Creating a survey for market research in B2B: an art

Collaboration – April 24, 2013

You’re looking to design a survey for a market study but you’re not an expert on the subject? Let me strongly suggest going through an expert or a firm specialized in market research. Ok, too expensive? Well here are a few tools to guide you in developing your survey.

1. Define your methodology and objective

The methodology is actually the outline of the project. It will help you stay on track, because yes, you’ll soon see that you will want to know as much as you can on the subject! And your respondent will rarely grant you more than 10 minutes.

You can make a shopping list or a small diagram, which is what I often do.

2. Write your questions related to the elements of your methodology with an enormous amount of detail

This is the most difficult part of the project. And yet, when you read a survey, dios mio! It seems so simple! Here’s some advice:

  • Pay attention to detail: This is what distinguishes a fair survey from an excellent survey: comma in the right place, look for synonyms, avoid influencing the respondent in his or her answers, etc.
  • Make it easy to read: Make sure that a maximum number of people can answer your survey. It should be dummy-proof, with words that aren’t too complicated or sophisticated. Use short sentences.
  • Follow the funnel technique: Simpler questions first, more complicated ones after. All socio-demographic questions (age, sex, salary, company size, etc.) should be at the end of the survey.
  • Choose the right scale: Try to use simple scales:
  • Write at least one (1) open question: They aren’t easy to process, especially when there’s a large number of respondents, but it’s an excellent way to obtain information that may not be easily obtained though multiple choice or scale questions. (For example, if you have any comments, please write them in the space below.)

3. Pretest your survey!

Use your colleagues and your circle of contacts. You may realise that certain questions, that you thought were clear, weren’t clear at all.

4. Analyze it!

Before analyzing anything, take a look at your data. Be sure there aren’t too many surveys that are incomplete, incorrectly answered, incomprehensible, etc. To create an excellent database, the norm is to place one respondent per line and one question per column.

Excel will become your best friend. You can do many simple calculations (sum, average, standard deviation, etc.) as well as more advanced ones (pivot tables).

How to conduct a survey?

By phone, paper or internet. Given the popularity and the user-friendliness of the web, I recommend this technique (although not always appropriate). There are several online platforms that can help you conduct your surveys, such as Survey Monkey or FluidSurveys.

Market research can become complex. Get advice from one of the experts at Exo if you are looking for more professionalism.

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