B2B Market Research

SIS B2B Market Research

SIS International Research is a leading B2B Market Research firm.  Formerly known as Strategic Intelligence Systems, SIS has developed an unparalleled reputation for excellence in B2B Research and Market Intelligence since 1984. We provide clients with many levels of intelligence for complete market insight.

Business-to-business transactions are those that involve the sale of one company’s product or service to another company.  The B2B market is large and surpasses the size of the consumer market.  The business-to-business market differs in significant ways from business-to-consumer research.  Products are traded differently, and there are many dissimilarities between B2B and B2C markets.  B2B Market Research, therefore, requires a unique approach.

B2B Market Research helps companies to:

  • Define their markets
  • Measure the changing needs of customers
  • Strengthen their competitive advantages
  • Make better business decisions
  • Gain competitive intelligence
  • Uncover new opportunities
  • Determine whether or not there is a viable market for the goods and services
  • Empower the company to refine their offerings

Why B2B Market Research is Necessary

B2B companies require robust market research because it tells them who their customers are, and why they purchase their products. It also helps them to figure out metrics such as the cost per acquisition of a client, and it gives a clearer understanding of what the market wants in a product or service. B2B Market Research helps companies to gain valuable information about:

  • Economic shifts
  • Competitors
  • Current market trends
  • New opportunities
  • Customer insights

B2B market research also helps businesses to identify new development opportunities and threats in good time. It can also help companies to uncover their Unique Selling Proposition (USP).  Companies think about their competitive advantage and about creating advantages that competitors cannot easily replicate.  B2B market research companies often test products, ads, services and market opportunity for the following outcomes:

  1. Desirability: A product or service must be desirable, or the market will not create demand for it.
  2. Distinctiveness: Customers should able to tell the company’s product offerings apart from those of other players in the market
  3. Defensibility: B2B market research companies must be able to deter or prevent competitiors from replicating strategic advantages.

New Digital Touchpoints

B2B buyers behave differently today, and this is part of the reason why B2B market research is necessary. Prospective buyers use the internet to educate themselves, to evaluate the experiences of other customers, and to narrow down their lists of potential suppliers.   They consult industry websites, news, directories and industry websites to keep track of new trends and vendors.

B2B managers can consult new analytics tools and big data provide cutting edge measures of performance.  Business managers also have a variety of sources they access to keep informed.  As a result maintaining ROI on ad spend is important.

B2B Market Research provides:

  • Market sizing data
  • Customer insights & lists
  • Segmentation
  • Forecasts
  • Partner sourcing services
  • Market entry strategies
  • Market Opportunity insights

Our researchers conduct strategic analysis to turn information into actionable insights. Using insight-driven research, companies can evaluate their entry strategy in context of risks and opportunities, allowing them to confidently select a mode of entry such as Foreign Direct Investment, Licensing, Franchising and Strategic Alliances.

B2B Market Research Tools

Some of our most common tools used in B2B research are:

  • Customer Interviews: This method is a tried and true approach in B2B market research. Fewer interviews are generally necessary for B2B companies when compared to B2C companies, due to the limited number of buyers in B2B markets.
  • Email and Mobile Surveys: Rapid and streamlined surveys generally work best with B2B audiences.
  • Tele-Depth Interviews are popular since they are generally more convenient and cost efficient than face-to-face meetings.
  • In-Office Ethnography
  • Video and Skype Interviews
  • Central Location Tests
  • Telephone & Online surveys
  • Key Opinion Leader research
  • Decision Maker Interviews
  • C-Level interviews
  • Executive Roundtables
  • Hackathons & Sharktank Contests
  • Co-Creation Sessions
  • Brand Development Workshops
  • White Paper development
  • Focus Groups 

B2B Focus Groups

B2B Focus Groups encourage depth of thought, fresh thinking, and idea generation.  A Focus Group brings between 8 and 10 B2B decision makers to a focus group facility.  Respondents provide qualitative insight on questions that matter to you. This Qualitative Research method can inform subsequent quantitative and strategy research projects. 

A moderator guides and stimulates the discussion. The moderator raises a set questions from a “Discussion Guide” to ask the group, and will participate in briefings with the client.   

Focus Group Recruitment involves getting respondents to participate. Recruitment is an important process as B2B markets can be niche, and professionals can be busy. Insights can be gained from the recruitment process as well. We recruit people from many industries including IT decision makers, procurement directors, and R&D managers.

Online Focus Groups

The Online Focus Group is a new method where respondents and the moderator have an audio, video or chat discussion.  Clients can also observe in real time. B2B professionals are busy, and this method can be more convenient.

Another advantage of the online focus group is that it can assemble respondents over vast geographies, which can be particularly helpful in specialized, niche industries. Online Groups can be a cost-effective, convenient, efficient way to generate qualitative insight.

B2B Focus Groups

Focus Groups uncover insights into:

  • Purchasing Processes.
  • Motivation to buy
  • Drivers of brand loyalty
  • Unmet customer needs
  • Product Development
  • Marketing message testing
  • New Concept Testing
  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Pricing & Willingness to Pay
  • Preferences, Likes and Dislikes
  • Packaging insights
  • Competitive Intelligence

Online Insight Communities

Digital Communities are rapidly rising in popularity in B2B research.  Operating almost like a social network, respondents login to respond to posts, exercises, polls, prompts and discussions.  These generally run for 2-4 days, and allow for more candid, in-depth discussion. Respondents can logon at their convenience for 10-30 minutes per day, as long as they participate within the specific days of the study.  Another advantage is that these digital platforms allow for further analysis with advanced text analytics, automated transcripts and user statistics that can add more data to the qualitative findings.

Secondary Research

Secondary research, known as desk research or literature research, can also derive information from published sources. These materials may include brochures, press releases, published reports, databases, advertising, government filings, news articles, photographs, books, blogs, social networks, journals, letters and memos. For international projects, these searches are conducted within the target countries and local languages.

About our B2B Market Research Company

SIS is a founding member of the Society for Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP) in 1986. As a leading member in this field, ethics are of paramount concern and we strictly adhere to SCIP’s code of ethics.

We have earned a reputation as a world-class leading B2B market research firm.  SIS is a premier supplier for many of the world’s largest and most prestigious companies. Our large client list in Business-to-Business research includes most clients in the Fortune 25 and Global 500.

We conduct research with:

  • Customers
  • Competitors
  • Suppliers
  • Distributors
  • Industry leaders
  • Executives
  • Decision Makers
  • Government officials
  • Journalists
  • Industry associations and trade professionals

Our Unique Approach

We offer hybrid intelligence in business-to-business research, which integrates Market Research and Competitive Insights.

Market Research provides critical insight regarding the “voice of the customer” and how a company and its products are perceived in the market. Competitive Intelligence, in contrast, provides valuable information on their important aspects of the external market environment – emerging and potentially disruptive technologies, political and regulatory developments and competitor activities.

When effectively integrated, Market Research and Competitive Intelligence provide a powerful management tool for executive decision-making. This future-oriented perspective of analysis will challenge you to evaluate underlying market assumptions, allowing you to plan for, and even simulate, a myriad of future market scenarios.

Companies can benefit when they understand best practices and competitor movements. Benchmarking can be useful to understand:

  • Pricing differences among competitors
  • Needed improvements within one’s own company
  • Best practices and Best-in-Class companies
  • Competitor movements

The integration of research and intelligence will also enable you to assess current and future investments, manage risks, provide new ideas on business operations, and improve reaction time to industry developments. Most important, robust complementary Competitive Intelligence (CI) and Market Research (MR) initiatives will enable your executives to avoid surprise, identify threats, vulnerabilities and opportunities, forecast and anticipate future competitor actions, and out-maneuver the competition.