5 reasons why a B2B panel is better than using your customer list

Posted by Borderless Access on Nov 15, 2022 1:23:15 PM
Borderless Access

B2B vs Customer Databases

B2B vs Customer databases – the eternal battle

For many organizations early to B2B research, their own customer database is the ideal source for respondent identification, for several reasons. They have full control over its quality, they know how it evolved over time, they have key sales metrics available for each customer. Yet, time and again when such databases are used for B2B research, the result surprises clients. Not in a good way, though.

As with any primary research, data collected in B2B research is only as good as its source i.e. the respondent. Although it is tempting to rely on company database for the reasons mentioned earlier, consider this: Data collection is typically vulnerable to researcher and respondent biases. These biases contaminate data collection and interpretation.

Broadly classified, there are 4 respondent biases and researcher biases that could affect the B2B research process:

Researcher and Respondent Biases

Researcher bias

Respondent bias


Researcher is convinced of a belief/ hypothesis and uses respondents’ responses to confirm that belief/ hypothesis


Respondent knows which organization the study is being conducted for and responds appropriately


Researcher has limited profiling information and ends up making incorrect interpretations when analysing responses


Respondents force-fit the interview into their busy day and end up rushing through their responses

In context of B2B research, Customer Databases are more vulnerable to these biases. Instead, custom panels offer a cleaner, more efficient and controlled way to collect much-needed B2B data; be it for competitive intelligence, product/ service evaluation, communication assessment, net promoter score, voice-of-customer or brand equity.

B2B panels offer the 5R advantage, over most customer databases:

B2B Panel Advantages

  • Since set up by a third party, a custom B2B panel is better insulated from confirmation biases that an insider might unknowingly carry. Also, B2B panel providers are trained to probe respondents through direct and indirect questioning. They use ready-for-use templates, already designed to tackle common biases.

  • Customer databases are often limited in scope of customer data they capture. Chances are that customer databases contain customer demographics like contact details/ title/ location/ industry. On the other hand, B2B research agencies can add several layers to respondent profile including employer profile/ organization structure/ role in decision-making etc. Such variables can be utilized to slide-and-dice data collected in various ways; which in turn enriches data interpretation.

  • B2B panel companies can devote sustained effort in setting up and running even hyper-niche profiles, which can be extremely demanding to keep engaged.

  • Moreover, B2B panel recruitment allows for anonymity, to ensure bias is eliminated from responses. Panels are essentially, a pre-recruited pools of individuals who have already agreed to participate in research surveys. Thus, intent and interest are already built in, at recruitment stage itself. Response rates, even of hard-to-reach B2B executives, are significantly better than when recruiting from a database.

  • Panel vendors have built-in quality checks to validate respondent information, appropriate incentives and repeatable processes to eliminate poor-quality respondents; who fall short of prescribed standards by giving rushed or poor-quality responses or attempt to take the same survey multiple times.

As tempting as it might be to use one’s own customer database; partnering with established B2B panel providers is a far more time, quality and cost-effective decision. It frees up organizational bandwidth to focus on development and deployment of business improvement programs; rather than be tied down with operational overload of panel set up, engagement and management.

Topics: panel solutions, borderless access, B2B market research, B2B Panel, B2B Panel Povider, B2B Panel Companies, Borderless Access Panels, B2B Research Panel

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