For business-to-business (B2B) companies, doing due diligence on your suppliers is an important part of the procurement process. This can include everything from reviewing their financial records and customer feedback to analyzing their social media presence and interviewing their employees. One way to get feedback about a supplier is by using surveys, which are quick and easy for both parties involved. However, since these surveys aren’t formal interviews, there’s no guarantee that they will give you useful information, so you need to have some guidelines in place first.
Know what the different survey objectives are.
When you are planning a B2B survey for due diligence, it’s important to know exactly what you are trying to achieve. This will help you determine the right questions to ask, who should be included in the survey and how long it needs to be.
Knowing what questions need to be asked is also key. Knowing what types of information you need before starting a project, it will make your job easier as well as save time and money later on. You should make sure that everyone involved in creating the survey has a clear understanding of its purpose so they can provide answers that directly relate back to this purpose.
Finally, defining who should take part in your B2B survey for due diligence will help ensure that only relevant data is collected from those with expertise in this specific topic area. For example: if there is an issue with customer support then only people who deal with customer support queries should complete this section.
Use a mix of quantitative and qualitative questions.
Quantitative and qualitative questions are both tools for gathering information. Each has its own strengths, so it’s important to include both types of questions in your survey.
Qualitative questions are open-ended and require more thought from respondents than quantitative ones do. They can be used to gauge opinions about certain topics or situations, or they may ask for details about specific experiences. Quantitative questions, on the other hand, ask respondents to put a number value on their answers.
Don’t be afraid to ask difficult questions.
It’s important to ask difficult questions to your vetted survey respondents. The goal of a B2B survey for due diligence is to gather information, but not just any information. In essence, the objective is to collect useful, actionable intel that can help you make better decisions about your company. Asking tough questions will help you get there.
Here are three tips for asking the tough ones:
- Be direct in your language and avoid beating around the bush. A good rule of thumb is to use a direct question when possible and save open-ended questions for when it’s appropriate (e.g., if you want to know how satisfied a customer was with something). This way, respondents know what is expected from them, which makes it easier for them to answer truthfully and accurately. Additionally, this practice helps you recruit B2B knowledgeable respondents.
- Avoid leading statements or questions that imply what answer you want people to give without giving an option not to do so (i.e., don’t say: “How likely are you?” Instead say: “How likely are you? Very likely; likely; somewhat likely; unlikely; very unlikely”). While this may be less efficient at first glance since there’s no room for interpretation, making it clear up front that the answers have limits will help minimize bias later on down the line. This will also be useful for you when analyzing results based on objective criteria versus subjective reasoning.
Consider offering an incentive.
Providing an incentive to complete your B2B survey for due diligence can help you achieve your desired response rate. While monetary incentives are popular, they’re not always the best option. You should consider offering a non-monetary incentive that is targeted toward your audiences, such as a gift card or discount code for something relevant to the survey topic.
In addition to incentives, there are other ways you can try and get people on board with taking your B2B survey for due diligence:
- Send out emails asking if people would like to take part in the survey and offer them a bonus if they do so.
- Email participants periodically during the survey process (especially after someone has completed it) reminding them about it.
Identify the right interviewees and engage them in the right way.
Identify the right interviewee. Your company is likely to have a plethora of competitors, and you need to understand who they are and how they do business.
Engage them in the right way. To get the best results out of your interviews, you need to make sure your subjects are engaged while also making them feel comfortable and honest throughout the process. Make sure they are comfortable and not distracted by other things going on around them.
A distracted employee may give biased answers that do not reflect their true thoughts on your product or service. If possible, conduct phone interviews so that they can be more focused on what you’re asking rather than what else might be going on around them at work (or home).
It’s a good idea to use online surveys as part of your due diligence process, but you should have strict guidelines in place to make sure you get useful information from them.
The first step in setting up a due diligence survey is to know what you’re trying to achieve. Are you trying to collect data on a particular topic, or are you looking for feedback on the product itself? You need to know this before you begin so that your survey doesn’t become too broad or too narrow.
Next, make sure that your survey includes both quantitative and qualitative questions. Quantitative questions allow respondents to give numerical answers (e.g., how much do they like a product), while qualitative ones force them into open-ended answers (e.g., why do they like it?). These two different types of questions can be used together very effectively in order to get detailed information about customer sentiment toward different features of a B2B product or service.
Finally, don’t be afraid of asking difficult questions! It’s better for the interviewee if they feel comfortable sharing their true opinion than saying something just because they think it’ll make them sound good or knowledgeable about the topic at hand, especially if there’s no incentive at stake.
You may also want an incentive program as part of your due diligence exercise, this could mean offering discounts on future purchases or access codes for free trials after the completion of interviews through email surveys or phone calls.
We hope this post has helped you to get a better idea of how B2B surveys can be used as part of your due diligence process. If you need more information on the topic, feel free to reach out to us at GrapeData.