How to win my business (a memo from your client)

Today’s post is contributed by TMRE Guest Blogger, Katie Clark. You can follow her on Twitter @InsightsGal.

Hello! I’m your client.

In fact, I’m a client of several of you who are reading this blog.
And I’ve received phone calls, touch bases, sales pitches, and reach outs from many of you.

I’m one of many client-side researchers active in social media, blogging, and attending market research conferences. I’m privileged to be one of the official bloggers for The Market Research Event this year (thanks IIR !), the event that has more client-side participants than any other market research event.

Consider my blog entries the voice of your client, and feel to ask questions – let’s make this interactive!

So for my inaugural TMRE blog post, let’s discuss some basic tactics for how you suppliers out there can win my business, and the business of my client-side peers…or at least get a foot in the door.

1) Do your research
This is simple, but it bears repeating!
Yes folks, we’re in the research business, so you would think it would go without saying that you should read up on a client before you pick up the phone. In our industry more than most that should be an ingrained trait.

But for at least 50% of the sales calls I receive, it’s clear that the caller doesn’t know the industries our company serves (hint: the info is on the website) and don’t know that I work in B2B (hint: also on the website). So much information is on company websites, LinkedIn, and other social media that not doing your research isn’t an excuse.

It’s disheartening to get 5-10 minutes into a call only to hear a supplier say – “Oh, I didn’t realize…sorry, we can’t help you.”

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that we (the clients) don’t want sales calls – we do! We want to hear what you can offer, but let’s jump right into how you can best help us – and we can do that if you’ve done your research.

2) Be a team member, not just a product
Since many of us work in small research departments within a wider organization, we’re often stretched for resources. When pitching to us, focus on how you and your organization can become part of our team, not just another piece of technology for us to manage.

Invest in customer care training, from your front line tech support to your account executives, it’s that important! Customer care, and being focused on the customer experience, can be the tipping point during a sale, especially if your technology is not unique in the marketplace. More than once that has been the deciding factor to go with one vendor versus another, and I’m not alone!
(For some great customer experience stories and excellent coaching, see Annette Gleneicki’s CX Journey blog.)

3) Social Media: We’re out there, and we’re watching you
I wholeheartedly suggest that you do become active on social media if you are not already.

You may query whether client-side researchers are on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc., and the answer is a resounding “yes!”

Some suppliers/agencies have felt there is a lack of social media presence among client-side researchers, but what you need to understand is that we are on social media primarily to monitor the chatter in our specific industries, which is often necessary to do our jobs. But don’t discount the fact that we are out there, and likely we are watching YOU. Just as we ask for you to do your research when pitching to us, we do our research in looking at your presence on social media to help us determine whether we would like to enter into a business relationship with you. So, if you want to win our business, ensure that your social media presence is solid.

In closing, as a client-side researcher I want you suppliers and agencies to remember, we DO want to work with you and we want that relationship to be successful.

I look forward to hearing from many of you via the blog, and look forward to seeing most of you at The Market Research Event in November!

The Market Research Event will take place November 12-14, 2012 in Boca Raton, Florida.  For more information on this year’s program, download the brochure.  If you register today and mention code TMRE12BLOG, as a reader of this blog, you’ll save 15% off the standard rate!