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In order to understand what it takes to curate a B2B testing panel, first, it is important to understand the basics of B2B testing.
Business to Business (B2B) testing involves the process of conducting tests to improve the rate of product usage or website visits that provide a business with greater product adoption, loyalty and conversion rates. The ultimate goal of these tests is to help a business optimize its understanding of its market, customers, end users and competition. Through organized research and analysis, a company can dynamically focus on creating the most attractive and productive user experience.
What Types of Testing Methods Can be Used?
Moderated Testing: Live interaction with an individual using your product or website, while recording the activity displayed on the screen. A company representative can query users about their action choices, reactions and expectations while on a particular web page.
Remote Moderated Testing: Gathering users’ feedback while they perform assigned tasks, in their own natural settings, such as in an office or home. The business representative typically moderates the session via phone or video call.
Unmoderated Testing: A method for gathering input on a user’s activity within your product or website, while user is in a natural setting such as at home or work, and, without any live interaction from anyone conducting the test. During and/or at the end of the test, the user will leave feedback regarding their experience.
Data Collection & Input Gathering: Quick, cost-effective feedback gathering accomplished through reference testing, surveys, user needs interviews and the 5-second test, can reveal important first impressions after just a quick look at a screen.
Once you have a good understanding of the testing methods available and have decided upon an approach for your usability test, you can select your testers and move your research forward.
How Can I curate a B2B testing panel?
Implementing a successful test panel hinges around two key areas: recruitment and process management. Within these areas, there are several methods that can ensure successful user testing.
Carefully choosing an appropriate pool of target users who indicate that they intend to use the tools and features being presented to them is essential to gaining quality test insights. When selecting your panel:
Ensure that users chosen to participate in a test panel correctly represent your target audience. The group should be comprised of individuals with a neutral attitude, who have no personal bias either for, nor against, the company or product.
Avoid ‘frequent-flyers’: try to refrain from inviting users who are known to regularly participate in multiple test panel groups.
Avoid allowing users to become too familiar with certain test methods – especially if repeat surveys are being used. Repeated exposure to certain types of testing could possibly result in changes in overall attitude and behavior toward a company and/or its products and services, thereby tainting the test results.
Some common avenues for finding quality testers include:
Hallway or Guerilla Testing: Finding and using in-house partners to participate in testing. Ask colleagues, contractors or other individuals who are familiar with the platform to test it. This method is generally a good ‘first-pass’ option to gain valuable input quickly, but must be paired with other recruitment efforts to support comprehensive testing.
Existing Partners & Customers: Recruit from existing partners or customers and individuals that regularly use the platform. Your customer support or success team may be able to identify potential testers and/or you may be able to find testers via usage patterns, email and other qualified campaigns.
Live Intercept: Get testers on-the-spot through live intercept built into your product or website. Customers may be more willing to offer input when the request is timely and situational. Once you have received user-input through live intercept, that user may be more willing to participate in future testing.
Social Media: Users often follow or give feedback on social media platforms and this is a key area to identify and recruit testers that are invested in offering input into your platform.
2. Process Management
After having recruited a strong testing panel, it is essential to maintain a positive working relationship with your testers through organization and process management. Consider the following measures to support your testers and encourage their participation:
Utilizing time-saving, specialized email templates to communicate with test participants.
Setting up reminders, one day in advance, of test dates to optimize the rate of attendance.
Facilitate the actual test experience through clear guidance and instructions and software tools that support their work.
Encourage regular attendance by offering incentives to reward users for their contribution.
Monitoring and managing the user group to ensure that members are replaced in a timely manner, as necessary.
When you curate a B2B testing panel, you have the convenience of a preselected group of test users who are readily available. This can help increase opportunities for testing for initial insights, or for honing the user experience (UX). Even though initial startup costs might be more than a one-time gathering of test users, an established pool of individuals, willing to participate in a test panel, can lead to ongoing savings in the future.