How we do it

Capabilities Overview

Primary Point is a full service market research firm specializing in mid and upper executive level telephone-based interviewing on complex business and IT issues.  We excel at establishing dialogue with mid and senior level decision-makers who are hard to identify and hard to engage.

We can supplement your existing vendor or manage all facets of a project.

We are particularly adept at projects where specific contact names are not available in advance.  Primary Point's skill set includes the ability to network within organizations via a process of internal mapping and referral to identify those knowledgeable contacts\ respondents who are at a level or two below the C-Suite.  This is often where the true decision-making process and relevant data reside. 

Primary Point is also adept at simultaneously engaging multiple decision-makers and influencers at specific responding companies via conference call when such an approach can enhance the breadth and depth of the data obtained. 

Lists and Sample Development

Primary Point accesses our own proprietary database as well as various commercial subscription databases.  You may choose to provide us with a list of target companies or a target company profile which Primary Point will use to build a list. CommentL1

The same is true for a list of contact names of potential responding individuals.  Three options are available:  1) You may provide us with a list of contact names, 2) We will build a list using proprietary and commercial databases, or 3) Primary Point will build a custom list as part of our project execution. 

Most commonly, Primary Point will use a combination of the second and third approaches.  We will build a preliminary list of contact names using the functional roles of suitable respondents as described by our client and then supplement this list during the calling process.

Project Tools and Messaging

As a specialist in marketing communications, Primary Point will develop messaging components designed to drive project results.  For example, voice-mail messaging and introductory scripts will be developed to encourage respondent participation.  Such scripts will be used subject to our client’s review and approval.

Project Staff

The ability of our staff to execute a peer-to-peer ad hoc interviewing style drives our ability to successfully engage senior-level decision-makers to gather the business intelligence that is critical to the success of our clients’ initiatives. 

Primary Point’s business model requires staff with extensive business experience who are highly skilled and highly compensated.  A typical Primary Point staff member will have an undergraduate and/or graduate degree with 15-25 years of relevant business experience.  All Primary Point staff operate from the company’s central office in Woburn Massachusetts.

Staff undergo rigorous training to learn Primary Point’s highly engineered techniques, methodologies, and procedures.  They are managed according to established and well-defined methodologies and procedures.  Not only does highly trained and experienced staff better enable peer-to-peer dialogue with senior-level decision-makers, it also allows Primary Point staff to quickly internalize our client’s research objectives and value proposition and to react expeditiously to internal and external feedback. 

Project Management

Primary Point can assist with survey design and QA (quality assurance).  Rigorous project management skills are a core strength.  Primary Point can custom build a target company database using commercial and proprietary sources that match the demographic profile that your project requires.  Data deliverables can be provided in the format selected by our client (Excel, CSV, or SPSS).  Audio recordings of interviews and transcripts are available. CommR1

Quality Assurance

A comprehensive quality assurance (QA) process is important to the successful completion of any market research project.  QA involves all stages of a project from questionnaire design, programming integrity, to analysis and report preparation.  Typically, as part of our quality assurance process, Primary Point will provide our client with audio files of the early interviews so that the effectiveness of the questionnaire can be assessed.  Primary Point can conform to any internal client QA guidelines.  Other QA factors include the involvement of senior management and continuous learning and improvement, discussed below.

Involvement of Senior Management

A critical feature of the Primary Point offering is the involvement of senior management in the formative stages of project execution.  By focusing such senior resources on each new client project Primary Point is able to: 1) insure that project results are optimized, and 2) accelerate this optimization process. 

Continuous Learning and Improvement

Fundamental to Primary Point’s offering is the ability to introduce continuous learning and improvement to each client project, as necessary.  In the initial stages of a project each workday will start with a meeting of all project staff and management to discuss what is working, what is not, and to otherwise share ideas between staff to improve client results.

Programming and Data Collection Tools

Through our partnership with best-of-breed third-party platform and service providers, Primary Point can program all data collection tools using cutting edge, state of the art, data collection capabilities.

Project Methodologies

As a glossary note:

Target = company = organization

Contact = person = individual employee = potential respondent. 

Primary Point uses a range of proprietary practices, policies, methodologies, and procedures.  One of these involves a highly structured methodology for working through a target company population.  To simplify, the executive level telephone interviewing process will generally involve three successive sweeps through the target and contact database. CommL2 The first sweep is focused on identifying suitable respondent names based on the functional roles as defined by our client.  (Often we will learn things our client wasn’t aware of as we move through this process, thereby enhancing results.) 

Obviously, titles and responsibilities vary widely by target company so an emphasis on the functional roles is key.  Typically, there is more than one contact at each company who has the requisite knowledge and data that our client requires.  We focus on finding and approaching the best\ most suitable respondents so as to maximize data quality, eliminating or minimizing DKs (don’t knows) and guesses from the responses.  In this regard, it is not unusual for us to interview multiple respondents from the same company simultaneously via a conference call.  Each of our staff have their own personal bridge\ conference line. 

We will continue this process of networking within the target companies via a process of internal mapping and referral during the second and third sweeps.  As this process unfolds, each successive sweep will reduce the number of contacts we are reaching out to as the likelihood of their relevance\ suitability grows. 

Generally, the first sweep through the target database will take 7-10 days.  Subsequent sweeps generally take one week as more time is spent actually doing survey interviews and the number of relevant contacts shrinks.  It is best practice not to leave more than one voice-message with a specific point of contact in any seven day period and suitable high-level respondents often need two voice-mails before they respond.  Often the potential respondent will request an introductory email with follow-up.  Then there is the process of getting on their calendar for an interview.  For senior high-level knowledgeable respondents this often means making appointments two or three weeks in advance since they are often fully booked short-term. 

Completion times can vary, however, our rule of thumb is that this process takes five weeks, regardless of other factors.  Most interviews will come in during weeks 3-4-5.  It generally doesn’t matter whether there are 10 surveys required or 100.  Whether there are 50 target companies or 300.  The only variable on our end is how many staff are assigned to a given project. 

Representation

Primary Point can execute a research project by representing ourselves as calling on behalf of our client or if our client wishes to remain anonymous, Primary Point can function as the project sponsor. 

Client Brand AwarenessCommR2

When representing our client during the execution of a research project Primary Point is always focused on maintaining the integrity of our client’s brand.  Accordingly, we use a professional peer-to-peer consultative interviewing style with experienced callers to eliminate the possibility of brand damage.  Primary Point callers are respectful and polite.  Primary Point callers come across as well educated and informed and highly professional.  Respondents are never harassed and are generally never contacted more than twice unless they express an interest in participating in the research study.

Soup to Nuts

A research project process might proceed as follows:

  • Have our client’s staff submit a list of issues that they would like to explore and questions that they would like to ask.
  • Collate these into a draft questionnaire.
  • Do a conference call between Primary Point management and the client staff to discuss.  Record this call.
  • Then go back and adjust the questionnaire accordingly.
  • Then allow the client a chance to do a final review.
  • The questions can be closed-end: i.e. yes\ no responses or graded responses, i.e. a scale of one to ten.
  • Or the questions can be open-ended: capturing narrative responses.  The Primary Point interviewer can prompt and probe for more detail, as needed. For complex and detailed responses, Primary Point can gather this data by recording the interview.
  • Primary Point will program the data collection tool(s) and design introductory scripting and emails as needed.
  • During the data collection process the response data can be entered into a data collection tool enabling it to be systematically analyzed.

Primary Point can perform some, or all, of the steps outlined. 

Issues Affecting Cost

When Primary Point assesses a project in order to prepare a forma quote for our client there are many factors affecting the degree of difficulty, and therefore the project cost, that come into play. CommL3

One important issue is whose brand name will be used during the data collection process.  Will it be a client name or Primary Point?  Will the brand help us get interviews?  Accordingly, if the project is to be done using the client name, either a name or a brief description of the client would be useful in assessing project cost.  We do many projects under the Primary Point brand so this issue has more to do with cost and less to do with the overall feasibility of the project. 

A second important issue affecting cost concerns the research subject matter.  Senior and mid level business and IT executives are more often motivated by a knowledge-based incentive, a summary of the research findings.  To this extent, motivating a respondent is often similar to a sales process, where the research findings are the deliverable.  Therefore, the perceived value associated with the subject matter is critical.  In assessing this value proposition a draft questionnaire or sample questions that Primary Point can review prior to preparing a budget is ideal.

Project Deliverables

Project deliverables may include:

  • Written reports
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • Audio recordings
  • Transcripts
  • Data in SPSS, CSV, or Excel
  • Contact and respondent databases

Membership

Primary Point is a member of MRA (Marketing Research Association) and an AMA (American Marketing Association) subscriber. We rely on the Marketing Research Association’s Code of Marketing Research Standards.

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Primary Point (PPI) is a full service B2B market research and sales intelligence provider that will help you select the best research methodology and data collection technique to match your research needs and budget.