Best Practices for Improving Market Insights Sharing throughout Your Organization
For CMOs, business strategists, market researchers, product managers, and other intelligence-gatherers
Build a deep understanding of who needs what kind of market insights
Sales and business development teams need frequent, timely, actionable, big-picture insights around trends and evolving customer attitudes, behaviors, and preferences. In B2B organizations, sales teams also need news and insights surrounding their customers’ industries and own business, such as recent product launches, changes in leadership, or merger and acquisition activity.
Product managers and product development teams need detailed insights around how customers interact with specific elements of your product, software, or app, so that they can design or redesign specific workflows or interfaces to improve the product.
You get the idea.
Build interpersonal relationships and trust to ensure two-way flows of information
Whether your official role is in strategy & insights, market research, or competitive intelligence, you want to proactively develop relationships which improve the gathering and dissemination of market insights.
Decide which relationships you need to build, and what the right avenue is to engage these individuals. One common mistake many people make is to try to engage directly with sales teams too often. Every internal meeting takes their time away from revenue-generating activities, so you should look for indirect routes to accomplishing your goal. Reach out to key people in sales-adjacent functions, such as sales planning or sales operations and support. Ask if the data you need is already captured in the company CRM. Ask how you can disseminate market insights through established channels, such as the weekly sales meetings or sales leadership communications. You will win over the sales team if you show a willingness to work with them.
Weigh the value of perfect information versus “good enough, cheap enough, fast enough”
You know, intuitively, that some industries evolve at a faster pace than others. What you may not realize, however, is that some aspects of your business are evolving so fast, that you have to make decisions using market insights which are more directional and less reliable than you prefer.
For example, the shelf life of a non-Apple smartphone in the United States may be as little as 4 months before the device is replaced by a newer model. When the pace of innovation is this fast — or even faster — waiting for a traditional market research study to be constructed, tested, launched, and analyzed might mean your business misses out on a market opportunity.
You may, however, work in an industry where the mitigation of risk is more important than a lightning-fast time to market. You’ll know if you’re in one of these industries because you know the risk of a mistake means the risk that people could die or suffer serious injury from decisions based on imperfect information.
Whether you’re in Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals & Vaccines (procedure safety and efficacy), Industrial Engineering firms (product safety; environmental hazards), and Airlines (product safety), business leaders must accept the increased expense and slower time-to-market of their research questions because of the risk of serious harm to people who use their products.
Help your stakeholders make situation-appropriate tradeoffs among good, fast, and cheap. Then, choose your market research methods and tools accordingly.
Synthesize information and spell out the “so what”
You can raise your profile within your broader organization when you act as a synthesizer and conduit of information. Can you integrate the data from your latest customer satisfaction survey with up-to-the-minute feedback from customer support so that the product development team has more reliable information to prioritize changes and improvements? Can you help your counterparts interpret the research findings?
Aim to translate findings into the “so what” for each team in your organization. Market insights efforts can fail to deliver business results because reports full of facts and figures often fail to communicate what the reader is supposed to do as a result.
Think like a content marketer: disseminate insights and implications in multiple forms
Long reports, full of charts and statistics, take hours to create, edit, and format, only to be ignored because they are too dense.
Take a page from your company’s content marketing playbook. Send the long report to the teams who want all the details. Then, extract key insights and implications to use in other forms for various audiences. Put together a trend report to use as a marketing or sales collateral piece. Create an executive summary for the C-suite. Make an infographic for the company blog. When your market insights are more accessible, you amplify your impact on business results.