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From Our Team to Yours: Conversation with an Executive Interviewer

win loss analysis staffWhere would a market research company like Anova be without its people? What possible insights and strategies could such a consulting firm offer to its clients without the bedrock of data, stats, and open-ended feedback? The truth is: nowhere.

Whether it be a win / loss program, a departed client program, or client satisfaction program, a key element to Anova’s success it is Executive Interviewer team. In fact, it is probably Anova’s main differentiator in the competitive marketplace. Anova’s interviewers know what they are doing, and they do it better than most.

This is an invitation from our team to yours. Get to know what the Executive Interviewer experience means to you – whether you are our prospect, our client, or just someone on a quest to learn more about Anova – through an interview with one of Anova’s Executive Interviewers, Jeannine Kulsick.

Anova: First, you’ve been with Anova as an Executive Interviewer for seven years. How did you get into this role?

Jeannine: I was introduced to win / loss research while at my previous company and was the consumer of the research. It made such an impact on our business and culture, and ten years ago the idea of win / loss was not entirely mainstream. It was like a little a secret advantage we had over our competitors. I was so intrigued by the work, I made a move from consuming the research to leading the research.

Anova: What skills come into play as an Executive Interviewer?

Jeannine: At Anova, this isn’t about calling someone a thousand times and trying to get through the questions as quickly as possible. There is a certain art to it. To be successful in this role for our clients, I must be a few different things at the same time: accessible and easy to get along with, understanding of people’s time and perspectives, knowledgeable about the industry I am researching within, and competitive with myself to get a great result. I also must be curious. At Anova, this is not about a flat Q&A format. We have to ask beyond the initial question to get to the really good stuff. Getting there is all about curiosity.

Anova: It sounds like probing is a big part of the success. Tell me more about that part.

Jeannine: Yes, that’s the challenging part. We have an interview guide that is negotiated with our client and as part of the program’s kick off, there is a lot of knowledge transfer and training around the program’s goals. Once engaged with an interviewee, as an Executive Interviewer, I am always looking for that next level – the details, the specifics, and the story. I may ask one question that leads to four or five more. It is my job to drill down on the critical aspects of what was important to our client, but also what was important to the prospect. When I get this kind of feedback for our clients, I know it’s a job well done.

Anova: What do you learn from your teammates? The other Executive Interviewers?

Jeannine:  So much. We have all walked the walk and talked the talk, just from different perspectives. My colleagues come from the spaces and markets Anova partners with, and bring anywhere from 10 to 30+ years of experience. There’s a lot of knowledge in-house on our team and we are always sharing with each other. It helps deliver better research, really. We’ve done the presenting, we’ve serviced clients, we’ve had to explain why an important client left for a competitor, we’ve journeyed through our own long sales cycles. I think having these perspectives encourage us to think about what we can do to help our clients learn about what they are doing (or not doing!).

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We extend an offer to continue this conversation. In our next From Our Team to Yours blog, get to know lessons and perspectives from one of Anova’s Analysts.