B2B (business-to-business) qualitative research is paving its way in the business world, and it looks like the data obtained in the process of such research can make a significant difference. Qualitative data relates to deep sentiments, reflection, reasoning, and ideas that can even not be realized by their owners. 

This type of business research is conducted when a business needs to mine the data about other companies and organizations, which may include partners, suppliers, competitors, or relations to target markets. B2B qualitative research is also used when you need help with the survey process and you use such services that are provided by external specialists or companies.

To Unlock Hidden Insights, Use a Variety of Techniques

There are various methods that may reveal latent insights and hidden opportunities. One of such methods uses “image sorting” in order to search for connections between two or more things. For example, you may show images of different people and ask respondents if they can be associated with your product.

Another method implies “inversion” to hit the respondent’s brain from the other side. This may puzzle respondents, nevertheless, their answers may show what has to be improved. Even the respondents’ description of many small negative details may show the right way how to tune your product, brand, or overall company performance.

Analogies and personifications may be helpful when you are choosing questions for your survey. Ask respondents what or whom they associate your brand with. Also, ask them to describe that in detail or propose that they compare a brand to other things like a person, country, or universe.

B2B qualitative research may also be partly or solely focused on role play and imaginary scenarios. Allow your respondents to develop their own scenarios of brand, company, or even the whole industry development. Propose them to play the role of company executive or decision-maker. 

Speaking with Customers and Prospects Is Not Enough

These methods may be used quite effectively to question internal stakeholders about business performance, target audience, or teamwork. For example, call centre employees may tell you about the most important problems faced by the clients.

By internal stakeholders, we mean organizational departments, managers, and even teams that work on short-term projects. B2B qualitative surveys are important because they gather data related to internal knowledge that may be latent or implicit. 

The aims of qualitative B2B surveys within the internal environment of an organization or a company may correlate with external quantitative surveys. Data gathered in the process of an internal survey may be used as a background for an external survey among customers and clients. 

Qualitative Interviewers and Moderators Should be Independent and Skilled

If your company doesn’t have a research department or a skilled surveyor it is recommended to use the services of external companies that specialize in survey conduction as benefits are clearly visible here.

Besides avoidance of biases that internal interviewers may have, third parties that specialize in B2B qualitative research may provide the following benefits: respondents’ head-hunting, avoidance of leading questions, and appreciation of the context. 

Another good reason to use third parties’ services is respondents’ preconception that product or brand owners are intended to gather “favourable data”. In other words, many clients, customers, prospects, and users of your products use to think that surveys and interviews conducted by third parties are going to be more reliable and transparent.