On today’s show, Sima introduces Andrea Zurbriggen, the Strategic Sourcing Manager of Escalent, and Katie Egge from Paradigm Sample.
Listen in to discover the shades of grey that occur between a client and partner relationship.
The Approach Makes the Difference
Andrea manages vendors of all types: technology platform, sample supplier, or an executive-level recruiter or moderator. It’s her job to find the right source for each particular type of job that comes up.
As a buyer of sample, Andrea appreciated Katie’s initial approach of questions that enabled Katie’s understanding of Escalent, of Andrea, and of her specific business needs.
Others have approached her with panel books, or an overview of their programming and analytics. This, however, is information that can easily be learned by googling the company’s website, so it’s crucial to have conversations about what you do, what your company specializes in, and how you can best support them during the initial courting-calls.
Courting Calls and Red Flags
Always give the dignity of a response, even if you can tell it’s something you wouldn’t utilize or from an unreliable source.
Consider a quick response explaining that you’re not currently looking to expand your vendor network but will save their number in case something changes in the future.
Keep yourself open to learning about new sources, though, because you never know what’s going to come around in the industry, as it is constantly changing.
Andrea discusses what she considers “red flags” from vendors, such as canned emails with bad grammar, companies that have too many “Z’s” in their names, sloppy websites, and an initial email or call that claims their company can “do it all”.
Transparency on Outsourcing
Nobody can do it all, and that is okay! Each company has its specialties and expertise.
What is not okay is pitching yourself as a “do-it-all” because buyers already know that you’re outsourcing much of it.
Always be specific in how you are able to meet a client’s needs and objectives. Packaging other company’s assets and selling it as your own is shady.
The curtain between the “client” and the “panel source” needs to go, says Andrea.
She wants to be able to peek behind the proverbial curtain and understand your processes and protocols, who you’re partnering with, and why.
Her clients have started to ask really great questions about where all of these people are coming from, and that never used to be a question. As someone who manages the panel vendors that she partners with, Andrea has to be able to give them very clear-cut answers. It’s sometimes difficult to get answers from certain companies.
There are some companies, however, that are really strong about communicating those processes and sharing the sources they’re using and why. It’s fine if you have a reason for utilizing a certain source for a certain population as long as she can clearly communicate to the parties involved why those sources are being used.
Katie explains the reasons why some companies are not as transparent concerning the revealing of sources as others. As she relates, it is a double-edged sword.
The first reason is if you are a sample provider and that is your primary asset, your partner network is then an extension of your asset, and there’s a fear that your client will simply go to your partners directly to cut costs.
The second reason is that there may actually be something shady going on behind the scenes and they don’t want to disclose it.
End Client Engagement
Andrea has observed that end clients are starting to get involved in understanding sourcing and sample. They are looking at the entire research process that drives the deliverable insights.
This shows investment in the process and commitment to quality. The end client is interested in learning how panels are created and how they’re cared for.
Katie considers this increase in engagement by the end clients a very good sign that that teamwork is going to help the industry to grow.
Quick links to connect with Andrea Zurbriggen:
Quick links to connect with Katie Egge: