Top 5 challenges of B2B NPS research

by Radostina Pehlivanova, Project Manager Customer Experience at GemSeek

Over the past few years NPS has become the preferred KPI in measuring customer loyalty and company’s performance. The system has its followers across the various industries – from retailers, media, and telecoms to technology giants, pharma, and healthcare providers. NPS has been the main vehicle turning these companies to customer-centricity, where the focus shifts onto the voice of the customers and addressing problematic areas. Meanwhile, the analysis of the competitive landscape has been the main weapon in obtaining competitive advantage and standing out from the crowd.


NPS looks like a simple and easy-to-use metric. However turning the theory into action might be a real challenge, especially in a B2B environment. Here are the top five challenges we at GemSeek have faced and overcome together with our clients, while setting-up their B2B NPS programs:

1. Defining the purpose and objectives of your research, and how the results are going to be used

Organizations should have a clear idea of why they are executing the research, what are the expected benefits and use cases of the insights generated. It is always worth checking what previous experience the organization has with research projects, as this will help you align expectations. For example, we’ve had several cases working with companies that provide unique services/products and others that have very limited competitor sets. If this is your case, it might be worth running relationship or transactional NPS, as e.g. a competitive benchmarking will bring you minimal value.

2. Segmenting your target group – the base for successful B2B research and actionable insights


There is a great difference in the decision-making process among consumers in the B2C and B2B environment. Why is that the case? In B2C purchases are usually done by a single person, while in B2B it is usually a group decision. So, even if one person of the group is a promoter, it will take another 2-3 people to be convinced before the actual decision is made. This is why a deep understanding of the whole ecosystem in which the organization functions is key. Once you have it, you can assess whether you should be interviewing only the decision-makers or the influencers as well. We suggest conducting 5 to 6 in-depth expert interviews with your target group, as this will give you valuable insights of the process.

3. Choosing between double-blind survey and branded survey

There are ups and downs in both options, so it is a matter of priority. The double-blind survey is anonymous, hence believed to be more objective. The downsides are much lower response rates and the project becoming prohibitively expensive. In branded surveys the problem is that respondents tend to give more positive answers. However, the willingness to cooperate increases response rates and makes fieldwork a whole lot easier. This type of survey also gives you the chance of making personal follow-ups with the surveyed clients.

4. Fieldwork
From operational perspective, the biggest challenge in B2B NPS research remains fieldwork. B2B targeted audiences are usually C-Level professionals with very limited time to spare on your questionnaire. Also, we would be very surprised if any of them is on online panels. Here, the preferred methodology often is CATI, as it creates a more personal relationship with the interviewee.


5. Ensuring consistency of the data

NPS is much more effective, if measured over time. When done this way you can track changes, see which approaches are effective and which not. Keep in mind that the sample composition should be comparable. Let’s assume that in the first year 30% of your sample size was C-level professionals, where during the second is 15% of your target group. As you can imagine, this would significantly impact your data and raise hard-to-answer questions that would do nothing but create confusion.

If you are executing a multi-country project, you should bear in mind the market specifics too. Scope of responsibilities within the same role may vary in the different countries. The same goes about organizational structure. For instance, there might be three levels involved in the decision making process in some markets, while in others only two. If you fail to take this into account you might end up interviewing levels without any actual experience nor influence within the respective area.

Insights from NPS research projects will give you long-term direction, while helping you stand out from the crowd. Just make sure the specifics are well thought out before the start of the project and you will surely have a solid foundation for a successful B2B NPS research.

Do you have questions? Get in touch and one of our experts will contact you with customized advice!