Competitive Intelligence

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I have shot out quick emails to these folks, and have been as responsive as I can. I just get the impression they are too busy for any additional work. I am only asking for 15  minutes. A goodly number of these are done as they are driving home from work, for example. I also did one via email. SurveyMonkey is not an option.

I would appreciate any suggestions you have to get on these busy people's calendars in the first place. NO, I am not offering any payment for these interviews. So far they are all losses, so I have that issue too, since sometimes it was a bitter loss and other times the account team has no idea even who won the business. 


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Hi Ellen,


A difficult challenge given what you mention above indeed. I'm sure you have probably considered this, but would it be possible to offer something other than direct payment? For example, maybe the firm  you are attempting to gather the information for could offer some small token of appreciation for the respondent's time? Something as simple and small as a pen and pencil set or a polo shirt with the company logo? I know we did this for focus groups around the world and it seemed to stimulate a bit stronger interest. Or, perhaps on the other hand, you could start by asking your targets if they would like to be involved in providing assistance for future product and solution development, and then circle the wagon back and correlate to what went wrong presently. It's likely it would drop out of what you would hear without a direct approach as to the current loss.



Do you have an internal sponsor?  If not, if you're coming at this as a lone ranger on an Ellen-worthy cutting edge project, can you approach the managers from the side?  As in, how did you find them?  Did somebody who'd benefitted from your amazing capabilities in the past finger them for you?  Could they be the intermediary, making sure to include you in the communication?  We're talking loss here, there's no reason for the already-feeling-kicked-in-the-head manager to cooperate unless he/she sees some advantage.  Perhaps if you've been able to bring a plus-up to a colleague, that will get you the in.


Good luck!


@ Monica. I hadn't thought about any incentive, but I did create what I thought was a good value proposition and have customized emails to each person before calling them. What I am learning more than anything is that younger people are not comfortable on the phone, and that being a loss customer makes this even worse. I am still getting an over 50% response rate. I would just like to get closer to 100% which is what I used to get in the old days when people in the US used the phone more, were more comfortable on the phone, were less crazed, and had no caller ID.

@Marcy. I have no referral letter from my client if that's what you mean. That would be helpful I am thinking, but maybe not, since this is the high tech industry so that might even close the door quicker with losses. That I am a neutral party may be why I get more than 50% who will communicate. This was an easier process when we didn't have all these forms of communication and people didn't have caller ID. Some simply don't pick up the phone, ever.



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