Insights

Insights

Win Loss Analysis and Customer Satisfaction Research Perspectives Q&A

Questions and Answers with Anova’s Richard Schroder, Heather Jenkins and Andrew Cloutier


Anova Management Team


Q:  What makes Anova different from others who provide similar win loss analysis and customer satisfaction research services?

Richard Schroder:

I think we’re different because every project we do is staffed and managed by a senior person who works directly and intimately with the client to understand their needs and objectives and to design an intelligence gathering and analysis process that produces meaningful strategic intelligence and insight.

Heather Jenkins:

I agree.  I think a lot of market research firms put a senior-level “rainmaker” out front with the client to cultivate and manage the relationship, but the real work gets done behind the scenes by very smart, but very junior and inexperienced analysts.  That’s not our business model.  We’re focused on using creativity and innovation to plan and execute customized projects for clients – and that takes senior-level experience and involvement.  Our people have a very long history of success in the sales and client retention intelligence and research sector – success that even pre-dates our current collaboration at Anova.  Many of us played key leadership roles at Chatham Partners, one of our competitors, prior to coming together at Anova and that experience has helped us understand what approaches work, and which ones don’t.

Andrew Cloutier:

I would add that in the end, we’ve come to believe that clients don’t just pay us to collect data and hand it off to them. They pay us to help them interpret it and drive improvements in their sales, marketing, product development and client service efforts.  I think that’s what we do better than anyone else.  Frankly, that’s our passion. It is why we get up in the morning.


Q:  How do you want Anova to be seen in the marketplace?

Richard Schroder:

We want to be seen as athletes.  By that I mean, as people who are dedicated, hard-working and totally committed to helping our clients compete and succeed.  We also want to be recognized as thought-leaders – as a firm that is defining new ways for clients to use market research to achieve strategic superiority.  Finally, we want to be seen as hungry, aggressive and passionate about what we do.  We’ve been in business since 2005 and I think these attributes are starting to be reflected in how Anova is perceived in the marketplace because we’re working with a very impressive group of clients – firms that are market leaders and that are known for being innovative and highly successful at what they do.


Q:  When you are designing a new project for a client, what’s your approach?

Heather Jenkins:

At the end of the day, we answer “why” questions for our clients. “Why did we win? Why did we lose?  Why do our clients stay with us?  And, why did they leave to work with someone else?”  Getting answers to those questions is a pretty straight forward exercise and is something any good market research firm should be able to do by using tried and tested methodologies.  However, here at Anova, we take things a few steps further.  We don’t use a “cookie-cutter approach.”  We tightly define how a client’s projects are scoped and designed and then we take those research methodologies and significantly adapt them to the situation and the client’s objectives.  We then interpret the findings and help the client develop a plan for making them actionable.  Once that plan is being executed, we remain involved to help the client oversee its successful implementation.  The point is, we offer a tightly defined set of research and analytical capabilities and focus exclusively on clients who operate in the high-end B2B market where the sales process is complex, where winning new business requires significant effort and where keeping the business you have is the key to building the critical mass you need to be successful over the long term.


Q:  Why is that important?

Andrew Cloutier:

It is important because some market research firms compete primarily on the basis of their technology or their high-priced talent.  Clearly, having the capacity to collect and manipulate data and information is extremely important – as is having very bright people performing those tasks, but at the end of the day, there is a very strong human and personal dimension to what we do.  To be successful we have to have good systems and good people, but we also have to be engaged with our clients and empathetic to their needs and to the issues and concerns of their clients.  It is all about listening, understanding, analyzing, interpreting and proposing solutions that make sense.  That’s what any good consultant does and it is how we try to operate every day.


Q:  You began your business with a focus on financial services, defined contribution and human capital management – how have you evolved as a firm?

Heather Jenkins:

We have done work in a variety of complex B2B sectors, including healthcare, technology and enterprise software, among others, but our initial focus was in the sectors you mentioned because of the intense levels of competition that characterized them.  The defined contribution market, for example, has undergone tremendous growth in the last 20-25 years, but as the market has matured, we have started to see less innovative and less committed players dropping from the scene or being acquired by larger and more focused competitors.  It is a classic tightening of market dynamics that is increasingly leading to industry consolidation.  This has meant that those companies that want to emerge as dominant players in the DC recordkeeping and investment management sectors are looking for ways to be more competitive in business development situations and more successful in retaining the clients they already have.  This has made them very receptive to the type of sales and client retention intelligence and research services Anova offers because we give them the strategic insight they need to be more competitive – to create new and better products, to refine their sales and marketing processes and to enhance their client servicing capabilities.

Andrew Cloutier:

The point is that high-end B2B markets with long, complex sales processes and sophisticated client servicing requirements inevitably go through the evolution that Heather just described.  Markets start to become more crowded, margins tighten and acquiring and retaining clients becomes more challenging.  It doesn’t matter if you are in the investment management, biotech, healthcare or software business; at some point, if you want to grow and be a market leader, you need to find ways to break away from the pack – to differentiate yourself by innovating and by bringing a higher level of service to your clients and prospects.  The work we do collecting and analyzing insights and observations from your current and former clients and prospects can provide you with the insights you need to focus those efforts in ways that will produce results.  For Anova, it is all about fueling our clients’ ability to be more competitive by helping them make better, more strategic business decisions.


Q:  What does the future hold for Anova?

 Richard Schroder:

We hope it holds continued growth and lots of highly satisfied clients.  We don’t ever want to be perceived as fat, dumb and happy about what we’ve accomplished.  We also don’t want to be perceived as conventional and set in our ways.  We want to be a learning and innovative organization because that is the only way your capacity to add value for your clients increases and magnifies.  We also want to stay focused on what we do best.  We will continue to look for ways to better serve our clients by offering them new products, services and strategies that help them attract and retain clients, but our area of emphasis will always be in the high end B2B market.  Finally, we will continue to work very hard to distinguish ourselves on the basis of the relationships we build with our clients and the value we add for them.  At the end of the day, that’s how we keep score for ourselves.