About a 2 min. read
If B2B audiences are your target market, then elevating the voice of the customer is critical to make data-driven business decisions. However, when conducting primary research among this audience, many challenges arise in finding, validating, and convincing these busy people to participate. With higher incentives, comes higher-caliber fraudsters; more sophisticated bots, click farms, and bad actors (i.e., Joe Schmo posing as a small business owner to make an extra buck) threaten the quality of insights and stand in the way of you confidently making crucial business decisions. In some cases, data quality issues may result in 50%+ removals.
So how can you feel more comfortable in your quantitative data, especially with lower incidence groups who can feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack? CMB’s 30+ years of experience with a multitude of B2B audiences (from financial advisors to business decision-makers and doctors) can ensure that your research is set up for success. Below are 3 essential ingredients when designing B2B surveys:
- Thoughtful sampling plan: Depending on the approach that makes most sense for your situation, there are several different sources of sample you may consider (e.g., using your customer sample, trusted B2B panel sources, purchased lists or expert networks). The recommended approach will be based heavily on WHO you are trying to reach and WHAT the goals of the research are. For example, while expert networks may run up costs quite significantly, they may be worthwhile in accessing C-suite level participants because many of these sources use a LinkedIn verification processes. On the other hand, CMB may recommend a vetted B2B panel with a track record of recruiting your particular audience. Other considerations include size of sample needed, subgroups of interest, whether conducting a sponsored survey makes sense, appropriate incentive, incidence, etc.
- Dynamic quality control measures: Combatting fraudsters should be a well-thought-out strategy within the research design. Beyond standard quality control checks (e.g., speeders, red herring), CMB has developed in-house automation to identify fraud, such as a response similarity detector to flag potential bots. Using unstructured responses can be a reliable way to detect cheaters and bots, but often is very time intensive to implement. Thus, we’ve built proprietary living libraries of common fraudulent open-end responses for different types of specialty audiences and topic areas, which we automate at scale. Nonetheless, ultimately, this process should be customized to the audience and the specific research goals and as such can be a bit of art and science. Given there can be a bit of a manual process here, having a strong data management team is key.
- Purposeful questionnaire design with the target in mind: There are many aspects to consider in the questionnaire, like length of interview, screener flow, and question structure. Keeping the survey concise is important for reaching these busy people, but the way questions are structured is also critical to both minimize drop out and hinder cheaters. For example, is there a less arduous way to get the same information? Does the phrasing or order of questions give away to fraudsters how to qualify inauthentically?” Further, thoughtful open-ended questions inhibit consumers’ or bots’ ability to guess or make up the answer. However, bots are getting cleverer and may use previously posed questions in the survey to fill in open-end questions; all the more reason to be cautious about the wording and placement so as not to make it easy to game the responses.
The above approach, combined with CMB’s experiences and expertise demonstrates the importance of being creative and flexible when it comes to B2B research design. If you’d like to learn more about how to design the optimal research for your B2B audience, please contact us today!