Editor's note: Doug Berdie is president of Consumer Review Systems. 

COVID-19 has had a profound effect on almost all phases of life. Marketing research is not exempt. B2B researchers on both the client side and the supplier side have felt the burdens of new challenges to obtaining quality research results necessary to guide sound decision-making.

High rates of employee turnover and staffing shortages, coupled with reduced discretionary time on the job to do things like complete surveys, mean that a precise focus on proven research tactics is needed to use B2B research effectively. B2B research (as well as consumer research) generally consists of five specific activities. Let’s review each of them with a particular emphasis on how they can be conducted successfully in these new and changing times.

One of the most difficult steps in B2B research is ascertaining which people have the information you wish to collect. Decisions affecting, for example, criteria used to purchase the products/services you provide could be totally made by upper management, totally made by people in the purchasing department, totally made by those who actually use the products/services of interest or made by some combination (varying for each client company) of those and other people. 

And, with the high rate of absenteeism and turnover due to the pandemic, it’s even more challenging to identify which people occupy those positions. Hence, rather than just trying to contact people you’ve gone to before, it’s imperative to have the people in your organization who actually deal with those clients help you identify who, at that moment, has the information you want. These could be salespeople in your organization or people in other departments. The job titles of who best can identify who should be surveyed will vary from one company to another. It’s wise to have the person in your organization who deals with the targeted pe...