At Competitive Advantage we are strong believers in applying research findings. Yes conduct research and stay in touch with changing market dynamics, learn what your customers think, how you compare to the competition but importantly take the time to use your research information effectively. Having conducted a survey the process of developing competitive advantage can then begin. This blog explores ways you can effectively implement your research findings.
Reviewing the survey’s findings
Our first step in conducting research is to work with you to agree the research survey methodology, to ensure the quality of the data gained. This is where creating a comprehensive brief at the beginning of your research pays off.
Once your survey is complete interpreting the analysis is a key step. Insight drawn from research findings can have dramatic impact on business strategy. When interpreting findings remember it is not only the high level information that is to be presented. Including secondary statistics can offer context and background, providing further understanding to the answers gathered. Including qualitative e as well as quantitative findings can also help.
Drawing conclusions from each question is important, prompting a list of learning outcomes and recommendations. Your chosen research agency should be able to assist you with this process. Competitive Advantage spends a significant proportion of each research project interpreting the findings. We take care in collating a management summary that provides key points to be considered, assisting you by providing business recommendations. This is only possible because of our knowledge and experience of the construction sector.
How to use your research findings
Yes research can have a dramatic impact on the direction of your business strategy but there are also other more immediate ways to implement the findings. These can be small steps that have significant impact.
- Share the findings of your research with all parts of your business. This allows each business unit to identify new, profitable ways of adapting business processes, so maximising the learning potential of the research project.
- Use the findings to inform and adapt your sales approach. Identifying cross-selling opportunities, customer needs and information requirements.
- Use findings to inform your marketing strategy, providing the right information, in the right way, at the right time.
- Apply findings to your service delivery. Adapting and improving your service delivery will increase customer retention.
- Feed your research findings into your new product development. This could generate a new profitable idea or indeed change the direction of a product in development.
- Feed your research findings into your communications. Tell your customers – very often Buyers in customer organisations will not be involved in day to day supply issues and will not know of your company’s strengths, or will chose to ignore them when negotiating prices. Making them aware will put you in a better negotiating position, or at the very least encourage them to think twice before purchasing from your competitors.
Prioritisation is key, introducing too many initiatives will lead to overload and a failure to achieve any improvements. Areas for improvement should be ranked based on their importance to the customer (and so the bottom-line) and the ease with which change can be achieved. Starting with an easy win will work wonders for morale and encourage people to take on the more demanding challenges.
Having prioritised your improvement opportunities start with no more than three projects. It is best to create multi-disciplinary teams to work on these. Involving people from across the organisation will bring in a range of skills and will improve customer focus and create ownership in those departments which do not normally have involvement with customers.
To improve the chances of success include a senior manager in each team, this demonstrates that the initiative is important. Hold regular progress reviews, if possible the Managing Director should attend these to reinforce their importance and ensure any internal blockages are quickly cleared.
Research should ultimately inform your business strategy and so it is important to take the time to define the requirement, then interpret and implement findings. Extracting a list of learning outcomes from the data is a good start; these in turn can generate recommendations to business process and product offerings. Taking these and filtering them across all business units is also recommended, to make the most of implementing your research findings. Finally prioritising change and getting buy-in from senior management will ensure they are effectively adopted.
Learn how Competitive Advantage can help you with Market Research for the Built Environment and Implementing business strategy for construction markets.
Contact us to talk through your research requirements.