When organizations engage a research firm for a project, it’s common that multiple departments or work groups,? perhaps marketing, sales, customer service, and product development,? are counting on the resulting data to drive their individual performance improvements. And indeed, though one research project typically can’t meet too many conflicting objectives, it often can benefit multiple internal end-users to varying degrees. But, the key to delivering that value across the organization is to give your research firm access to those diverse end-user groups during the upfront planning of the study.
However, it sometimes works in just the opposite fashion. The client’s project manager insists on being the only point of contact for the research firm, citing complex internal processes or incompatible schedules as reasons for blocking access to the end-users of the data. Unfortunately, this approach typically results in a more time-consuming and costly survey development process as well as at least a few unhappy end-users when the research results are finally delivered.
Our advice is to trust your research partner to collaborate with the end-users,? and willingly facilitate those meetings. True research experts will help your end-users:
- Define and explore their information needs and business challenges within a framework of what can be realistically accomplished with the research methodology, budget, target audience, and so forth.
- Identify common needs across disparate end-user groups.From there, the research firm can more effectively prioritize objectives and then structure the research to deliver on as many of them as possible.
- Explain, in research terms, why some of those needs can’t be met with the project at hand so that end-users have aligned expectations and aren’t disappointed at the end of the project.
- Advise end-users on other sources or means of gathering the business intelligence that the current study can’t deliver.
Indeed, when the research firm collaborates directly with the end-users during planning, the resulting study benefits more areas of the organization. And that means a higher return on your research investment.