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How to Sell to Market Research Buyers, Part 3

This is the third 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’re exploring the best ways for you to connect with market research buyers during the buying & selling process.

In the first article in the series, we interviewed Kristin DeGraff, Senior Manager, Consumer Insights for Constellation Brands. Last month, our guest was Richard Tanner, Customer Insights Manager/Product Marketing at CareerBuilder.

This month, we’re chatting with Melissa Davies, Senior Manager, Shopper Insights/Behavioral Science at the Kellogg Company.

Melissa, I really appreciate you helping us out with 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. Content marketing is not only helpful on the client side to learn, but also showcases the thought leadership of the firm. It keeps a firm’s name top of mind and demonstrates that they are engaged in what is going on in the industry beyond just fielding market research.”

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 engage on LinkedIn. It definitely helps and again, is a great way to keep that firm top of mind.” 

When you (or your colleagues) attend conferences… do you go to market research-focused events, those that are focused on the vertical you work in or other types? What are the top 3 events you (or your colleagues) attend each year?

“This one is a little hard to answer within a large insights organization… typically, one or two of us attend each of the conferences that are market research, marketing, shopping or retailer related. Across all of us, we attend a lot of conferences to stay up to date on the latest in the industry!”

Melissa, 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)? 

“Content! Give me a nugget to learn something new or valuable information to leverage. This will make sure I keep not only receiving emails but also will take the time to read your email. A video clip is great if you recently spoke at a conference, an example of recent work that you can share, unique capability you have or sharing a POV on a hot relevant topic.”

Describe the perfect capabilities presentation from a potential supplier? 

The perfect capabilities presentation would be simple, polished, include pricing ranges for standard services, showcase how you are different, who else you work with on the client side (helps with credibility) and show examples of past work & deliverables.”

Describe the perfect proposal from a potential supplier? 

“Be honest on what you can and can’t deliver… and by when. Have examples of deliverables.”

Final question, Melissa… All things (services, pricing, timeframe) being equal between potential suppliers bidding on a project, how do you make your decision? 

Reputation and credibility! Have I worked with the firm before? Do I have a relationship with them? If not, has anyone at my company and do they have experience with our brands/categories? What was their experience? If they are new to our company, what is their reputation in the field and how long have they been around? What other clients have they worked with and how active are they in the market research community. Also, I can’t stress enough how important polished and innovative deliverables are, as well. With all other things being equal from a research standpoint, having a turnkey deliverable that I can turn around and take to my customers/stakeholders is extremely important.”

Melissa, thanks again for your time and candor. Our readers will be very appreciative.

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