Expert Guide to B2B Survey Techniques for Growth
Imagine a world where you could predict market trends with accuracy, where you could fine-tune your products to meet customers’ needs, and where employee satisfaction soared to new heights, resulting in unparalleled productivity.
This is the world of B2B surveys, where data brings insights.
Although this guide is long, we aim to give you everything you need to develop an effective B2B survey.
Let’s get to it!
Why Are B2B Surveys Important?
Before we dive deeper, let’s discuss why B2B surveys matter. These surveys are not just questionnaires. Instead, they are powerful tools that enable you to make informed decisions based on the collective voices of your stakeholders.
From customers to employees, suppliers to partners, the significance of the insights you’ll gain cannot be overstated.
Let’s kick things off by discussing how to set up your survey.
Setting Your B2B Survey For Success
Defining Survey Goals and Objectives
The first step in setting up your B2B survey is to define your survey goals and objectives. Don’t overlook this step.
- What do you want to learn from your survey?
- What actions do you plan to take based on the results?
Your survey goals and objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).
For example, instead of saying, “I want to improve customer satisfaction,” you could say, “I want to increase customer satisfaction by 5% in the next quarter.”
Identifying the Target Audience for B2B Surveys
The next step is determining your target audience. This is important for your internal teams and external partners, which we’ll discuss in the Targeting and Sampling Section.
- Who are you trying to reach with your survey?
- Are you targeting current customers, potential customers, or industry experts?
Be specific. Think about demographics, psychographics, segmentation, etc.
Once you know your target audience, you can tailor your survey questions to their needs and interests.
For example, if you are surveying current customers, you might ask questions about their satisfaction with your products and services. But if you are surveying potential customers, you might ask questions about their needs and pain points.
Establishing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
The third step is establishing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). You can use KPIs to track your survey’s success (during and post-survey). Your KPIs should match your goals and target audience.
Some common KPIs for B2B surveys include:
- Response rate: The percentage of people who received your survey and completed it.
- Completion rate: The percentage of people who started your survey and completed it.
- Average time to complete the survey: The average time it takes people to complete your survey.
- Net Promoter Score (NPS): A measure of customer loyalty and satisfaction.
You can also use KPIs to track the impact of your survey results.
For example, you could track how your survey results have affected customer satisfaction, sales, or website traffic.
By setting clear B2B survey objectives and establishing KPIs, you can ensure that your survey is effective and that you collect the data you need to make informed business decisions.
Crafting Effective B2B Survey Experience
By carefully crafting your survey, you can learn more about their needs, pain points, and preferences. This information can then be used to improve your products and services, develop more effective marketing campaigns, and make better business decisions.
Choosing the Right B2B Survey Methodology
The first step in creating an effective B2B survey is to choose the right methodology. There are three main types of surveys:
- Online surveys: Online surveys are the most common type of B2B survey, and they are relatively easy to create and distribute. However, it is important to note that online surveys can have lower response rates than other methods.
- Email surveys: Email surveys are another popular option for B2B surveys. They are relatively inexpensive to distribute and can be targeted to specific groups of respondents. However, email surveys can also be ignored or deleted, so writing a compelling subject line and email body is important.
- Phone surveys: Phone surveys are the most time-consuming and expensive type of B2B survey but have the highest response rates. Phone surveys can also collect more in-depth information than online or email surveys.
|Online Surveys||– Cost-effective |
– Easy to distribute
– Allows for multimedia
– Can reach a large audience
|– Lower response rates |
– Limited control over respondents
– Potential for survey fatigue
|Email Surveys||– Relatively inexpensive |
– Targeted distribution
– Allows for follow-up
– Higher response rates than online
|– Risk of being ignored or deleted |
– Limited to respondents with email access
– Potential for bias in the sample
|Phone Surveys||– High response rates |
– In-depth data collection
– Personalized interaction
– Ideal for complex surveys
|– Expensive and time-consuming |
– Limited to smaller sample sizes
– May encounter respondent bias
– Data collection challenges
The best methodology for your B2B survey will depend on your budget, target audience, and the information you are trying to collect.
Writing Well-Structured B2B Survey Questions
Once you have chosen a methodology, it is time to start writing your survey questions. There are a few key things to keep in mind when writing survey questions:
- Ask clear and concise questions: Respondents should be able to understand your questions without any difficulty.
- Avoid leading questions: Leading questions are designed to elicit a specific response from the respondent. For example, instead of asking, “Do you like our product?” you should ask, “How satisfied are you with our product?”
- Use a variety of question types: There are many different types of survey questions, such as open-ended questions, closed-ended questions, Likert scale questions, and multiple-choice questions. Using a variety of question types will help you to collect a wider range of data.
Types of B2B Survey Questions
Below are four of the most common types of B2B survey questions:
- Open-ended questions: Open-ended questions allow respondents to provide their own answers. They are useful for gathering in-depth feedback and insights.
- Closed-ended questions: Closed-ended questions require respondents to choose from pre-determined answers. They are useful for gathering quantitative data.
- Likert scale questions: Likert scale questions ask respondents to rate their agreement or disagreement with a statement on a scale of 1 to 5. They are useful for gathering ordinal data.
- Multiple choice questions: Multiple choice questions require respondents to choose one or more answers from a list of predetermined options. They are useful for gathering categorical data.
Avoiding Bias in B2B Survey Questions
It is important to avoid bias in your survey questions. Bias can occur when you write questions that influence respondents to answer a certain way.
For example, the question “How satisfied are you with our product?” is biased because it assumes that the respondent is satisfied with the product.
A more unbiased question would be, “How would you rate your satisfaction with our product?”
To avoid bias in your survey questions, consider the following tips:
- Avoid using leading questions.
- Use neutral language.
- Avoid making assumptions about the respondent’s knowledge or beliefs.
- Balance positive and negative questions.
- Pilot-test your survey questions with a small group of people to identify any potential bias.
Creating a Logical Survey Flow
The flow of your survey is important because it can affect the response rate and the quality of the data you collect. There are different philosophies for creating the flow of your survey. But here’s what we consider an optimal design.
When designing your survey, start with a few screening questions to ensure you are surveying the right people.
Then, ask your most important questions first.
Finally, end with a few demographic questions.
And if you’re seeing people drop out of your surveys, consider adjusting your question flow.
Determining the Optimal Length for Surveys
The optimal length for a B2B survey will depend on your target audience and the type of information you are trying to collect. And it’s tough to get correct.
However, most B2B surveys should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete. If your survey is too long, respondents are more likely to abandon it.
Leveraging B2B Survey Providers
Defining Your Target Audience for B2B Survey Providers
If you need access to a large audience, you’ll often need support from a survey provider.
When working with a B2B survey provider, the first step is to communicate the definition of your target audience.
- What industries are you targeting?
- What company sizes are you targeting?
- What job titles are you targeting?
- What locations are you targeting?
Once you have defined your target audience, the B2B survey provider can help you to identify a panel of respondents that meets your criteria.
B2B survey providers typically have access to large panels of respondents from various industries and job titles.
Sampling Methods for B2B Surveys (Random, Stratified, Cluster, etc.)
B2B survey providers can use various sampling methods to select respondents from their panel. The best method for your survey will depend on your target audience and the type of data you are trying to collect.
Some of the most common sampling methods used by B2B survey providers include:
- Random sampling: Involves selecting respondents from the panel to give everyone an equal chance of being selected. This is the most common type of sampling method and is generally considered the most accurate.
- Stratified sampling: Involves dividing the panel into different groups (strata) and randomly selecting respondents from each stratum. This method is useful to ensure that all segments of your target audience are represented in your sample.
- Cluster sampling: Involves dividing the panel into groups (clusters) and then randomly selecting clusters to survey. This method is less expensive and time-consuming than random sampling and less accurate.
Calculating the Ideal Sample Size for B2B Surveys
Generally, as you increase the sample size, you increase the confidence level. So, the ideal sample size for your B2B survey will depend on the desired level of precision and confidence.
You will usually need more than 100 participants. So work with your B2B survey provider to determine the ideal sample size for your survey.
Ensuring Data Validity and Reliability
Data validity and reliability are important considerations for any survey but are especially important for B2B surveys. B2B surveys are often used to make important business decisions, so ensuring that the data is accurate and reliable is crucial.
B2B survey providers have procedures in place to ensure data validity and reliability. For example, they may use duplicate checking to identify and remove duplicate responses (same IP address). They may also use data cleaning to remove incomplete or inaccurate responses.
In addition to the procedures used by B2B survey providers, you can also take steps to ensure data validity and reliability in your survey. Some tips include:
- Use a clear and concise survey design: Your survey should be easy to understand and complete.
- Use various question types: This will help you collect a range of data and reduce bias.
- Asking one question twice but wording it differently: When you ask the same question but change the wording, if a response changes, there’s an indication that it’s a bot or someone not paying attention (not caring) about the responses they provide.
- Checking the completion time: If your survey should take 8-12 minutes to complete, anything outside those times should be a red flag.
- Pilot test your survey: Test it with a small group before launching it to your target audience. This will help you to identify any potential problems and make necessary adjustments.
By working with a reputable B2B survey provider and following these tips, you can ensure that your B2B survey is well-targeted and that the data you collect is valid and reliable.
At 10EQS, we’ll work with you to ensure your B2B survey is executed accurately and within budget. We’ll get the insights you need to make data-backed decisions.
Selecting Effective Survey Distribution Channels
The best survey distribution channels for your B2B survey will depend on your target audience and the type of survey you are conducting. However, some common survey distribution channels for B2B surveys include:
Email: Email is a popular survey distribution channel because it lets you reach many people relatively cheaply. However, it is essential to note that email response rates can be low, so it is crucial to personalize your email invitations and offer incentives to respondents.
Website: You can also distribute your survey on your company website. This can be an excellent way to reach potential customers and industry experts. However, ensuring that your survey is easy to find and complete is critical.
Social media: Social media can be an excellent way to reach a large audience with your survey. However, it is vital to choose the right social media platform for your target audience and create an engaging and shareable survey.
Paid advertising: You can also use paid advertising to distribute your survey. This can be a good way to reach a targeted audience, but can also be expensive.
You might use a combination of the distribution methods depending on your needs.
Personalization and Incentives for B2B Survey Panels
Every time you send out a survey, try to personalize it as much as possible. Personalization and incentives can help to increase response rates for your B2B survey.
Here are two tips:
- Personalize your email invitations and survey landing pages: Use the respondent’s name and other relevant information to make your survey more relevant to them.
- Offer incentives to respondents: This could include a gift card, a discount on your products or services, or a chance to win a prize.
B2B Survey Data Analysis
Data Collection Best Practices for B2B Surveys
To ensure the accuracy and reliability of your B2B survey data, it is important to follow best practices for data collection. Here are a few tips:
- Use a reputable survey platform: A good one will have various features to help you collect accurate data, such as duplicate checking and data cleaning.
- Design your survey carefully: Use clear and concise language, and avoid leading questions.
- Pilot test your survey with a small group: Testing with a small group will help you to identify any potential problems and make necessary adjustments.
Data Cleaning and Validation in Survey Insights
Once you have collected your survey data, cleaning and validating it before conducting any analysis is important. This involves removing incomplete or inaccurate responses and correcting any errors.
You can use multiple tools and techniques to clean and validate your data.
For example, you can use statistical software to identify outliers and inconsistencies. You can also use manual review to identify and correct errors.
Data Triangulation Using Subject Matter Expert (SME) Interviews
Data triangulation is using multiple data sources to verify and validate your findings. One way to triangulate your data is to interview subject matter experts.
Subject matter experts can provide contextual insights into your data and help you to interpret your findings. They can also help you to identify any potential biases in your data.
For example, we conducted a large survey for a B2B hospitality client. Post-survey, we presented the results to potential clients of the company and asked specific questions to validate the results and gain more context.
By following these tips, you can conduct a thorough and insightful analysis of your B2B survey data. This data can inform your business decisions and improve your products and services.
Diverse Use Cases for B2B Surveys
Companies use B2B surveys for many different reasons. You can use a survey to collect those insights if you want feedback from a specific group. However, here are the most common reasons our clients have used surveys.
1. Market Research and Competitive Analysis
B2B surveys can gather insights into your target market and competitive landscape. For example, you could use surveys to learn about your customers’ needs and preferences, identify new market opportunities, or track your competitors’ performance.
2. Product Development and Improvement
B2B surveys can be used to gather feedback on your products and services. This feedback can be used to improve your existing products and services, to develop new products and services, or to prioritize your product development roadmap.
3. Employee Engagement and Satisfaction Surveys
B2B surveys can be used to measure employee engagement and satisfaction. This information can improve your company culture, identify improvement areas, and make your employees more productive and engaged.
4. Supplier and Partner Feedback Surveys
B2B surveys can be used to gather feedback from your suppliers and partners. This feedback can improve your relationships with your suppliers and partners, identify improvement areas, and ensure you meet their needs.
5. Sales and Lead Generation
B2B surveys can be used to generate sales leads and to qualify existing leads. For example, you could use surveys to identify potential customers interested in your products or services or to learn more about the needs of your existing leads.
6. Industry Trends and Benchmarking
B2B surveys can track industry trends and benchmark your company’s performance against other companies in your industry. This information can be used to make informed business decisions and to stay ahead of the competition.
Examples Of How B2B Surveys Can Be Used
- A software company could use surveys to gather customer feedback about their satisfaction with its products and services. This feedback could then improve the company’s products and services.
- A manufacturing company could use surveys to gather feedback from its suppliers about their satisfaction with the company’s relationship. This feedback could then improve the company’s relationships with its suppliers.
- A sales team could use surveys to generate sales leads by identifying potential customers interested in the company’s products or services.
- A marketing team could use surveys to track industry trends and to benchmark competitors.
Businesses can make informed business decisions and improve their products and services by using surveys to collect feedback from customers, employees, suppliers, and partners.
Overcoming Common Challenges with B2B Surveys
Strategies for Addressing Low Response Rates in B2B Surveys
Low response rates are a common challenge for B2B surveys. There are many strategies that you can use to improve your response rates, including:
- Segment your audience: Tailor your survey to your target audience’s needs and interests.
- Personalize your email invitations: Use the respondent’s name and other relevant information to make your survey more relevant to them.
- Offer incentives to respondents: This could include a gift card, a discount on your products or services, or a chance to win a prize.
- Keep your survey short and to the point: Respondents are likelier to complete a survey if it is short and easy to understand.
- Send follow-up emails to non-respondents: Be careful not to overdo it, but sending one or two follow-up emails can help to increase your response rate.
Mitigating Survey Fatigue
Survey fatigue is another common challenge for B2B surveys. Respondents are more likely to abandon a survey if they are asked too many questions or if the survey is too long.
There are several ways to mitigate survey fatigue, including:
- Keep your survey short and to the point: Only ask questions essential to your research.
- Use various question types: This will help make your survey more engaging and less repetitive.
- Provide optional breaks: If your survey is long, give respondents the option to take breaks during your survey.
- Use a progress bar: This will help respondents to see how far they are along in the survey and to stay motivated.
Ensuring Data Privacy and Compliance (GDPR, CCPA, etc.)
It is important to ensure that your B2B surveys comply with all applicable data privacy laws and regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).
There are several things you can do to ensure data privacy and compliance, including:
- Obtain consent from respondents: Before sending out your survey, obtain consent from respondents to collect and use their data.
- Be transparent about data use: Explain to respondents how you will use their data and protect their privacy.
- Give respondents control over their data: Allow them to access, correct, and delete their data anytime.
- Use a secure survey platform: Choose a survey platform with security measures to protect your data.
Effectively Handling Negative Feedback
Negative feedback can be difficult to hear, but it is important to handle it effectively. Here are a few tips:
- Acknowledge the feedback: Let the respondent know you appreciate their feedback, even if it is negative.
- Investigate the issue: Look into the issue raised by the respondent and try to understand their perspective.
- Take action to address the issue: If the respondent has a valid complaint, take steps to address it.
- Follow up with the respondent: Let them know your steps to address their complaint and update them on your progress.
By following these tips, you can overcome the common challenges associated with B2B surveys and collect valuable data that can help you improve your business.
Maximizing B2B Survey Results
Utilizing Data to Drive Informed Business Decisions
Once you have collected and analyzed your B2B survey data, you can use it to drive informed business decisions.
- Identify trends and patterns: Look for trends and patterns in your data. This will help you to identify areas where you can improve your business.
- Benchmark your performance against competitors: Compare your performance to your competitors. This will help you identify areas where you need to improve and areas where you are excelling.
- Set goals and objectives: Based on your survey results, set goals and objectives for your business. This will help you track your progress and ensure you are on track to meet your goals.
Developing Strategies and Plans from the Results
Once you have identified trends and patterns in your data and have set goals and objectives, you can develop strategies and plans to achieve your goals.
For example, if your survey results show that your customers are dissatisfied with your customer support, you could develop a plan to improve your customer support process.
Or, if your survey results show that your customers are interested in a new product or service, you could develop a plan to launch that product or service.
Communicating with the Respondents Post-Survey
It is important to communicate with your survey respondents after you have completed your survey. This shows you appreciate their feedback and are committed to acting based on their responses.
Here are a few ways to communicate with your survey respondents post-survey:
- Send a thank-you email: Send a thank-you email to all of your survey respondents. This is a simple way to show appreciation for their time and feedback.
- Publish a report of the findings: Publish a report of your survey findings and share it with your survey respondents. This shows that you are committed to transparency and taking their feedback seriously.
- Make changes based on the feedback: If you make any changes based on the feedback you receive from your survey respondents, let them know. This shows that you are listening to their feedback and taking action to improve your business.
Publicly Showcasing and Acknowledging the Results (When applicable)
If your survey results are positive, you may want to showcase and acknowledge them publicly. This can be done through blog posts, social media, or other marketing channels.
Publicly showcasing your survey results can help to build credibility for your business and to attract new customers. It can also help boost your employees’ morale and show them their work is appreciated.
Best Practices for B2B Surveys
Embracing Continuous Improvement
The best practices for B2B surveys are constantly evolving as new technologies and methods emerge. It is important to embrace continuous improvement and regularly review your survey practices to ensure that you use the best possible methods.
One way to embrace continuous improvement is to solicit feedback on your B2B surveys from your respondents. Ask them what they liked and disliked about the survey and what you could do to improve it. You can also use this feedback to identify areas where you need to improve your survey process, such as your survey design, distribution methods, or data analysis process.
Maintaining Survey Relevance
It is important to maintain the relevance of your B2B surveys. This means ensuring that your surveys are timely and address the most important issues to your target audience.
One way to maintain survey relevance is to review your survey questions regularly and to make updates as needed. You can also use survey data from previous surveys to identify emerging trends and issues you should address in your surveys.
Develop Next Steps for Deeper Analysis (If needed)
Once you have collected and analyzed your B2B survey data, you may want to develop the next steps for deeper analysis. This could involve using more advanced statistical methods or conducting further research to understand your findings better.
For example, if your survey results show that your customers are dissatisfied with a particular product or service, you could conduct further research to understand why they are dissatisfied and what you can do to improve the product or service.
By following these best practices, you can ensure that your B2B surveys are effective and that you are collecting the data you need to make informed business decisions.
Wrapping Up B2B Surveys
B2B surveys are a powerful tool that can be used to collect valuable data about your customers, employees, suppliers, and partners.
Using this data to drive informed business decisions, you can improve your products and services, grow your business, and stay ahead of the competition.
If you are not already using B2B surveys, I encourage you to start today. You may be surprised at how much valuable information you can collect.
At 10EQS, we’re here to help with your next B2B survey. Click Contact Us below to schedule a call to discuss your survey needs.