RAB Insights

RAB Research Archive

Please Don't Lead With Research

One of the positives coming out of the current situation is the amount of new research and information being published on everything from consumer behavior, the path to purchase and media consumption in times of uncertainty. You'll find the most relevant research for what we do on our RAB website on the new Business Accelerated page.

I have a strong affinity and love for research and the organizations that compile it. At the same time, it's important to know when it should be used in the sales process. Used properly, it's magnificent; used improperly, it can lead to disaster.

Research supports tactics, and tactics are born from strategy. If you use the wrong sequence, you may be seen as a self-serving product peddler who is only trying to sell your stuff.

Understand the need or problem the client is trying to solve, determine the appropriate strategy then deploy the tactics to accomplish the strategy. Use your research to support those conclusions and tactics.

Done that way, you’ve put the client first. You have focused on their problem, and you became a partner to solve a problem while using research to support your conclusions and recommendations. Your research also validates the client’s decision and helps them move forward into new and sometimes uncomfortable directions.

We buy on emotion and justify with logic. I’ve quoted Rishad Toboccowala a lot on these pages because he’s so smart, and he’s such a great friend of RAB. He maintains that there are two elements to running a business: making decisions, evaluating options, etc. “The story and the spreadsheet.” Where we get off track is if we focus too much of our time or energy on the story or spreadsheet. We need balance. Identify your client’s problems. Create solutions. Make those solutions come alive with vivid and impactful stories and support them with spreadsheets (research).

In computer programming, they call it syntax – the order and sequence of words. In sales, we call it the 7-Steps to Selling Success. Research is valuable in most of the seven steps as a form of preparation. In other words, it should be done BEFORE you do something else. In the presentation process, research comes AFTER the stories you tell and the strategy you create. Research validates and provides proof of your ideas.

Annette Malave is the SVP of Insights (research) at RAB. If you need custom research or help to navigate all the research available at RAB, reach out to Annette and her team. They are YOUR research department.

Jeff Schmidt is the SVP of Professional Development. You can reach him at Jeff.Schmidt@RAB.com. You can also connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Source: Jeff Schmidt, RAB