Thursday, August 2, 2018
All Anova research programs culminate in a key phase of the client engagement: the presentation. Whether it be an interim program report or a full aggregate presentation at the program’s completion, the delivering of feedback, trends, and findings is a marque moment in the relationship between Anova and its clients. Learn about how Anova approaches these presentations, and positions itself as a strategic partner to clients, in a conversation with Zach Golden, Consultant at Anova:
Anova: Can you share more about moving from a vendor to a partner? How does that happen?
Zach: Being a partner with our client is a critical part of Anova’s engagement philosophy. We want to be more than a research vendor to our clients, no matter what program is being administered or how long we’ve been engaged. We know our clients expect a lot out of us, and we do everything in our power to meet and exceed those expectations. In our experience, when we can do that, the relationship becomes more of a two-way street where Anova and the client are mutually committed to the program’s success.
Anova: How often do clients review aggregate win / loss findings?
Zach: It really depends on the business and the nature of the program. For some clients, win / loss is used as a diagnostic tool. For example, maybe a new head of sales wants 30 or 40 interviews completed to understand prospect perceptions and to gauge how well the sales team they inherited is performing before changing anything. In a case like that, speed to value is critical, and so it makes more sense to focus on hitting that final number of interviews before analyzing any aggregate results. For clients who have ongoing programs, we’ve found that clients usually get the most value from having ongoing readouts with key personnel at the managerial level either monthly or quarterly, and then bringing in Anova to present to executives twice a year.
Anova: What can an executive expect from an Anova presentation?
Zach: An Anova presentation provides value in a few different ways. First and foremost, we are delivering unfiltered prospect perceptions back to the client. The presentation will give an overview of what prospects are saying on an open-ended basis about the client, such as what did they perceive to be our client’s strengths, and where our clients need to improve. But we don’t just want to dump data at our client’s door. We spend a lot of time crafting a narrative of why our clients are winning and losing, and will focus the remainder of the presentation on telling that story– diving deeper into the areas that are driving prospect decisions, and making sure our clients a) understand the data and b) know what the path forward is to acting on the feedback.
Anova: How do you help clients turn the feedback into action?
Zach: A couple of different things come to mind. Some clients look for us to make recommendations, and we do our best to point out where they need to invest more resources based on what the feedback is, or how the client compares to our benchmark. Other clients view us as a forcing function for senior leadership teams to review data and make strategic plans. The read-out of win / loss findings is the perfect opportunity for executives to debate what areas of the business need improvement to be more competitive.
No matter which way the clients sees us, we are there to be strategic partners, to know their business to the best of our ability, and to understand how the win / loss results apply to the business moving forward. Having data is one thing, but leveraging that data to drive change and improve strategy is where the real value is realized. We care about that part a lot.
Anova: Can you give me an example of this?
Zach: This is good timing! Earlier this week our team was on-site at a client’s office in New York. There were some client team members in the room with us, and a few others on the phone following on their screens. As a group we spent 90 minutes engaging in conversation, but only about 20 or 30 minutes of that was Anova presenting. We would introduce a key finding, and the client would discuss and debate. Our role was less as a presenter and more of a mediator, directing the conversation to different topics and bringing in relevant data to help the executives have a more informed dialogue when needed. It was a great example of clients getting value from having a discussion of where to prioritize resources in the organization with complete reassurance, because we were providing independent, third-party data collected in our research. Our client in this case trusted we knew the results and the program’s goals, and we were able to partner with them in those discussions.