Qualitative Market research studies don’t amount to much if those recruited to participate in surveys, in-depth interviews, or focus groups aren’t properly screened. Recruiting qualified study participants who can bring insight to the subject matter being explored is a crucial component of market research and is not something to be taken lightly. If this critical step of market research is done poorly, then it’s not worth the money, time, and effort to complete the research project. When recruiting is poorly executed it can spell disaster, as the opportunity to capture qualified participants who are capable of fully participating in a study is missed. Market research recruitment needs to be given as much priority as any other component in market research studies.
Unfortunately, many B2B market research studies are poorly executed and aren’t uncommon. There are a number of reasons for this. Sometimes B2B tech companies aren’t fully clear about who their market research teams should connect with or research deadlines aren’t realistic and study participants are hurriedly recruited. Getting a top-notch study entails focus and finesse. Finding appropriate participants for B2B studies requires specialized and contextual knowledge of the industry and subject matter at the heart of the study. One way to better understand why context matters, is to think of your own workplace: two people working for the same organization doesn’t mean they have the same understanding or relationship with their employer. One could be a security officer and one could be an executive. Context is important and it’s an important part of the market research recruiting process.
Here are four ideas for improving recruitment for your B2B study:
- Don’t go too broad. Recruiting isn’t about looking for warm bodies to fill your study, it’s about finding qualified people. The first step is spending time figuring out who your target audience is. The second step is creating a robust screening guide that filters out people who don’t meet the requirements. It’s not enough to declare, “I want to interview journalists” and start recruiting. “Journalist” is a broad category and includes feature writers, columnists, editors, investigators, and so on. Narrow down the categories and then aim to recruit a diversity of people within the category.
- Details matter. You need to get really specific when thinking about your target demographic. Every subject area branches off into many sub-categories. Going back to the above “I want to interview journalists” example again, if you’ve identified “feature writers” as the group you want to target, you’ll soon realize even that is too broad. “Feature writers” can be further broken down, so knowing precisely the category of feature writer you want to target, will shape how and who you recruit. You want to recruit people with the experience that matters to your study.
- Knowing where to look. Nationwide recruitment agencies are active across many platforms, from professional networks, to social media, and trade organizations. After you’ve identified the demographic you want to target, the next step is looking for them where they’re most likely to be engaged. It’s rare to find all potential recruits in the same space. Typically, you will need to cast a wide net across different platforms to get to the ideal number of recruits for your study.
- Project Management. Once you’ve identified qualified participants, you need to get commitments from them to participate in your study. There are many privacy matters that need to be considered, especially if you’re collecting personal information. Don’t be surprised if you have participants who need to drop out of the study, life happens and it isn’t uncommon. Be prepared by having a few additional backups.
When properly executed, B2B market research studies provide invaluable insights. If you’re considering a B2B study for your company it’s best to hire a neutral market research firm that can design and execute the process from beginning to end. Successful studies aren’t happenstance.