How to Get The Best Out of Your Expert Network Provider
So, you have decided to collaborate with an Expert Network to get access to unique knowledge and insights: good idea! By consulting subject matter experts, you gain access to value, your pitches will be sharper, your business decisions more accurate. You will transfer the research load element to a professional and be able to focus on your core business.
Now, here are 5 ways of getting the best out of your new provider:
1. Pick an expert network that matches your needs
Take the time to scan the market, do trials, and pick the provider that can adapt to your needs. If you are a leading marketing agency in need of large surveys involving hundreds of experts, pick one of the big networks. Their “database approach” will give you quick access to multiple profiles, and the lack of accuracy will be compensated by numbers.
If you are a “boutique” player, working on projects needing only a few well-targeted experts, go for the agile provider. Their “direct approach” is best at delivering precise profiles within a reasonable time (48 hours).
2. Transfer the research effort to your provider
It makes sense to have an observation period at the start of the engagement before fully trusting your new vendor partner.
However, if the service is spot on, transfer the research load to your new provider as early as possible. You can then dedicate your time on other important things such as getting new prospects or taking care of your team.
Of course, there is always space for you to use your own network, but keep in mind expert knowledge research is best run by a professional firm, they have more resources and a larger reach.
3. Build a strong relationship with your dedicated Project Manager
As usual, communication is key, and your new provider’s job is to establish a healthy relationship between your teams and a dedicated individual on their side.
However, you can help in many ways. By introducing your new provider to your team, you will create a trusting environment. You can also add context to your requests when possible, briefly explaining the purpose of your project e.g. pitch, assignment, DD, etc.
This will establish a team spirit, with your provider contributing to your successes, and ultimately improve the accuracy of profiles.
4. Say what your intentions are
When sending a request, try to be specific about your intentions: are you committed to proceed with calls? If yes, how many do you think you need?
If the project is at an early stage and you just require a small sample set of profiles without necessarily committing to a call, that is fine, as long as you are clear from the start.
Remember your provider’s priority is to help (or so it should be), so it is occasionally okay to spend some pro bono time. The same applies to the number of profiles you are requesting; depending on the project, consider focusing on quality over quantity.
By showing consideration, you will build a healthy and long-lasting relationship, that is reciprocated by the provider.
5. Send feedback
Whether it is to comment on the accuracy of the profiles or on any other step of the research process, your feedback will always be appreciated.
Not only will it help in adjusting research criteria but it will also allow your provider to understand and adapt to your team’s specific practices.
Your EN is part of your team in many ways and as such, it should have a high capacity for interpreting your individual requirements. Your dedicated project manager should suggest a short call from time to time to discuss how things are going. Let’s communicate!
Let's connect if you want to learn more about LB Networks and how we help our clients by sourcing top-level knowledge.