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January 2, 2018

How to Sell to Market Research Buyers, Part 1

market research buyersThis is the first in a monthly series of articles based on interviews with corporate research and insights professionals from a variety of Fortune 5000 corporations. In this series, we’ll explore the best ways for you to connect with market research buyers during the buying & selling process.

Up first, Kristin DeGraff, Senior Manager, Consumer Insights/Beer Division for Constellation Brands. So, yes, she’s spends her days helping to sell Corona and Modelo beers, among others!

Kristin, thanks for helping us out for this article. Let’s start with a question about Content Marketing and its use by many insights agencies to build awareness and showcase their thought leadership or expertise. Does content (blogs, eBooks, white papers etc.) help to influence your perception of a firm or your buying decision?

“Yes, absolutely! I think it is very important for insight agencies to do their own exploratory research to share with the insights community—particularly research that challenges the status quo, or debunks common perceptions, etc. It’s not something that we on the client side have the time or budget to do, so I really do look to my insight agencies to keep me smart in that way! Those insights agencies that make me smarter are the ones I want to work with.”

What about social media? Do you engage with suppliers on Social Media (connect on LinkedIn, follow on Twitter, etc.)? If so, do you use that engagement as part of your evaluation process of potential suppliers? Does it matter if a supplier has a limited or no social presence?

“I do not engage with insight suppliers on social media very much. However, I have insights colleagues that spend a lot of time on LinkedIn reading thought pieces, or searching for a specific research need. So even though I don’t often engage in social media, I would think it wise for most insight suppliers to have some presence in this space.”

What are the top 3 conferences/events you (or your colleagues) attend each year?

“It varies year to year, but for example, this year those on my team have attended TMRE, ARF (annual conference and several different events) and IIeX Behavior.”

Kristin, if you are on an Email list from a supplier, what would you want to see in their emails that would keep you wanting to receive those emails (rather than opting out)?

“Not surprisingly, clever headlines do catch my eye; also, things that challenge a typical research process or that sound like the supplier has come up with a new/proprietary methodology.”

Let’s talk about the MR agency Sales process for a minute. What is the #1 thing a potential supplier can do to get on your “short list” for consideration?

Do not call me! And especially don’t email me, then call me, then email me again to say you called me. Email works best for me but it must have some content attached. Ideally that content would NOT just be a standard capabilities deck but rather a case study or white paper that you think would be relevant to me. Don’t hold anything back with the intention to “wow” me once you’re able to schedule a capabilities call/presentation.”

Describe the perfect Capabilities Presentation from a potential supplier?

“Light on description of capabilities (honestly, they all start to sound the same), heavier on the case studies and specific examples of your work that you can share or mask.”

Last question… Describe the perfect Proposal from a potential supplier? All things (services, pricing, timeframe) being equal between potential suppliers bidding on a project, how do you make your decision?

“Beyond services, pricing, timeframe, it really goes to the experience of the supplier (or usually the individual person from the supplier that would be working on my project). Through the conversations we have about the research need, I want to get a sense that they are curious about my brand/portfolio/company and are thinking about how this research question fits into the bigger picture. I am drawn to those who can understand my business challenge and identify analogous situations outside of my brand and category.”

Thanks for the insight, Kristin… and have a great 2018!

Don’t forget to check back next month for Part 2 in this series about selling to market research buyers.

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