Recruiting:  Ask your potential B2B panel provider the right questions, like how they recruit panel members. Find a provider with a well-thought-out process for engaging their participants.

    Vetting Process:  Just because a panelist claims to work a particular job or live in a specific country doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true. Please talk with your panel provider about the steps they take to vet, confirm, and verify identity, professional credentials, and other demographics.

    Multiple Reward Programs:  Different panel members are motivated by a broad range of incentives. An experienced B2B panel provider will offer various rewards and incentives to recruit, retain, and reward their best panelists.

    Ongoing Quality Control:  Just because a professional fits particular survey criteria today doesn’t mean that they will hold in six months. Talk with your panel provider to determine how frequently panelist data is confirmed or updated.





    Primary research methods for B2B are vital to a successful business plan and provide invaluable information to new and seasoned companies alike. Understanding what B2B market research can do for you and what resources are required will help you plan a future research project.

    Incorporate these processes into your next new product or business landscape analysis, and set aside time and budget to conduct a comprehensive study. With the right strategic plan and B2B panel provider partner, you will obtain valuable information to move your organization forward successfully.


    Looking to Grow Your B2B Business?

     Business success depends on customer and marketplace feedback.

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    Jim Whaley

    Jim Whaley



    Jim Whaley is a business leader, market research expert, and writer. He posts frequently on The Standard Ovation and other industry blogs.

    OvationMR is a global provider of first-party data for those seeking solutions that require information for informed business decisions.

    OvationMR is a leader in delivering insights and reliable results across a variety of industry sectors around the globe consistently for market research professionals and management consultants.

    Visit: https://www.ovationmr.com.

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