If you’ve ever been in a band (including marching), you know that adding a new member isn’t always an easy task. You could get along great at the first jam session, but then their real personality comes out and you don’t get along at all. You could audition guitarist after guitarist and never find one with the skills to keep up with your songwriter. You could settle for a grunge-aesthetic bassist for your big-band set-up and struggle getting the guy into a suit for your gigs. Finding a match to elevate your team comes with plenty of weird difficulties. So is the same in the business world when it comes to vendors: it’s hard to find someone to match your pace and meet your needs. And what if your needs include market research, but you all you remember about that is the couple of weeks you spent on the subject in one of your college courses? Looking into market research vendors gets overwhelming, especially when it comes to the type of research you think you need, the outcomes you are hoping for, and the thousands of people vying for your attention on your first GreenBook search. But rather than focusing on everything that goes wrong when adding to the line-up, we want to talk about what can go right when you team up with the right market research vendor.
How You Know It’s Gonna Work
We all wish we had some sort of ability to see into the future when it comes to starting a new venture or adding a new hire to the team. While your intuition can serve you very well when searching for a market research company to team up with, there are a couple of signs to look for when you’re looking through all the vendors out there. Look at the timing of their first replies to your requests: Did they take too long? Are they in a time zone that works better for your schedule? Also take note of the way they talk to you: do you like the tone they use in their communications? They’re on their best behavior at this point, and hopefully they will maintain consistency in the way they communicate with you. Once you get a proposal from them, take a good, thorough look at it, and try to look beyond just the specs that they give you: look to see if their calendar allows them time to dedicate themselves to your project in the way you expect; ensure that the language they are using fits with what you would expect from a final report (proposals and reports often take on the same tone within companies).
What “Going Well” Looks Like
Now that you’ve found a researcher that you vibe with and have started the project, how do you know that things aren’t going to end in disaster? (Yeah, sometimes we’re pessimists too.) A big part of “going well” includes participation from both sides. You could just hand off your project and come back at the due date with your fingers crossed, but we recommend sticking around: replying to group emails, asking for updates, watching the livestream of the focus groups. Communicating your evolving needs is important to a successful research project.
Keeping your “Match Made in Heaven” Around
So your project went well, you got the insights you needed to move forward with business decisions, and you’re patting each other on the back in congratulations. They send the bill, and then what? Is that the end of your relationship? While we discourage making up projects just for the sake of something to do, we encourage sticking with the team members that you click with. Sign up for their newsletter, add them to yours, send a friendly email, and recommend their work to other companies. We hate to say that we play favorites when it comes to our clients, but we do have certain people that we get especially excited to work with and it’s precisely because these are the things that they do for us. And even if it’s a couple years between the first project and the second project, we value the great days we get to work with you just as much as you do.