Posted by Gazelle Global

5 Things You Should Outsource to Your Research Partner

Do More with Less

The most effective directors and managers delegate responsibilities. They lead projects rather than getting too entangled in the details. It’s not that they won’t roll up their sleeves, but meeting pressing deadlines is difficult when juggling multiple projects at a time.

With lean budgets and talent shortages, you don’t have the corporate resources to allocate all research tasks internally, whether personnel or platforms. But you know what the executive suite’s favorite mantra lately is? 

“Can you do more with less?” 

Companies continue to ask – will I save money if we run the survey in-house rather than using an outside vendor? 

The answer is no, or certainly not in every circumstance.  

The Cost of Not Outsourcing

The question comes down to the “cost” of using your team to execute rather than oversee a project. Would your team’s time be better suited to initiating other valuable research efforts within the organization? As you know, there is a hefty cost to not gaining insights. Complex quantitative research assignments that require institutional knowledge and cooperation from the sales teams make sense to do in-house. But there are a host of other tasks that may be perfect for outsourcing, especially if capacity is overstretched. 

Top 5 Market Research Tasks to Outsource

 1. Survey Design and Hosting (Customers & Employees)

If the internal team is dedicated to other work or does not have the right tools and knowledge to design the survey, outsourcing to a reliable partner is the best way to go. For instance, you have never created a Conjoint Analysis survey before. So, reaching out to a collaborative partner who repeatedly uses this methodology is the best route. Using a trusted outside partner will teach you much about Conjoint survey design, or you may discover that being on the supervising end of surveys is ideal. You guide the analysis and reporting rather than getting bogged down in programming. 

The other reason to outsource a survey is if the internal team will appear to be biased or will lack any credibility on the subject. It is too easy if you are too close to a topic to write questions with an unintended lean, especially if you have a vested interest. 

For example, employee surveys frequently require an impartial third party to avoid any perceived bias by internal stakeholders. Employee participation and enthusiasm for the efforts may require you to seek an outside source. The last thing you want is to complete the employee survey and have HR or the Executive Team shake their heads in doubt about the results.

 2. Survey Programming & Data Processing

Can some of your team program a survey? Very likely, but not all survey programming is the same. If one of your stakeholders wants a MaxDiff survey programmed yesterday, you may not be able to do it. You have neither the right software nor the capacity to process the data. Using an outside vendor for MaxDiff programming and processing may increase participant engagement because partners using this technique use best practices in survey graphics and layout.

Survey programming can be tedious, and even one slight miscalculation can ruin results. Your team’s time is more wisely spent digging into the data afterward. You’ll be playing to your employees’ strengths and extracting more significant insights because you and your team have the time to dive into the data.

 3. Translations and In-Language Coding

If you have someone internally who speaks a little Spanish or you want to use Google Translate for the interview guide or survey, think again. While it sounds like it might save you a couple of bucks, using a professional translator is less costly in the long run. Fluent translators will ensure there is no awkward phrasing and more accurately interpret for your target audience. If something could be a turnoff or culturally inappropriate, native translators will bring it to your attention. Maximum participation requires good communication. 

Researchers rely on open-ended questions to give color to customers’ experiences. Many “ah-ha” instances occur when reading through the typed-in verbatims. Unfortunately, not all teams can read through each comment, especially if the survey language is not theirs. In those cases, open-ended questions are coded into categories by human coders. But much can be lost in translation if the coders you use are not native speakers. References and cultural context may elude the coders.  

A solid outside translator codes verbatims without translating out of the original language. Not translating them to English allows for more authentic interpretation and, often, reduced budgets. After all, coding is time-consuming. 

 4. Global Management & Expertise

Some projects require outcomes from multiple countries and use both surveys and in-depth discussions. Handing this type of global work off is a smart strategy. An outside partner has those international ties and long-term relationships. 

  • They know who to go to overseas and will facilitate a smoother and less sprawling proposal process. 
  • They will keep you abreast of cultural differences and are more aware of the nuances and pitfalls of international work. 
  • They will make recommendations on incentives and time-zone restraints so that your project stays on schedule. 
  • Finally, they will coordinate with all regional offices to ensure you have cohesive, one-stop-shop updates.

 5. Participant Recruiting & Sample

Third-party vendors or sample providers recruit faster because they have more extensive databases and use creative recruiting tactics. Some outside partners specialize in hard-to-reach audiences like neurosurgeons or C-Suite professionals; others have a global reach. Working with an outside vendor for recruiting tends to lend credence and objectivity. Experts, customers, and potential customers are more likely to give honest answers about your brand.

Finding a Trusted Partner

Before you find a trusted global project management partner, you need to make sure it makes sense for your business. We created a powerful tool to help you decide if outsourcing your global project management is the right fit for you. If you're looking to save time, increase profitability and gain deeper insights, take a look!

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Be intentional in your pursuit of the right partner. Look for suppliers with expertise in multiple projects in your segment or review the supplier’s global capabilities. Once you find the third-party vendor that aligns with your company’s mission, values, and project needs, it is essential to include ALL the specifications. Specs include target population, length of interview or survey, incident rate, etc. 

Using a trusted research partner frees you up to do what you do best.

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Topics: Global Research Service