If you could speak to the CEO of a large company, what would you ask them?
I’m sure whatever it is, would elicit a fascinating response, but now another question; how would you find them to ask them?
This is a dilemma that many B2B businesses face. To gauge customer opinions of their products, inform strategy and make the correct decisions, B2B businesses must often hear from large numbers of senior decision-makers first hand – but this audience is not an easy one to reach.
How do you reach them?
All too often in the research world there is not enough thought given to what can be a difficult task, requiring a nuanced approach.
There are B2B-specialist research panels that are able to access some of these audiences, but there is, in many instances, an overreliance on these.
Worse yet, sometimes agencies will repurpose ‘consumer’ panels, but time-poor senior decision makers aren’t going to take part in a survey for the minimal incentives that are on often on offer via this route.
Given this complexity, when businesses want to target large samples of niche audiences, Savanta takes a bespoke, client-tailored approach. Some of the strategies we ulitise are as follows:
Working with data companies
There are data companies that can provide direct decision maker email addresses or phone numbers, which can be a fruitful way of reaching such audiences.
Utilising this resource allows us to be more creative in our comms approach, as well as explore different ways of incentivising responses, which can significantly improve response numbers.
If you need to find a large number of IT decision makers to test the new SaaS product you are developing, where do you go?
One of the best ways can be to partner with either an IT industry body, trade organisation or trade publication and send surveys directly to their membership.
This can work both at a generic level (e.g., IT as a whole) or for very specific audiences (e.g., working with a specialist publication aimed at providers of air conditioning units to office buildings).
Your own sample
You might have what you need right under your nose. Yes, if you want to ask questions about brand awareness, it’s less wise to speak with the people you interact with all the time – but there are many instances where your customers or other contacts will be a perfectly relevant sample for a survey.
Maybe it is about product development? Or perhaps you need to gather opinions for a thought leadership piece. Not only is this an opportunity to interact with your clientele, it also smashes the other options out of the park on one key metric; price!
If you are looking to speak to very senior people in large organisations, often the best places you can go to are executive networks – who have access to this audience and may allow you to reach out to them to gather their opinions.
Careful communication planning is required, but if done correctly, this can be the most effective way to reach the most difficult audiences of all.
An agency is only as good as the data that goes into their work. Regardless of how complex or creative their analysis is, if they’ve not spoken to the right people, the outcomes will be misleading, and their client will make the wrong decisions.
We take this extremely seriously at Savanta, so if you’re ever looking to access a decision maker audience to gather strategic insight for your business, reach out to us and we will develop an approach based on the specific needs of your business.