Tap the wisdom of the C-Suite

C-suite executives and other senior executives usually don’t have the time or inclination to share opinions in a survey or an interview. The secret to gaining the cooperation of global executives is really quite simple; approach them with:

  • a trusted brand,
  • thought-provoking questions, and
  • timely content.
Tap the wisdom of the C-suite

If possible, teach them something useful during the survey or discussion so the dialog becomes meaningful for them. Writing questions and discussion guides that meet these high thresholds takes experts comfortable speaking to and engaging with CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, CXOs and other senior executives. Beresford Research will help you turn their insight to your advantage.

Invite company leaders with their unique view of the competitive landscape to revel knowledge gaps as well as provide actionable insight. Learn what you need, including industry trends and market risk/opportunities from the people with extensive knowledge and the highest levels of expertise. You’ll gain unparalleled business insight. How? Beresford Research will recruit knowledgeable business leaders in their work places, facilitate unguarded conversations, provide expert data-collection and deliver indisputable analysis.

Our clients include prominent thought-leadership brands, such as IBM, EY, ESI ThoughtLab, Economist Intelligence Unit, Oxford Economics, and many others who request anonymity to develop and conduct their research for business development and intellectual capital.

Beresford Research ensures that the right individuals are tapped, every objective is met, and each study’s results are unassailable. Be confident that respondents are who they say they are. Know you’ll be receiving trustworthy results, a deep understanding, and a clear view of trends and issues most critical for the future. We have successfully completed thousands of C-level surveys, on time and within budget—even when others have failed. Your end-result? Unparalleled business insight.

Case in Point: C-Level Research Case Studies

Generate interest based on insight from industry leaders and senior executives who share their views from the top. Beresford Research’s case studies and client stories demonstrate a wide range of research based on the expert opinions of top-level professionals.

Julien and his team are wonderful to work with. We’ve partnered together to create compelling thought-leadership, tapping senior executives from around the world for over twenty years. His team is extremely responsive and supportive, and they are masters at developing and interpreting multilingual market research and surveys.

Lou Celi, Chief Executive, ESI ThoughtLab

Surveying and interviewing C-level executives FAQs

The most reliable and efficient means of surveying C-suite and other senior executives is to use telephone interviewing, also known as CATI (Commuter-Assisted Telephone Interviewing). The best CATI suppliers qualify all their executives in their offices, so there’s no concern about imposters. Online sample companies say they have senior executives, but they never verify the employment claims made by potential respondents, instead relying on their customers to identify fraudsters after their survey data reveals deception. Accounting for all the time needed for quality control of online executive samples, CATI is only slightly more expensive than online for executive sample, and orders of magnitude improved in quality.

We generally aim for survey lengths of 20-25 minutes when targeting C-suite and other senior executives. While possible to conduct more detailed surveys, lasting up to 45 minutes, participation rates drop precipitously while costs rise significantly.

With CATI surveys, fielding time is directly related to the difficulty of the audience, and the number of completes required. For a 20-25 minute survey we budget four weeks for 500 or fewer for C-suite and other senior executive surveys, six weeks for up to 1,000 surveys, and at least eight weeks for 1,000 surveys.

The right number of respondents to include in your surveys, whether executives, managers, line workers, consumers, or governmental employees depends on three factors:

  • The universe of people who fit the criteria (how many exist)
  • As an extreme example, if you were surveying Fortune 500 CEOs, there are obviously only 500 of them.
  • The number of cohorts (or segments) you will use to analyze the results
  • In a global survey, regional analysis will require fewer respondents than country analysis
  • The projectability required for your results (the margin of error you’re willing to accept)
  • 300 responses in a potential audience of 300,000 or more similar individuals would provide a margin of error of +66 points at the 95% confidence level. Pretty acceptable. However, if you had three regions and six industries (assuming an even distribution of both), the regional results would have a margin of error of + 9.8 points and the industry results would have a margin of error of + 13.86 points.

Margin of error is related to the reliability and projectability of the results. The higher the number of responses, the lower the margin of error and the increased reliability and projectability of the findings. When we speak of a margin of error at the 95% confidence level, we’re indicating that if the study were reproduced with the same types of respondents, 95 out of 100 times the surveys were conducted, the results would be within the “margin” of error for the original study. Margins of error are also calculated for individual findings to determine whether the differences between two or more findings are “statistically significant” at a given confidence level.

Beresford Research’s Margin of Error Calculator

Here’s the formula to use for calculating the margin of error for a sample assuming a 95% confidence level:
+ 1.96 √(.25/n) (√((N-n)/(N-1)))
where n = sample and N = population (alright to omit “N” and second square root calculation if N is large)

For 99% confidence, replace 1.96 with 2.576; for 90% confidence, replace 1.96 with 1.645.

Beresford Research’s Margin of Error Calculator

English is generally understood by C-suite and other senior executives around the world with a few exceptions: in Japan, China and countries where Arabic is spoken we recommend using the local language. For non-executive surveys, we recommend using the local language to avoid any misunderstandings.

See Beresford Research’s Survey Tools

When asking C-suite and other senior executives about their company’s financial performance (e.g., revenues, costs, margins and profits), we find that $US or € Euro ranges are understood globally. However, when asking consumers or lower level employees about salaries or costs, it is necessary to not only use local currencies, but also to adjust for purchasing power in the local markets. In other words, a survey of Italian consumers asking about grocery items or household income would have slightly different ranges from a survey of German consumers, even though both countries use the Euro.

See Beresford Research’s Survey Tools

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