B2B Panel

Market Research in a B2B World

Researching the business-to-business (B2B) world is different than market research that is focused on consumers but is arguably the most effective practice available to you. Whether you’re looking to refine or expand your brand, start a new venture, launch a new product or service, or just maintain your competitive edge – gaining insights from a targeted audience of business professionals can be the key to your success. While you may be able to get a long way with intuition and creativity, B2B market research is what tells you definitively what will and will not work. It lays out a reliable path for greater success. B2B market research helps your organization understand preferences, attitudes, behaviors, and even potential requirements by collecting feedback from target audiences that can include:

  • Clients
  • Employees
  • Prospects
  • Suppliers
  • Stakeholders
  • And Many More

Online Quantitative Research for B2B Audiences

Conducting online quantitative B2B market research can be extremely beneficial to your organization. It can help you understand changes occurring in industries, markets, and the economy, as well as changes in attitudes and behaviors that can significantly impact an organization from year-to-year. Primary research, specifically online survey research, can also be a quick and reliable method to answer pressing questions your organization has. The right survey, combined with the right strategic blend of B2B panel sample can deliver you the insights you need for your organization to make an informed decision.

Conducting B2B Market Research

Conducting B2B market research can fall into one of two methodologies: quantitative or qualitative research. The method you use depends on the specific priorities, goals, and questions you want answered. Quantitative research focuses on collecting numerical data, feedback, and uncovering insights from a representative segment of the population. An example of this methodology is an online survey. Qualitative research focuses on collecting non-numerical data and feedback, usually from a smaller group of people. An example of this methodology is a focus group.

Evolution of B2B Sample

In the early years of online sample, nearly all panels and their recruitment efforts were focused on consumers. Over the years, the value of being able to reach a large population of business professionals grew, which led to the demand by researchers for B2B targets.

There are 3 main sample avenues a researcher can take when they look to get respondents for their surveys.

1. Profiled Consumer Panels

One of the most prevalent sample sources for B2B respondents are consumer panels that have added some B2B profiling points to their database of consumer respondents. These respondents are typically recruited from the same sources, using the same methods as their consumer counterparts. Respondents who are members of these panels will routinely receive surveys targeted towards both B2B and consumer audiences.
  • Lower costs
  • Larger sample sizes because they are starting with a large consumer base
  • Higher traffic into a survey


  • Less granular targeting
  • Lower IR among the respondent pool among certain B2B titles
  • B2B profiling is self-reported and not always verified prior to survey launch
  • More QA happens post-survey rather than pre-survey or in-survey.

2. Niche B2B Panel

Niche B2B panels are sample panels that were created specifically to serve the B2B market research space. These panels recruit business professionals from a specific industry or job type such as respondents from specialty sources. These can include industry or trade-specific publications, websites, databases, online support communities, etc.

  • Granular targeting based on role or title
  • Provide more helpful insights on target audience
  • Authenticate / validate respondent authenticity pre-survey


  • Higher cost
  • More selective of the project they bring to their respondents – want best fit for their asset
  • Sensitive to in-survey LOI or incidence rate fluctuations from initial study specifications

3. Expert Networks

Expert networks are small communities of groups of B2B professionals that would be considered experts in either their field, industry, role, or subject matter. Expert networks do not follow the traditional online sample panel model, and therefore work differently than the other two previously mentioned B2B sample sources, and their members take less surveys overall. Expert networks are usually specialized in a specific industry or job type. Since they are not a traditional panel, they may custom recruit for each project based on highly targeted lists or audiences.
  • Pre-Study validation of all respondents
  • Good fit for most kinds of B2B research, especially good for rare or highly specialized audiences
  • High-quality, rich data provided by respondents


  • Field time can take longer than traditional panels
  • Higher cost

Importance of B2B Panel Selection

One aspect that can be overlooked when conducting online quantitative B2B marketing research (or online surveys) is the selection of the right sample provider. That’s where EMI’s sample industry expertise and superior online sample industry knowledge can help.

Selecting the right B2B sample can be very difficult for many reasons, including low incidence rates and challenging targeting criteria. Many traditional larger panels are built as consumer panels and are only lightly profiling their members for B2B targeting criteria.

That is why for the past 20+ years, we have been identifying, vetting, developing, and managing a strong network of B2B sample partners. These partners help solve the problem of low incidence or difficult targeting by using in-depth profiling on all business professionals and improved partnerships with niche sources. EMI utilizes this resource to identify the best panels that fit the needs of your client and your target. No matter your target group or quota, we will provide you with the highest quality business-to-business research sample.

Collaborating with clients, EMI serves as an extension of your market research team.

EMI’s network of 150 global partners can connect you with your target audience – Business, Consumer, or other specialty population – by connecting you with the right panel blends to measure and track attitudes, behaviors, and other opinions across the globe.

Our B2B Panel Network

Our global network of sample partners gives you access to one of the largest pools of B2B panelists of varying firmographics, locations, company sizes, responsibilities, and areas of expertise. Our network contains sources for different business segments that give us the ability to use the ideal source for your work.

Every sample partner in our network has passed our rigorous Partner Assessment Process so we can best understand the recruiting methods, validation process, and other data quality measures they have in place, as well as the ins-and-outs of their panel. Our strict vetting process ensures we only allow the best sample providers into our network, and that we maintain a high level of data quality for our clients.

B2B Targeting

With a focus on quality, and our leading sample network that blends the best of B2B panels, profiled consumer panels, and expert networks, EMI’s ability to target a wide variety of B2B markets worldwide is unmatched. Here is a snapshot of what we are able to target in the B2B space.
  • Job Title
  • Industry
  • Company revenue
  • Number of Employees
  • Number of Locations
  • Decision-Making Roles
  • Blue Collar vs. White Collar

Industries / Verticals

  • Agriculture
  • Automotive
  • Banking / Finance
  • Communications
  • Education
  • Energy
  • Engineering
  • Entertainment
  • Food / Beverage
  • Government
  • Insurance
  • Law / Legal
  • Marketing
  • Non-Profits
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Real Estate
  • Retail
  • Technology
  • Telecommunications
  • Travel / Hospitality
  • Shopping Habits

Dedicated Niche Panels

  • IT Decision-Makers (ITDMs)
  • Small Business Owners
  • HR / Benefits
  • Construction Professionals
  • Building Materials

Purchase Authority for Services/Products

  • Finance / Banking
  • Computers
  • Human Resources
  • Internet Services
  • Legal
  • Maintenance
  • Marketing / Advertising
  • Meeting / Accommodations
  • Office Supplies
  • Shipping
  • Tax / Accounting
  • Telecommunications
  • Transportation

Specialty Titles / Job

  • Accountant
  • Administrative Staff
  • Architect
  • Attorney
  • C-Level Executive
  • Consultant
  • Customer Service / Support
  • Designer
  • Department Head
  • Doctor
  • Engineer
  • Financial Advisor
  • Graphic Designer
  • Human Resources Director
  • IT Manager
  • Military
  • Nurse
  • Owner
  • Sales Representative
  • Skilled Tradesman
  • Teacher / Professor
  • Vice President
  • Web / Software Developer

*Don’t see the specific target audience criteria you are looking for? Request a free consultation and we can provide you expert insights on what can be done.

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