We use cookies and other tracking technology to improve your browsing experience on our website, to show you personalized content, to analyze our website traffic, and to understand where our visitors are coming from. By browsing our website or clicking Accept Cookies, you consent to our use of cookies and other tracking technologies. Read our Privacy Policy
7 min

What are the different types of market research techniques for B2B

An explainer of the different types of market research techniques for B2B

Nov 30, 2022
B2B market research


Market research is a process that helps you understand your target audience and their needs. It can help you make informed decisions about your product-market fit, marketing strategy, and more. In this article, we'll cover the two broad types of market research techniques: quantitative and qualitative. We'll also explain how they work together to give a full picture of your target audience's needs. In addition, we'll look at the different pain points in market research techniques for B2B

Market research for B2B audiences defined

B2B implies all the business processes that take place between two companies. Therefore, a B2B transaction is made between a supplier and a buyer. In this case, both the supplier and the buyer are companies. If the buying company uses products or services purchased to resell them to other companies, then it will be termed as B2B2B. On the other hand, if the buying company sells to end consumers, then it will be termed as B2B2C.

B2B audiences are fundamentally different from their B2C counterparts. B2B audiences typically feature complex decision-making processes and generally involve suppliers from more geographies. Due to these differences, market research techniques for B2B are different compared to B2C. For more resources on B2B market research, check out a recent post by Hingemarketing.

You might be wondering then how to conduct market research for a B2B audience. One of the ways to go about this is determining a total addressable market. A TAM usually refers to everyone who has the capability to buy products or services in an organisation. Before you can begin selecting market research techniques for B2B, it’s important to understand who you are targeting. A target market usually consists of customers who share similar characteristics. These can be age, location, job title, company size, etc. Some benefits of identifying a target market are listed below:

  1. Generate qualified leads
  2. Maximise return of market research activities
  3. Improve products or services
  4. Predict future sales and develop financial forecasts
  5. Generate funding and increase revenue streams for your business

Broad categories of market research techniques for B2B

Below, we introduce you to the three types of market research techniques for B2B. Note that this is a partial list of all the different types of methods that exist for market research methods for B2B audiences. 

  • Quantitative research is the use of data analysis to measure, test, and describe relationships between variables.
  • Qualitative research focuses on understanding the meaning behind what people say or do. This can include in-depth interviews, focus groups, and ethnographic studies that provide rich descriptions of human behaviour.
  • Survey research: Surveys are a common type of market research method for B2B companies because they're relatively cheap and easy to conduct (e.g., via email or phone). You simply need to ask your audience questions about their preferences and habits, then combine those answers into key insights you can use for future product development efforts or marketing campaigns. Surveys can fall under either of the two broad categories for market research techniques. Types of survey methods include online, phone, or mail surveys.

Quantitative research techniques for B2B

Essentially, quantitative research is based on numbers and measurements, and it's used to test hypotheses. This kind of research is also used to make decisions, and it's also used to predict future trends.

For example, you might want to ask customers what they think about a product or service (a survey), or you might want to measure how much time people spend using a product (like with a stopwatch).

You might also want to test how much people like a product by asking them to rate their feelings on a scale of 1-10. Since quantitative research uses numbers, it's often easier than qualitative research. However, it can be difficult to get accurate data from surveys because people don’t always tell the truth!

Some tips for conducting quantitative research techniques for B2B are listed below:

  1. Get used to smaller sample sizes for B2B market research. Since B2B market sizes are smaller, it’s possible that some statistical techniques may not work. 
  2. Pay attention to where you are recruiting respondents. B2B respondents are usually harder to find and so getting them through a static list of respondents may not be the best idea. If you are partnering with a panel, make sure that they carry out all verification checks on the respondents. 
  3. Combine qualitative and quantitative research to get the best results for your needs. This is because qualitative research gives you the ‘why’ behind the respondent’s answers or thinking.

Qualitative market research techniques for B2B

This is a research methodology that focuses on in-depth interviews or focus groups. It is used to understand the motivations and attitudes of your target audience, as well as their needs and wants. In addition, qualitative research allows you to learn about what they are thinking, feeling, and doing by asking open-ended questions.

Qualitative data can be analysed using different techniques such as content analysis or coding the transcripts (as seen below).

Plus, qualitative research is a great way to get an in-depth understanding of your target audience. It can also be part of a larger research project that includes quantitative methods such as surveys and experiments.

One popular market research technique for B2B is expert interviews. Experts are a group of people who have extensive knowledge of a market or industry. They may be consultants, professional organisations, or thought leaders of an industry. Since B2B markets are so large, it follows that so many specialised experts exist in all different industries. Their domain knowledge translates into a significant added value for market researchers. Ultimately, it boils down to identifying them to understand which expert profiles are relevant for different market researchers.

Quantitative and qualitative market research are two broad approaches to collecting and analysing data

To sum up, quantitative research is a method of market research that uses numbers to measure or predict consumer behaviour. It can be used to understand the overall size of a market, and it's useful for predicting future trends.

Qualitative research, on the other hand, involves gathering data through observation and interviews. Qualitative researchers use words instead of numbers to describe behaviour and opinions. This type of analysis is best suited for understanding the needs, preferences, and motivations of customers or potential customers.

Qualitative research is also useful for identifying emerging trends and customer preferences. Some organisations use a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods to gain a more complete understanding of their customers.

Qualitative research is best suited for understanding the needs, preferences, and motivations of customers or potential customers. It is also useful for identifying emerging trends and customer preferences.

For overlooked market research techniques for B2B, check out this article

Pain points in market research techniques for B2B

Now that we have a rough idea about the different categories of market research techniques for B2B, let's have a look at the different pain points in this kind of research. Below, we list three potential obstacles in this type of research.

  • Finding B2B respondents is harder than their B2C customers. As we explained at the beginning of this article, B2C refers to consumers or end users of products. On the other hand, B2B refers to companies that purchase these products or services from other companies. Due to the larger number of business customers and complex purchasing processes, they may require more time and effort from your market research team. Complexity here refers to the sheer number of decision-makers who are involved in one business transaction. Additionally, it can take longer for your team to identify vetted survey respondents because there are numerous factors involved. 
  • B2B research is more difficult to conduct because the type of incentives that can be offered is limited. Majorly, B2B market research uses cash incentives. One reason why this is the case is that most participants respond best to monetary incentives. In-kind incentives can also be considered, however, local laws should always be followed. Additionally, if your research is overseen by a particular institution, they can set restrictions on the type of incentives.
  • Lastly, B2B survey respondents are different from B2C. A recent HBR article talked about a study conducted by CEB that covered over 5000 stakeholders in the B2B buying journey. The research showed that on average 5 buyers have to approve a purchase. On the other hand, the b2c buying journey consists of far lesser numbers of buyers. 

Final thoughts on market research techniques for B2B

The key takeaway is that quantitative and qualitative market research are two broad approaches to collecting and analysing data. Quantitative research is more statistically rigorous, while qualitative research allows for more open-ended questions. Both can be used in combination with one another or independently depending on your needs. If you're looking for further reading on this topic, see our dedicated guide on All you need to know about gathering market research data.

Seamlessly submit surveys on the go.

Bring your experience to your mobile via our app.