How to Conduct B2B Market Research


What is B2B Market Research and Analysis

B2B stands for business-to-business, is a process of selling products or services to other businesses. Competitive analysis is extremely important to B2B research as it helps highlight where you’re having success and your weaknesses against your competitors. 

Why do you need it

For a better knowledge about business interactions, you need to know about the company you are involving with. Also, there can be a lot of data involvement which can be chaotic to handle. To have hands on, on the massive data for better productivity results we need to have business to business analysis.

B2B analysis gives you a direct contact with buyers and sellers, this can include the traders, industrialists, middlemen, drop shippers and wholesalers from across the world. It gives you ideal opportunity to expand your business network. You can identify the influential companies and can get directly in touch with them to create mutually benefiting partnerships. Small business owners can get more visibility in the market through B2B analysis. Helps you identify Sales Leads and not waste time chasing the wrong ones

Read about : Characteristics Of A Scalable Business

How is it different from B2C Research

The business-to-business market differs in key areas from business-to-consumer research and requires a unique approach in terms of market research.

  1. Complexity of the purchase decision
    As the value of many purchases is often very high, and there are many people involved, purchase decision often becomes very complex
  2. Derived Demand
    Demand in B2B markets is derived from demand in the consumer market. For example, a packaging material manufacturing company may manufacture packets and bags for a packaging distribution company. This is then sold to say, wholesalers. Wholesalers then sell it to e-commerce players and retail stores. Depending on where you are in the value chain and problems up and down the value chain, can affect the ability to meet customer demand.
  3. Supplier Dependency
    In the B2B market, if the supply of the product is interrupted, it is very difficult to switch suppliers. Even if you are able to do it quickly, there is risk involved alongside time and cost constraints.
  4. Smaller Customer base
    B2B players have a smaller customer base( hundreds and thousands). This provides opportunities in terms of relationship building and personal contacts. In many markets, these relationships are the key selling mechanisms.
  5. High Value spend
    Transactions in most cases are large in value. In most markets, the Pareto rule applies – that 80% of value will be driven by 20% of customers.
  6. Technical Expertise
    B2B Products themselves can be technical in nature which may be difficult for customers to understand, integrate or implement. So they always want technical documentation and support.
  7. Marketing
    Marketing campaigns are smaller and targetted. B2B markets can represent many challenges for the marketer.

Read about : user segmentation model

How to Conduct B2B Market Research

Secondary Research

Secondary research involves deductions from already available data.

  1. Search for the company
    The company website, corporate blog, social media accounts
    B2B Market Research Tools:
    Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Vimeo, and SlideShare.
  2. Search Third-party reviews
    B2B Market Research Tools:
    TrustRadio, G2 Crowd, GlassDoor and Quora
  3. Search for the Top competitors
    B2B Market Research Tools:
    Owler, StartupFlux
  4. Company Financial Material
    Review all the material available on their investor page and search for Fair Disclosure Earnings Transcripts, or investor presentations, financial models
    B2B Market Research Tools:
    Alpha or NASDAQ.
  5. Analyst reports
    Coverage reports give you the overall analysis of the business.
    B2B Market Research Tools:
    D&B, Hoovers, Factiva, Zacks, FactSet, Capital IQ, Investext, ThinkWithStartupFlux
  6. Business Developments
    Significant Developments in the business can be acquired
    B2B Market Research Tools:
    D&B Hoovers, Bureau van Dijk Orbis, or local registries.
  7. Company profiles and competitors profiles
    Profile inclusion – SWOTs, company histories, market shares, key products and segments
    B2B Market Research Tools:
    MarketLine, Global Data, StartupFlux.
  8. Technology employed
    B2B Market Research Tools:
    Datanyze, HG Data, BuiltWith, DiscoverOrg, RainKing, StartupFlux.
  9. Company News
    B2B Market Research Tools:
    Factiva, LexisNexis, StartupFlux.
  10. Intellectual Property or Legal
    B2B Market Research Tools:
    LexisNexis, Westlaw
  11. For hardware or software
    B2B Market Research Tools:
    Gartner, Forrester, IDC, StartupFlux.
  12. Market Share, Forcast Reports
    Regional or National Market shares, forecasts, mini profiles of 3-4 companies
    B2B Market Research Tools:
    MarketLine, Euromonitor, BMI, Freedonia, IBIS World, StartupFlux.
  13. PE or VC funding
    Funding details can provide an estimate of the firepower with the company
    B2B Market Research Tools:
    CrunchBase, DataFox, MatterMark, PrivCo, StartupFlux.
  14. Credit Report
    B2B Market Research Tools:
    D&B, Experian, or local credit company
  15. Company Family Tree and major subsidiaries
    B2B Market Research Tools:
    D&B, Hoovers, Bureau van Dijk, and InsideView, 10-k
  16. M&A research
    B2B Market Research Tools:
    Mattermark, FactSet, Capital IQ

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Primary Research

Primary research involves collecting data from consumers and linked parties from the beginning.

  1. Customers, Partners, and Former employees
    Sources: Case Studies, TrustRadius, G2 Crowd, customer references on sites, Linkedin
  2. Pricing details
    Pricing details may require primary research and this will provide data points, but not full price lists.
    Sources: TrustRadius, G2 Crowd, Existing Customers, Websites, Email Communication
  3. Direct mail
    Short on point questions can be asked in direct mail questionnaire to different links involved in the business.
    You can prepare these questionnaires on – SurveyMonkey, outsource2india, key survey
  4. Customer Level Analytics Platform
    Sources: Mixpanel,, Gainsight, Totango
  5. Face to face interviews with customers, partners or Employees
    It gives you a better accuracy, depth knowledge of the responses received on the spot. And hence are least diluted than any other method of research.
  6. Surveys
    Gives you a better picture from a larger sample size. Surveys may be run to identify market sentiment, consumer demand, etc

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