Upon arrival at XANT, I was asked to learn the company’s operations as quickly as possible and then to conduct full-time research on company and industry-level questions.
At that time, the company had about 200 employees.
When I described my new position to friends and colleagues outside the company, many expressed a sense of surprise that a company of this size would dedicate resources to this type of research.
I have quickly learned why XANT invests in industry research that is generally only conducted by much larger corporations. The benefits far outweigh the costs. The sooner you see the vision, the stronger your company will be in the long run.
Here are three reasons you should be doing original research:
1. Research is a compass of company direction.
Just as a sound compass points a direction through the unknown, research points a company toward success through the limitless jumble of business uncertainties. There are many paths to success: a dynamite product, a timely response to an unfilled market need, an innovative business insight, or a masterful business-plan execution are all good examples.
Identifying the right routes to success requires that you answer the hard questions through rigorous analysis.
When the XANT team wondered whether social media was an effective lead-generation method, we researched it and concluded it was overrated. That widely read report has helped XANT, its clients and other sales organizations to make better lead-gen decisions. This question is one of many that we have answered through thorough research.
2. Having a research agenda keeps your company ahead of the competition.
Regularly releasing new and exciting research sets your company apart from your competitors.
For example, when Company A maintains a thriving research agenda and out-innovates Company B, that means Company B must play catch-up, often resorting to imitation.
In creating the positions of leader and follower, Company A and Company B establish their places in the market. Once in the lead, it is easier to maintain it, while the position of following and imitating creates a road paved with desperation to maintain relevance.
3. Research is a symbol of company positioning.
The research page on our company website explains, “XANT is continually conducting research to determine the best practices for the industry.”
This is a substantial mission, which I work toward each day as we pioneer the best practices for the sales industry.
XANT research helps to define the company and generates awareness and trust in the market. Potential clients, investors and employees can find out who we are as a company and what we care about by reading our research.
Every company, regardless of size, can embrace a research-driven culture. This culture allows your company to constantly re-examine old assumptions and make necessary changes. And if your research is valuable enough, you just might emerge as an industry elite.
James W. Phillips joined XANT in April 2013 as a business intelligence analyst. He is responsible for conducting research on key questions facing the company and the sales industry. Prior to XANT, Phillips was a Ph.D. student at Rice University, where he conducted and published his own original research. His high-profile projects include data collection and analysis for the “Portraits of American Life Study.” Phillips has presented more than a dozen academic papers at conferences throughout the United States. You can connect with him on Twitter @jwpresearch.
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