Guest blogger Lynzie Riebling shares her thoughts on her recent presentation with Rival Group the 2023 Insights Association Corporate Researchers Conference.
If you were able to come to Andrew Reid (CEO of Rival Technologies) and I’s presentation at CRC…amazing. I hope you loved it and it pushed you to think about insights more provocatively! If you didn’t, however, get a chance to join us IRL … this is for you.
For background context, I’ve known Andrew for about 5 years. REVOLT TV was one of Rival’s first customers. Andrew asked me to join him in Chicago to chat about how the insights program at REVOLT has evolved from solely supporting distribution to becoming a strategic partner to the business. As our session wrapped up, we had a few great questions from the audience on how I managed to get buy-in from the executive team at REVOLT.
Now, sipping a fresh ginger tea at Soho House in Chicago, I’ve had a few moments to think through some things I (1) wish I had more time to expand on, and (2) wasn’t able to say on stage due to time constraints.
For me, the question about buy-in really hit home. Our session, in essence was about “buy-in.” How do you get buy-in from your boss to try new things, grow your team and of course secure the budget and resources you need to augment your practice with insight platforms from companies like Rival?
Spoiler alert: “good” platforms and innovative research tech, isn’t free—but nothing good in life is, am I right? Rival is a conversational, insight community platform. Their approach is unique, their UX is seamless, their conversational methodology drives incredible response rates, and the platform delivers the type of rich, contextual feedback we rely on to make big decisions at REVOLT. So that’s my plug for our research communityREVOLT Nation. You’re welcome, Andrew. 😀 But I wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t true.
Sooooo... How did I get buy-in for new ideas like my insight community REVOLT Nation? I’ll share what works for me. And maybe it will work for you, too.
People can be resistant to change. Your boss is a person too, and change for you, is more work for them. So how can you get them to see the value in a platform like Rival and give you the go-ahead? Well, let’s start by taking a step back.
Step one: Embrace an entrepreneurial mindset
I’ve always taken on the role of a ‘founder’ or ‘intrapreneur’ within each organization I’ve worked in. I cosplay like I’m running my own research shop right inside of the company I work for.
Stop accepting status quo as an option and start questioning everything.
Think about it like you’re there to create something totally new—forget whatever the person before you did and forge a new path. My mantra is “if it ain’t broke, how can we make it BETTER?" Stop accepting status quo as an option and start questioning everything.
How can you take a different approach? How can you use that same budget in a different way? How can you elevate your outputs outside of a PPT?
Be obsessive about everything
Entrepreneurs are passionate about every aspect of their business. Yeah, the cliché thing to say is follow the 80-20 rule, but must business leaders I know follow 100% rule. Everything is important.
To get great results, every element must be equally great.
I am the same at REVOLT. We pour as much effort into the methodology, authoring, deployment as we do the analysis, deliverables and storytelling. To get great results, every element must be equally great.
Start small and be scrappy
Change is iterative. It takes time and it can be disruptive. So it’s important to start small and be scrappy. Even though brand lift studies suck and everyone knows it, we’re probably not going to revamp and distribute a massive new program that overthrows an archaic measurement of success deployed for years—or will I!?
But, we can look for opportunities to run experiments. Do something cool with a stakeholder who trusts you. Try a new approach. Run a small pilot project. Which leads me to…
Spoon feed it to people
Proof of concepts are key. But, not everyone is going to be as excited about the outcome as you are.
Little bits here and there will lead to more questions and curiosity.
Look for opportunities to seed the results you’ve had with other stakeholders. Salespeople call it anchoring. Weave the success you’ve had with other stakeholders into your conversations. Remind people of the new work you’re doing. Little bits here and there will lead to more questions and curiosity. Make suggestions and recommendations backed up by data from your pilots.
Now, see if you can guess the next one?
This is short and sweet: Expect more no’s than yesses.
Stay positive. Opportunities will come up. Work your relationships and really get to know your audience. Understand the org chart and the resources and jobs across the organization. What they might need and when.
Take some joy in the no’s while you can, because once the tides turn... it’s like drinking from a firehose.
Learn the cycles of the business. Follow sales and revenue numbers. Timing is key. And take some joy in the no’s while you can, because once the tides turn... it’s like drinking from a firehose. Every ‘no’ gets you closer to the first yes, you’re collecting data on what doesn’t work until then.
Align your goals with the organization's
I know. I know. This is super basic. But it’s important.
Take the time to identify what your boss is trying to achieve. What are their key goals, and how can this technology align with those objectives?
Aligning your wants with the boss's needs is the first step to gaining their support. It demonstrates that you've done your homework and are genuinely invested in the success of the organization. Sometimes the first project isn’t one of passion, but rather one of logic that unlocks the full stuff shortly thereafter.
Push your vendors to do more
Lastly… push your research vendors to do more.
We’ve all dealt with vendor-side salespeople. I love them. I respect what they’re doing. But some can be relentless. They can also be incredibly co-operative and will move mountains to get the deal done! Find those ones, and lean in.
You need to be specific, and you need to be clear. Ask for a pilot. Ask for customer stories. Ask for key metrics and KPIs. Ask them to provide you with what you need to sell-in the tech you want and explain that this is the lynchpin you need to unlock the dollars internally.
It’s their job to make it as easy as possible to convince your boss this is the way to go.
Last but not least…
Anticipate potential questions and concerns
This leads right back to our fave salespeople and outsourcing is my favorite pastime.
Ask them to:
Outline the purchase process in simple terms with timeliness and key milestones
Put together a mini pitch deck, case studies, results from your trial run
Hop on a call with other members of the team if you think that’s useful
Supplying your leadership with the info they need to mitigate their concerns is key to success. Stay ahead of the questions.
Measuring the success of your insight community and research programs
As researchers, we’re under pressure to do more with less. At the same time, the volume of work we can execute, especially inbound requests are a measure of our success. And that’s where I’ll wrap this up.
I measure the success of our insight community in terms of the volume of inbound requests we get from colleagues. People actively seeking out the research team and asking for help to solve a problem—as opposed to just hopping on an internal zoom call and brainstorming an answer.
I measure the success of our insight community in terms of the volume of inbound requests we get from colleagues.
The other important factor, which is more qualitative (I’m a qual-girl at heart) is the fact that REVOLT Nation has become a touchpoint for every partner looking to make big decisions. Everything we do, starts with insights. We’ve evolved into an insights-driven org in the last 6 years, and I am very proud of that evolution.
PS- If you missed Andrew and I at CRC, we’ll be re-booting our session in a live webinar in December. Please come and join us and bring your questions and comments.
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