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5 min

3 types of questions to ask vetted respondents in a B2B survey for commercial due diligence

3 types of questions to ask vetted respondents & the structure of B2B surveys for commercial due diligence

Jun 30, 2022
B2B market research

Commercial due diligence and the role of B2B surveys

In today’s context of rapid digital transformation and globalisation, commercial due diligence has become an indispensable tool. Nowadays, there’s an increase in the number and complexity of products and services and the emergence of niche markets and geographies. Commercial due diligence works on several different levels such as competitors, customers and industry. At a competitor level, surveys for commercial due diligence can provide a holistic view of where a company stands. At the customer level, it can give an inside look into customer buying journey, habits and preferences. Finally, at the industry level, it can show a macro-level view of the industry the business operates in. 

B2B Surveys play a differentiated role because they can help to streamline data in a systematic way in order to derive insights about a company, product or market. B2B Surveys can be beneficial to commercial due diligence because of the following reasons:

  • provide insights into the commercial aspect of a business
  • help avoid risks and pitfalls
  • uncover customer preferences, trends and perceptions about a company or its products
  • discover a company’s positioning and competitive advantages in an industry
  • analyse reasons for say revenue loss or decreasing customers.

3 types of questions to ask vetted respondents

Now that we have looked at the basics of commercial due diligence and the role that B2B surveys play in it, let’s dive into the types of questions in a B2B survey.

1. Screening Questions 

Let’s begin with what we mean by screening questions for a survey. Screening questions are usually used in surveys to filter B2B vetted respondents from one another. The purpose is to narrow down the list to only a few B2B vetted respondents that fit a certain profile. In this manner, answers can be obtained from these specific respondents. There are four kinds of screening questions most popularly used.

First, we start with demographic questions which are most commonly used. These types of questions can cover a wide range of topics. Some of these topics include age, gender, marital status, occupation, location, economic background, income and many more. Second, we have industry-specific questions. Sometimes, people who work in or are close to a certain industry may not give true answers. For example, say that you are trying to capture consumer sentiment about fast fashion. So, you will eliminate those who work in or are close to the fast fashion industry.

Third, we have product-centric questions. In a similar vein to industry-specific questions, these are used to take out those B2B vetted respondents for whom the product or service is not intended. For instance, you want to run a survey about washing machine repairs. For this, you would need to eliminate those respondents who do not have a washing machine.

Lastly, there are behavioural questions that are used to capture insights into the respondents’ behaviour and mannerisms. Question types could include: are you vegan, vegetarian or non-vegetarian?

If you do not screen your B2B vetted respondents at the beginning, you would have to do this at some point later. Or you may forget to do it entirely. The consequence of this will be reduced quality data and may even defeat the purpose of your survey. Sometimes, clients do give very specific instructions on what kind of profile they are looking for. Not following these instructions may even result in client disappointment and loss. 

Some examples of screening questions include:

  1. Which of the following best describes the industry of your current or most recent employer?
  2. Which of the following best describes the nature of your title/role?
  3. How many employees are there in your organisation?
  4. Where are you/your company located?
  5. Which industry is your company active in?
  6. Are you a key decision maker within your firm for the XYZ process?

 Read more on screening vetted respondents here

2. Main Body Questions

Based on your vetted respondents’ answers to screening questions, they will either be qualified or disqualified. You can program your survey in such a manner that it automatically deletes people if they do not fit certain criteria. For instance, you can use a code that uses the following logic: Terminate if ‘other’ is selected in Q1. In this case, ‘other’ was perhaps the industry that they mentioned but you're looking for the automotive industry, so they get rejected. 

In this manner, a pyramid-like structure will emerge. Selected vetted respondents will keep on moving till the end of the survey, while disqualified respondents will stop at certain screeners. In the end, only that block of people will emerge that your client actually wants to target. 

To create blocks, you can again use survey programming code such as ‘Display if Option 1 or Option 2 selected in Q5. In this way, you’ll have different blocks of B2B vetted respondents depending upon their answers. For more information on survey programming, check out this article that talks about programming for a Global B2B survey for commercial due diligence.

Examples of main body questions

Consider a B2B survey to understand the choices of software vendors in the business consulting landscape. The following are the types of questions you are likely to see on this kind of survey:

  1. Which of these firms have you worked with for acquiring business software? Select all that apply.
  2. Please rank your key purchasing criteria for the selection of a business software company in order of importance. With 1/Top being the most important one.
  3. Please score each software company you have worked with on a scale from 1-7 on each criterion. With 1 being “poor performance” and 7 being “excellent performance”.
  4. How many different business software firms do you typically work with at a time? 
  5. How much would you cut business software acquisition spending in a recession?

3. Concluding Questions

The bulk of your B2B survey for commercial due diligence is now complete and there’s not much left to do. But you can still utilise this space for re-checking the email ids of vetted respondents so that they can get paid. You can ask questions like:

-enter your email address, which will be used to distribute your compensation.

-confirm your email address

-would you be interested in participating in a brief follow-up conversation with our team to discuss a few of your answer choices?

If you’re a client and you need to conduct commercial due diligence, check out GrapeData. GrapeData is a tech-enabled survey solution that focuses on B2B panels for due diligence with an emphasis on niche populations, such as decision-makers in B2B and niche B2C, in over 90 countries. Unlike other panel providers, we don’t buy third-party panels, nor do we use email addresses to distribute the survey. We carefully recruit all of our respondents organically by running ads on social networks around the world. 

To date, we have over 250k contributors mainly in North America and EMEA and a good portion in APAC. We are industry agnostic and in the past twelve months, we have focused on Tech & Software, Healthcare, Industrials and Education.

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