When asking children ’what do you want to be when you grow up?,’ amongst the replies of doctors, astronauts, princesses and cowboys…I imagine not many said a career in market research, or more specifically market research data collection.
Yet here we are, most of us lifelong research professionals spanning many areas of the research process. Seemingly we fall into this business as most of us share a common personality; inquisitive by nature and focused on getting to the truth and understanding of our society as a whole. It’s our jobs to embrace reasonable doubt, ensure we’ve done our homework and have plans in place to handle whatever reality we discover.
Our experience serves us so well in fact, that we use this confidence to build a credible business that has accountability and process in place to deliver consistent, actionable results. We feel that our job is done right when we see our clients grow their business and find their magic.
In our line of business, it’s often a case of ‘you’re only as good as your last book’. Given this status, those who are able to produce their best work consistently and proactively while defining new processes are the ones who are the most successful.
With new technology comes innovative and sometimes questionably better ways to do things. To service our clients’ best interests, we need to be aware of the latest bells and whistles and look to diversify our methodologies.
In this pursuit, we encounter varying levels of qualification from those who offer these new services and technologies. Particularly, there is a certain frustration with the bombardment of unqualified sales people who are tasked to sell products/services whereby they’re clearly out of their depth.
The focus seems to be too much on Business Account Management 101 when recruiting account/business development people into our business, given the lack of actual MR experience.
It’s a business challenge most suppliers face, and while vetting a new candidate or assessing current account management, it’s important to get a sense of their grasp on Business Account Management 102 skills.
Getting to Know Business 102:
Understand Your Passion – You shouldn’t do it if you don’t feel, eat, and breathe it. No matter how good an actor you are, you can’t mask a lack of passion. Understand the common personality traits of this business and identify them within yourself.
Believe in Yourself and What You’re Selling – In sports like baseball, you play your best when you’re loose and you can ‘swing freely’. You’ve spent years honing your craft and when stepping up to plate, you’re ready. The same applies to business. Confidence is found in experience, asking questions, digging in and understanding the process and using your mistakes to hone your skill.
Be Resourceful – Understand that commonly accepted ways aren’t always the best. Look outside the box for new, proven ways to make a difference. Research all parts in and around the project at hand to bring added value.
Include Colleagues & Specialists – Understand that it takes a village, and not one person can be an expert in everything. At most organizations, each person respectively has a set of skills that others don’t. Make relationships internally and partner with those people to deliver the best, experienced solutions.
Listen & Respect to Your Customer – Listen openly and understand that your choice is not always the best choice. Understand that the hard work taken place on your client’s end came at a great cost, and that you value this and would only want to get involved if you can create the best value for them.
Business 102 can translate across all industries as all business people are suppliers by nature. Understanding these values helps clarify what your clients needs and goals are and that’s priceless. It is important to have this additional perspective especially in the absence of little or no prior experience within the industry you’re working in.
About John Wulff