The Evolution of B2B Sample

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Anyone who has been in market research in the past decade can remember that several years ago the B2B environment looked quite different from how it does now. Let’s look at the changes that have occurred and some best practices to help ensure these changes don’t negatively impact our data.

Changes in the B2B Sample Environment

The B2B sample environment has changed in countless ways in the past decade, and even in the few years since the pandemic began. Just a few of these changes include limited targeting of decision maker-level respondents, to more specific targeting based on function, role, or specific title. While we had industry and company size targeting before, it was nothing compared to the granularity of what we have today. Now, we can profile more effectively, and the pools of respondents have gotten much larger. Overall, we’ve seen much more detail in profiling to get more specific information.

Outside of targeting, we’ve also seen the introduction of several niche B2B panels including finance, construction, etc. These communities began to surface and presented an opportunity to engage in true B2B research instead of consumer-first, B2B-second research. Expert networks have also emerged and lend themselves well to the research space while adding an extra level of verification that we weren’t capable of reaching in the past.

Best Practices

Researchers are facing new challenges and constraints in the past few years, but we do have a few best practices that can help.

1. Higher Quality = Higher Price

Spending more money doesn’t automatically ensure higher quality, but you can expect that high quality will come at a premium. B2B sample is not a commodity. Quality controls, recruiting, and validating methods are expensive, so your sample selection should not be based primarily on price.

2. Translations

Many researchers prefer to conduct international research in English, usually to save cost and time. Of course, there are budget and time constraints; and often in B2B, many respondents do have at least some understanding of English. However, we always recommend translating to local language. Some panels even require translation. Respondents appreciate taking surveys in their local language and are more engaged. It’s worth the time and cost to provide translations.

3. Device Agnostic Survey Design

No matter who you’re trying to reach, device agnostic survey design is crucial. It’s especially important for professionals who don’t sit behind a desk, such as construction workers, realtors, etc. You’ll have much greater participation if you make your survey mobile friendly.

4. Length of Interview

Many professionals have experienced increased workloads and a struggle to find work/life balance. If your survey takes longer than the respondent expects, they’ll get impatient. We have to be respectful of their time and keep our surveys at 15-20 minutes maximum. Your data will be better, and you’ll see fewer dropouts.

5. Effective Screeners

We mentioned earlier that the granularity of B2B targeting available today is much vaster than it used to be. Knowing what your provider is targeting compared to the specific audience you need is crucial to building an effective screener. You must think about the different areas within each profession that you want to target and write your screener accordingly.

6. Strategically Blend Sources

Partners can have varying levels of quality by B2B target, country, recruitment, incentive, etc. If you’re using a niche B2B panel because they’re the only panel with feasibility for your specific audience, make sure you understand where they get their respondents, past success, etc. It’s incredibly important to collaborate with partners that understand your project and who you can have open, honest dialogue with about your sample plan.

B2B sample has seen an evolution in recent years, and we don’t anticipate the challenges and changes going away anytime soon. However, there are some tips and best practices to follow that can ensure quality B2B studies. To learn more about strategic sample blending or how EMI can help with your next B2B study, request a consultation below.