Conducting an expert interview is generally not an easy job. It needs a lot of expertise, training and knowledge on the researcher side. Some projects in which primary expert interviews can be useful might be so specific that you only have a very limited number of target experts, who in addition are hard to find and address.
Common problems that you might face when it comes to conducting expert interviews are for example:
– A limited number of experts
– Difficulties in finding the right contact
– Experts are usually very busy
– Experts have no reason to talk to you – why should they?
– You need to know the experts’ business and professional environment
– You must interpret the experts’ estimations in the right business context
Every primary research project is a custom and individual business case. “The key is knowing how to identify decision-makers and access them with or without prior relationships.”
This limitation requires you to choose them wisely, and to precisely know how to approach them. To access the right target group, it is inevitable to gain in-depth market knowledge beforehand and fully understand the whole industry, business model and market dynamics. Sometimes the right expert might be the CEO of a company, easy to identify, however difficult to approach. But sometimes the key expert to get the required information could be a specialized technician in a department you might have never heard of before. Additionally, it is vital to show your expert that you have professional knowledge about their business and are an expert in that industry yourself.
Experts have no reason and time to talk to you. Since there are generally no incentives in B2B interviews, you need to offer something different in exchange for their valuable time. This can either be excerpts of the study/survey you are conducting, insights from the analysis or customized data sets for the expert himself.
One of the most crucial and essential features to guarantee the success and benefit of an expert interview is interpreting the interview in the right business context. Expert opinion, expert market assessment or any other information can only help you when the interviewer/market researcher sufficiently knows the client’s business case, its competitive environment as well as previous market developments and trends.