SUITE 401
67 WEST STREET
Brooklyn, NY 11222
United States

How best to incentivize B2B decision-makers to take part in research

How best to incentivize B2B decision-makers to take part in research

Consumer research agencies have it easy. Pretty much everyone is a consumer, so the pool of potential respondents for a research project can be vast.

It is slightly different for B2B market research agencies. Our respondents – decision-makers within organizations – are a scarce resource, especially when the study focuses on individuals in senior or niche roles.

The problem is not just that they are scarce. Securing decision-makers’ support is also tricky. Gatekeepers may project them, they have limited time, and their focus is on improving their business, not taking part in research.

However, B2B respondents can be incentivized to take part in the research if you use the right approach.

The most powerful incentives are ‘soft’:

  • In most B2B markets, people buy from people, and buyers and sellers tend to have a strong relationship. Leveraging this relationship is the most powerful incentive of all
  • Another powerful soft incentive is appealing to a decision-maker’s curiosity. If the research topic, or technique, sounds interesting, decision-makers are more likely to consider taking part
  • B2B respondents are time-poor, so it’s important to emphasize that the time they do spend on the research will benefit them in the long-run. We recommend emphasizing how research participation will lead to innovations or service improvements, and therefore help them and their employer

These soft incentives aren’t always possible, and may not be enough by themselves, so ‘hard’/tangible incentives can be required:

  • A common approach is to thank respondents for their time with a financial incentive, either a cash payment or a prize draw for a gift card or something like an iPad. That isn’t always appropriate, either legally (due to corporate bribery laws), ethically (due to the optics of giving well-remunerated decision-makers cash for their opinions), or practically (sometimes it isn’t even required)
  • A charity donation is a useful alternative – it rewards decision-makers for their time by appealing to their sense of charity, without any of the legal/ethical issues. It also allows clients, or respondents, to direct money to a charity that they support

In our experience, if you’re looking to persuade time-poor decision-makers to participate in research, a mix of soft and hard incentives works best.

Chris Wells
Share:

Got a B2B market research project
you’d like to discuss?

Contact us

More from the blog

How to do B2B thought leadership research

How to

March 19, 2021

How to do B2B thought leadership research

Research-led content is critical if you want to become a thought leader. This is the Adience guide to ensuring your thought leadership research follows best practices.

How to use research to build a B2B customer journey map

How to

March 10, 2021

How to use research to build a B2B customer journey map

B2B customer journey mapping enables you to step into the target audience’s shoes and record how they interact with your business. We explore the best practices when building a journey map.

A guide to using the Kano model in B2B markets

How to

February 24, 2021

A guide to using the Kano model in B2B markets

Kano analysis informs the product development process by identifying which features you should prioritize. This guide shows how to do Kano analysis in B2B markets.