The Case for Insourcing Qualitative B2B Research Today

Unsurprisingly, researchers everywhere have to take on more work. And they’re not turning to outsourced solutions to manage it.


Remember when B2B consumerization and digital transformation were the biggest enterprise challenges?

Way back in March 2020, Forrester advised that “B2B marketers need to rethink and evolve every aspect of their strategies, programs, and tactics.” That was before the coronavirus and economic crisis revolutionized vendor/customer relationships.

As the social, political, and economic landscape changes daily, customer insight is more valuable and urgent than ever. That doesn’t necessarily mean that enterprises are increasing research spend, though; like everything these days, budgets are fluctuating wildly. Vendors offering in-demand solutions are doubling down on spend, while others are facing drastic budget cuts.

Unsurprisingly, researchers everywhere have to take on more work. And they’re not turning to outsourced solutions to manage it.

Insourcing is Back

Our most successful research customers (those at Fortune 100 corporations such as Microsoft, Intuit, SAP, and Oracle) are seizing the moment to strengthen customer connections via insourced qualitative B2B research.

Believe it or not, Fortune companies don’t always spend a fortune on research. By insourcing qualitative interviews, our customers are gaining high-quality insight — often on budgets of less than $1,000 per project.

Here’s why.

  • Transparency: By directly recruiting and screening research candidates, researchers can control the quality of their panels and avoid paying incentives to unqualified participants.
  • Quality: For researchers using cloud-based research and recruiting platforms, technology such as identity verification allows automatically filters out fraudulent participants.
  • Speed: Researchers can screen and schedule interviews in days, instead of waiting weeks for agencies that are handling multiple client projects.
  • Cost: Rather than signing a fixed-cost, up-front contract, researchers who insource can adjust variables like incentive and panel size to accommodate budget changes in real time.

There are three types of research that leading enterprise researchers are successfully insourcing.

Product Development Research

The global coronavirus outbreak threw the best-laid development and launch plans into chaos. Customer preferences, purchase intent, and usage patterns haven’t just changed; they are now in a constant state of flux.

Continuous customer insight is key to continuous adaptation under such demanding conditions. Regular qualitative B2B research interviews yield deeper, richer market insight than even the most respected third-party forecast or industry study can provide.

Interviewing customers and prospects directly, instead of outsourcing, enables product development teams to remain more agile and responsive to market shifts.

Software User Research

B2B customers are interacting with software and applications in a very different context than they did a few months ago.

Cloud-based enterprise apps are now being accessed outside the office, beyond the firewall, and via residential-grade network connections. Qualitative user research helps UX teams better understand how customers interact with (and feel about) their software in a remote setting.

Whether it’s sign-on, security, or latency, B2B software teams can only enable customer success by understanding the user challenges that have arisen inside and outside the product interface since remote work became the norm.

Voice of the customer (VOC)

Churn is a top-of-mind threat for B2B enterprise organizations in an unstable economy. So is excessive spend.

Limiting VOC research to quantitative methods in order to reduce cost invites risk. Only qualitative interviews can fully capture the social, emotional, and functional drivers that impact B2B customer sentiment.

Customer interviews conducted by in-house researchers enable more than just insight; enterprise organizations can deepen customer connections and build brand loyalty by demonstrating empathy during qualitative feedback sessions.

The Research Must Go On

Big insight doesn’t require big budgets. In fact, insourcing qualitative B2B interviews gives resource-constrained enterprise research teams the agility and insight it takes to weather our current global storm.

There’s no need to sacrifice participant quality, speed, or budgets, either. Our enterprise customers prove it every day.

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