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Introduction to B2B research - a Market Research Society (MRS) webinar

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Introduction to B2B research - a Market Research Society (MRS) webinar

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In this Market Research Society (MRS) webinar, Andrew Dalglish from specialist B2B market research company Circle Research, provides an introduction to B2B market research. It covers the key principles of B2B market research, how to design a B2B market research project and how to knowledgeably commission a B2B market research project.

In this Market Research Society (MRS) webinar, Andrew Dalglish from specialist B2B market research company Circle Research, provides an introduction to B2B market research. It covers the key principles of B2B market research, how to design a B2B market research project and how to knowledgeably commission a B2B market research project.

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Introduction to B2B research - a Market Research Society (MRS) webinar

  1. 1. Introduction to B2B market research An MRS webinar 17th June 2015
  2. 2. 2 I’m a B2B geek
  3. 3. 3 By the end of this webinar you will: • Know the key principles of B2B research • Be able to design a B2B project • More knowledgably commission a B2B project
  4. 4. 4 Agenda 1. The hidden world of B2B 2. The role of research in B2B 3. Designing a B2B research project 4. Q & A
  5. 5. 5 Agenda 1. The hidden world of B2B 2. The role of research in B2B 3. Designing a B2B research project 4. Q & A
  6. 6. 6 B2B is the purchase of goods and services by one business from another business Sourcing materials for the production process Using services of another business for operational reasons Re-selling goods and services of another business
  7. 7. 7 B2B is bigger than you think Machinery Energy Ingredients Packaging Logistics Financial services Marketing Legal services And many more… …Is enabled by dozens of B2B salesOne B2C sale… Read the full blog post here: http://www.research-live.com/blogs/why-is-b2b-research-the-poor-cousin?/4013170.article
  8. 8. 8 Two fifths of the FTSE100 are pure B2B companies B2B B2C Mixed Amongst top 30 companies in FTSE100…
  9. 9. 9 Online B2B marketplace Alibaba is worth 3x eBay Market cap = $222 bn Market cap = $73 bn Source: Google Finance Data, 11th June 2015
  10. 10. 10 B2B isn’t the poor cousin It’s a powerhouse
  11. 11. 11 The unique features of B2B environments
  12. 12. 12 And it’s better seen as a spectrum, not dichotomy
  13. 13. 13 Never forget – B2B is still about people Compass don’t buy KPMG’s services
  14. 14. 14 Agenda 1. The hidden world of B2B 2. The role of research in B2B 3. Designing a B2B research project 4. Q & A
  15. 15. 15 Only 6% of global research spend is B2B Source: ESOMAR, Global Market Research Report 2014
  16. 16. 16 B2B companies are often sales and ‘engineering’ led B2B purchases are seen as ‘rational’ “I know my customer” Customer numbers are limited and relationships close “I’ll ask them next time we speak” “What we do is too complex – ‘outsiders’ don’t get it” “It’s obvious what they want” “We built the product together” Customer choice is more limited “That’s my customer” “They’re not going anywhere” Why isn’t research as popular in B2B?
  17. 17. 17 But research is used Business goal Research focus Trend analysis and thought leadership Product and proposition development Needs, wants and market segmentation Price modelling Decision making journeys Marcomms development and testing Brand development and testing Wins and losses reviews Customer satisfaction Employee satisfaction Monitor trends and develop a point-of-view A proposition which appeals Optimal pricing strategy Engage the right people Use the right messages and channels Correctly position the brand Win the business Optimise customer loyalty and share-of-wallet Optimise the employee experience
  18. 18. 18 Agenda 1. The hidden world of B2B 2. The role of research in B2B 3. Designing a B2B research project 4. Q & A
  19. 19. 19 Unique features of B2B research Analysis Methodology • Often mixed methodology • More likely to use: • Desk research and expert interviews • Tele-depths and CATI • Less likely to use focus groups and online panels Sampling • Smaller sample sizes: • 30 – 50 per cell in quant • 8 – 10 per cell in qual • Aligned to firmographics • Decision Making Unit (DMU) represented Fieldwork • International scope common • Hard-to-reach: relationships used & heavy incentivisation • Questioning more ‘functional’ & interviewer subject expert • Anonymity often waived • Revenue weighting • Key Accounts may be viewed in isolation Projectmanagement Internalstakeholdermanagementcritical Industryandsubjectmatterexpertisecritical Projecttimelinestendtobelonger
  20. 20. 20 Think about who you should be surveying Board of Directors CIO IT Director IT Manager IT team 3rd party consultants End users Over-rule or amendSponsor, approve and fund Input, inform and vet Lead decision Gather information and inform Advise and influence Lobby
  21. 21. 21 Think about how you incentivise them £ • Personal incentive most effective (direct or prize draw) • Charity donations less effective but do help • Beware of bribery laws i • Learning about ‘inside track’ often more persuasive than £ • Exclusive summary report of findings also effective • Leveraging relationship works best of all
  22. 22. 22 Be comfortable deviating from the normal ‘rules’ • Imagine all UK citizens are in target market • 64.1 million potential consumers in the UK • Interview 0.003% of them (2,000) • Margin of error = 2.19% • Imagine targeting just FTSE 100 CFOs • 100 potential customers in the UK • Interview 65% of them (65) • Margin of error = 7.23% In B2B, small target markets and practical constraints mean that you sometimes need to accept small sample sizes and deviate from normal statistical rules
  23. 23. 23 Get their explicit permission to waive anonymity • Waiving anonymity allows positive action to be taken • Can also be essential to understanding research findings in small markets • Respondents usually see benefit and happy to do so • Remember, this is still not a permission to sell “Members must ensure that the anonymity of participants is preserved unless participants have given their informed consent for their details to be revealed or for attributable comments to be passed on” If permission denied, then be careful not to inadvertently breach anonymity as sample sizes can be small
  24. 24. 24 End-to-end design: ask yourself four key questions 1. What’s my business driver and what do I need to find out? 2. Where are, or who has, the answers? 3. How am I going to extract the information? 4. How am I going to persuade them to support me?
  25. 25. 25 What’s my business driver and what do I need to find out? Question Answer Tips What business decisions are we informing? B2B audiences are often time poor so research questioning needs to be focussed. If you won’t use the information, don’t ask the question. What specific information is needed? What outcome will each piece of information inform?
  26. 26. 26 Where are, or who has, the answers? Question Answer Tips What types of companies are we interested in? Think about different country markets, industry sectors, company sizes and an organisation’s relationship with you (customer/lapsed/prospect, contribution to revenue, strategic importance) What does the Decision Making Unit (DMU) and user base look like? Think about who leads, influences and authorises decisions as well as who else is touched by your product/service Are there any hidden influencers or people we touch? Third parties (e.g. consultants, specifiers) may well influence decisions and your product/service may touch non-core users whose opinion is important (e.g. those using the output of the product user creates) Of all these individuals, whose opinion or behaviour do we need to understand? The most senior person is not always the most influential. Think about who really calls the shots Are any of these individuals more important than others? Overall, how many companies and people do we estimate are in the target audience? ONS and EUROSTAT data provides detailed breakdowns of economic structures and sources such as marketingfile.com can give counts of people meeting your audience definition
  27. 27. 27 How am I going to extract the information? Question Answer Tips Would any secondary information or internal analyses support our understanding? With the primary research, do we need a rich understanding or hard numbers? If qualitative, are there any constraints on our approach? The two main qualitative methodologies are focus groups and in-depth interviews. To choose, think about whether respondents are especially time poor or geographically dispersed, and whether the topic is commercially sensitive. If quantitative, how will we access them? An online survey is the cheapest option and offers more flexibility in survey design. Consider whether each of the four main online access routes would work – email via your database, via partners (trade media/bodies), social media (e.g. LinkedIn groups) or via specialist panels. If not, then a telephone approach will be necessary How many respondents can practically be recruited and will this allow analysis by important sub-groups? Aim for a low margin of error where possible but recognise that this isn’t always possible in B2B research. As a rule of thumb, 30 – 50 quant interviews or 8 – 10 qual interviews are needed for indicative sub-group analysis If quantitative, how are we going to make the sample representative of our market or our customer base? Your internal sales data, ONS and EUROSTAT can be used to determine the customer base/market structure and determine quotas/weighting How are we going to probe beyond over-rationalised, ‘functional’ answers? To bypass the ‘rational’ mind consider using statistical techniques (e.g. regression) and creative qualitative exercises (e.g. brand planets)
  28. 28. 28 How am I going to persuade them to support me? Question Answer Tips Who holds the relationship with these people? Involve those holding customer relationships early as they can act as blockers If relevant, how are we going to get past gate-keepers? How are we going to persuade people to support us? The main incentives in B2B are an interesting topic, a personal relationship, access to exclusive information based on the survey, personal financial reward, charity donations and prize draws. Relationships, information and personal financial reward tend to be most effective Do any incentives comply with corporate and legal guidelines? In B2B bribery laws can sometimes prevent the use of certain incentives. If you’re in the middle of a bid process with a client/prospect, incentives may also be inappropriate. What time frame is realistic? Remember that B2B respondents are hard to access and time poor so extended fieldwork periods are needed. As a rule of thumb allow 2 – 3 weeks fieldwork for quant studies and 3 – 4 weeks fieldwork for qual studies
  29. 29. 29 Agenda 1. The hidden world of B2B 2. The role of research in B2B 3. Designing a B2B research project 4. Q & A
  30. 30. 30 @circle_research www.circle-research.com
  31. 31. Cert. 0504 For details please contact: Andrew.dalglish@circle-research.com +44 (0) 20 7960 3802

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