Market insights teams – those that provide analysis of data and information about a company’s customers to senior decision makers – are in the midst of submitting budget proposals right now, and probably putting together decks of slides that explain just how they will make good use of any increase that the CFO and his or her team provide.
The market insights (MI) team at one company CEB, now Gartner works with has managed to gain a 55% increase in their budget year over year, by painting a clear and compelling vision of their function for business partners.
This vision helped the MI team move from being seen as a “nice-to-have” function to an “indispensable partner” in helping make decisions and set strategy, which is a shift that all MI teams should strive for. This move required three important steps.
Network-based information gathering: The first step the team took was to conduct a “listening tour” with business partners. The idea was to reveal strengths and weakness in the business, and enable the MI team to quickly understand business partner needs.
Business-centric insights case: Based on the information gathered from the listening tour, the vice president of the MI team creates a document that outlines a vision and strategy for how the team can have a “business impact”.
The document clearly demonstrates how MI activities will produce business outcomes.
Facilitated and tailored discussion with stakeholders: Finally, the team socialized this document with stakeholders and business unit presidents to gain buy-in for the business value of a more customer and consumer insights-focused company.
Vision Statement and Knowledge Estate
One of the outputs from this process was a brand new vision statement (see chart 1).
Chart 1: Market insights vision example Source: CEB analysis
As well as the vision statement, the team shared their business case with senior leaders. One of the best aspects of this template was a heat map, which they referred to as their “knowledge estate” (see chart 2). The knowledge estate highlighted some of the key insights the MI team had produced, but also some of their missed opportunities as well.
When presented, the color contrast between green, yellow, and red was striking, and really emphasized the opportunities that existed for the function if more investments were made.
Ultimately, the team was so successful because they were able to become more business-focused with their insights, and position themselves as indispensable.
Chart 2: Example of a “knowledge estate” Source: CEB analysis
Click on chart to expand