What is Executive Interviewing? | How to Survey Hard-to-Reach B2B Professionals

Generally, market research surveys aim to reach decision-makers, whether this is household consumers or corporate professionals. When comparing B2B and B2C audiences, however, corporate B2B customers can be much harder to reach.

Executive interviewing is based on the notion of surveying high-level business professionals. However because this audience works in a business environment, high response rates can be much harder to achieve. This is perhaps the biggest challenge when conducting in-depth interviews with executive professionals. 

In this blog post, our B2B market research firm will discuss the basics of executive interviewing, how best to recruit these hard-to-reach executives, and what the process of an executive interviewing study looks like. 

how to survey hard to reach b2b professionals_drive research

A successful executive interviewing study relies on feedback from B2B professionals who are notoriously hard-to-reach. Learn how our B2B market research firm can help.

What is Executive Interviewing?

Executive interviewing involves an interviewer speaking with business professionals or experts within a particular industry. 

Corporate decision-makers often include titles such as Owners, Presidents, Vice Presidents, CEO’s and CFO’s – all titles who have the power to decide where their budget dollars will be spent and what direction they’d like their organization to grow in.

For this reason, many B2B businesses are hoping to speak to these c-level executives to better understand their goals, budgets, and needs for the coming month, quarter, and year. So much so, many B2B organizations hire market research firms to either recruit business professionals to take part in an interview or administer the entire executive interview process. 

Learn more about what makes B2B market research different

How are Executive Interviews Conducted?

An executive interview typically involves a professional interviewer asking corporate decision-makers a series of questions by phone or in-person. If done in person, the interview can take place at a market research facility, the participant’s office, or a common meeting ground. 

The advantage of conducting executive market research in-person or over the phone instead of online channels is because it allows for more in-depth and detailed feedback.

A professional interview can follow a discussion guide set forth by either the sponsor of the research or the market research firm. If a c-level professional answer the questions do not offer a lengthy response, the interviewer can simply ask the participant to elaborate at their answer. This is a luxury that cannot be had through email or online surveys.

How to Recruit B2B Professionals for Research

The biggest challenge of conducting executive interviews is achieving a high response rate. Because business professionals likely have busy work and home lives, it can be difficult for them to set aside an hour of their time to answer interview questions. Our market research company often recommends offering this type of audience a reward or incentive for participating in the market research study. If the stipend is high enough, recruiting B2B professionals will become a lot easier.

The prize offered for participating in an executive interview can vary as it is dependent on a number of different factors.

  • Is the interview in-person or over the phone?
  • If it is in-person, does the B2B participant have to travel to participate?
  • How long is the executive interview?
  • Is the interview during business hours or after business hours?

The answers to these questions can either lower or increase the amount offered.

Another great resource for recruiting B2B professionals is a market research firm. A B2B market research company like Drive Research can handle as little or as much of the executive interview project as you need.

If you are just looking for help with the recruitment of c-level executives, Drive Research can implement a two-tiered recruitment approach with paid social media advertisements and our in-house panel. Drive Research will screen all potential participants to ensure they are qualified for the study and schedule the time of the interview at the facility of your choosing.

Our team uses a mix of phone calls, email, calendar invitations, and a text message the day of the interview to verify they will be in attendance. This process has proven to combat the usual low-show rates seen in executive interviewing recruitment.

There is also the option of a market research firm administering the project from recruitment, to interviewing, to a detail report of the findings. This is beneficial in blinding the study so that participants are unbiased and objective. If the research is branded with your company’s logo or a member of your team is conducting the interviews, participants are less likely to give their most genuine feedback.

It is better to interview executives when they are clueless to the point of the study to ensure their commentary is most closely aligned to their true opinions.

Process of an Executive Interviewing Study

The process of an executive interview research study with our market research firm follows an organized and structured timeline. After the proposal for your executive interviewing study is approved, Drive Research will schedule a meeting to discuss objectives,  project timeline, recommendation for incentives, and more.  

After the kick-off meeting, the executive interviewing project beings. This includes:

  • Drafting a copy of the executive interview script and share with your team for approval
  • Finalize the executive interview script and review content for initial outreach to participants
  • Create screener survey for potential participants to complete during recruitment
  • Qualified participants receive a follow-up phone call to confirm credentials
  • If qualified for the executive interview, executives are scheduled for an interview  
  • Conduct interviews by phone or in-person
  • Summarize findings of the executive interviews and draft research report
  • Meet with your team to discuss findings from the study, key takeaways, and answer any questions

The report in which your team receives for the executive interview study can be as detailed or as summarized as you wish. Many of our reports include an executive summary, background and methodology, infographic or dashboard, recommendations with action items, and an appendix with question by questions results.

Contact Drive Research

Drive Research is a market research company located in Syracuse, NY. Our team specializes in recruiting and administering interviews for executive and B2B professionals. 

Interested in learning more about our executive interviewing services? Reach out through any of the four ways below.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at info@driveresearch.com
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

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