If you're in the world of B2B business, you know how important it is to understand your market well. An effective way to do that is with B2B market research. It's like having a roadmap for making smart decisions.
But guess what? The secret sauce lies in the B2B market research questions you ask.
In this post, we're going to take a closer look at how to create the best questions, the importance of doing so, and real-world examples.
What Is B2B Market Research?
B2B market research refers to the process of gathering and analyzing information about a specific business-to-business (B2B) market in order to gain insights and make informed decisions.
In B2B markets, businesses sell products or services to other businesses rather than directly to individual consumers. Market research in this context helps companies understand their target audience, competitors, industry trends, and other relevant factors that influence their business strategies.
With the data collected, said business can use it to improve marketing objectives and other key branding goals because it reveals information about customer satisfaction, competitors, new product development, and more.
Importance of Asking the Right B2B Market Research Questions
Asking the right B2B market research questions is crucial because the quality of the questions directly influences the quality of the insights and information you gather.
Effective market research questions help you gain a deep understanding of your target B2B market, competitors, customers, and industry trends. Here's why asking the right questions is so important:
Identifying Customer Needs
The best market research questions help you uncover the specific needs and pain points of your B2B customers. And by understanding these needs, you can better tailor your products or services to better meet customer demands.
With customer satisfaction being the foundation of all thriving businesses, it makes prioritizing these types of questions all that more important.
It is very important our market research company provides clients with accurate data to inform critical business decisions when we design our B2B surveys.
That's because asking the right questions helps you gather the necessary information to make informed choices about product development, marketing strategies, pricing, and more.
Additionally, market research can help validate or challenge your existing assumptions about the market. Asking the right questions ensures that you're getting accurate feedback to guide your decisions.
It's likely why 63% of marketing professionals have upped their budget to use data-driven strategies so that they can better understand customers.
Accurate Data Collection
Well-crafted B2B market research questions ensure that you collect accurate and relevant data from your research participants or respondents.
If your questions are unclear or biased, the responses you receive may not accurately reflect the reality of the market.
Whereas, asking neutral and open-ended questions minimizes the likelihood of skewed results and provides a more accurate representation of your target audience.
B2B Market Research Questions Best Practices
As we've discussed, writing effective B2B market research questions is essential to gathering valuable insights that can guide your business strategies. Here are some best practices to consider when designing an online survey, interviewer's guide, or other research tools.
Keep Questions Clear and Concise
This goes for any kind of market research!
Questions that are clunky or poorly written will turn away respondents. Ensure they're succinct and convey a message. That way, you won't have respondents guessing about how to best answer them or exit the survey altogether.
As researchers, we spend plenty of time thoroughly reviewing questions before they're launched. This eliminates respondent drop-off and ensures better responses.
Strategically Use Open-Ended and Closed-Ended Questions
B2B market research questions can be open and closed-ended, but this has to be done carefully.
Chances are, you answered both of these types of questions at some point.
- Open-ended questions feature a blank text box for respondents to fill in an answer
- Closed-ended questions force respondents to choose between answers
While this type of questioning is beneficial, programming too many of them isn't ideal. We’ll briefly cover these B2B market research methods and how they can affect your survey.
Open-ended questions are more prone to respondent drop-off. Why? It's as simple as they may just not feel like typing in a response.
They also require more time for clean-up. Meaning, researchers will have to sift through more grammatical errors and related issues.
Close-ended questions, on the other hand, are limited in how you can respond. This is both good and bad, depending on the topic.
The good thing is, respondents don't have to think too hard about their responses and can quickly provide their feedback.
The bad thing is, respondents can't explain anything about why they chose an answer. And let's say a respondent is confused by a question. Because they can't elaborate on their response, they may end up answering "incorrectly."
💡 Pro tip
B2B open-ended and close-ended questions should be placed carefully throughout a survey. They certainly serve a purpose, but asking too little or too many can harm the data.
For this reason, our online survey company recommends 1 open-ended survey question for every 10 close-ended survey questions - with a maximum of 3 to 4 open-ended questions.
Avoid Leading or Biased Questions
B2B marketing research is based on honesty.
This is why it's important to stay away from "leading" respondents to a conclusion when answering questions.
By asking loaded questions, researchers can taint the authenticity of their responses and tarnish the data as a result.
After all, questions in market research are designed to gather actionable data. Not surprisingly, this isn't possible if the respondent is feeling pushed into answering a certain way.
Consider the Order and Flow of Questions
B2B market research questions should follow a certain order to make sense.
You don't want to jump from topic to topic. Not only will this throw off your respondents, but this can affect response quality. After all, a confused respondent is not going to give the best answer.
Additionally, it's important to avoid order bias. This occurs when respondents feel they should answer a certain way based on how the questions are ordered.
The good news here is that this issue is typically easy to spot prior to the survey launching. And it's all the easier if you're working with a team like Drive Research to point it out.
That said, order bias should still be taken into account when crafting these surveys.
Pretest Questions Before Full-Scale Deployment
It's important B2B market research questions are tested before they're launched.
This can be done not only by carefully reviewing but also by soft-launching the survey. A soft launch is when the survey is released only to a small pool of respondents versus the entire set.
By pre-testing B2B market research questions, you can weed out:
- Poor wording or survey flow
- Routing/technical issues
- Any issues or confusion in the questions
Based on the results of the soft launch you can make any necessary adjustments before continuing.
Types of B2B Market Research Questions
When conducting a B2B survey, it's key to understand the different types of questions asked and what they cover.
We'll cover a few main question types below.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
A net promoter score measures the overall satisfaction of something–in this case, a business.
Asked via a rating scale, NPS responses are divided into three categories:
- Promoters: These respondents are big fans of the business and will spread the word about how much they love it.
- Passives: This group is right in the middle of the promoter and detractors. They don’t actively like or dislike the business but could be swayed to go elsewhere.
- Detractors: These are the opposite of passive respondents. They are not fans of the company and may speak negatively about it.
Overall, measuring NPS will tell businesses how they can better their services and keep more customers.
Asking customer satisfaction questions in a B2B market research survey offers several valuable benefits for businesses looking to understand and improve their relationships with clients.
The benefits of asking these types of questions include:
- Insight into customer perception
- Identify strengths and weaknesses
- Benchmark performance
- Prioritize improvement areas
- Enhance customer retention and loyalty
Lastly, including demographic survey questions in a B2B market research survey is important to gain a clear understanding of the characteristics and profiles of the respondents.
Demographic information such as industry, company size, job role, and geographic location helps segment and analyze data, enabling businesses to tailor their strategies, products, and services to better match the needs and preferences of specific B2B customer groups.
This enhances the relevance and effectiveness of the research outcomes in driving informed decision-making.
Comparisons to Competitors
Asking questions about competitors in a B2B market research survey is crucial for understanding the competitive landscape and gaining insights into how your business stacks up against others.
This information helps identify your competitive advantages and areas for improvement, informs strategic decisions, and enables you to tailor your offerings to better address the needs and preferences of your target B2B market, ultimately fostering a stronger market position.
Example B2B Market Research Questions
Before diving into designing your B2B market research questions, spend time thinking about your overall project and what you want the data to reveal. Consider your objectives, existing data, target respondent, and your main goals before beginning.
To help get you started, here are a few example B2B market research questions that cover different categories:
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how satisfied are you with our products/services?
- What aspects of our offerings do you find most valuable?
- What improvements or additions would you like to see in our products/services?
- Are you aware of the following organizations?
- How would you rate [X Company] compared to [Y Company] in terms of quality?
- What factors influence your choice between [X Company] and [Y Company]?
- What specific features of our products/services do you find most beneficial for your business?
- Are there any functionalities you feel are lacking in our offerings?
- How does the pricing of our products/services compare to their value for your business?
- How do you prefer to receive information about new products or updates from our company?
- Have you participated in any of our webinars or events? If yes, what did you find most valuable?
- What is your company's industry?
- What is your role within the company?
- How many employees does your company have?
- In which geographic region is your company located?
In the realm of B2B market research, the significance of well-crafted questions cannot be overstated. They are the foundation upon which your decisions are built – decisions that can steer your company toward growth, innovation, and lasting success.
For the best results, consider working with a B2B market research company like Drive Research. Our market research team can help with every aspect of the study including designing, programming, fielding, and analyzing surveys as well as other methodologies such as focus groups, in-depth interviews, and more.
You will be equipped with the right questions, an art backed by science, and a bridge connecting your business goals with actionable insights.
Drive Research is a national market research company with 80+ years of combined experience working with B2B businesses. Our team of researchers will create the ideal market research project based on the needs of your company.
If you’d like to learn more about our market research services, get in touch with us through any of the ways listed below.
- Message us on our website
- Email us at [email protected]
- Call us at 888-725-DATA
- Text us at 315-303-2040
As a Content Marketing Specialist, Lark has a strong background and passion for creative, professional, and journalistic writing. She is also a self-proclaimed music freak and 90s enthusiast.
Learn more about Lark, here.