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Maximizing value from expert interviews

By Frederick Corkett, Co-Founder & Managing Director

During my time in strategy consulting I conducted over 400 expert interviews with sector experts and customers across end markets from O&G valves to insurance telematics.

In my experience obtaining access to the right expert to solve your information gap is only part of the challenge. To maximize the value of expert interview programs you need solid preparation and engaging execution.

Good preparation means desk research and broad reading in the market of interest. You need to define the critical questions impacting your hypothesis and then identify the sub-issues and drivers that underpin each. Developing a comprehensive issue analysis should form the basis of an expert discussion guide that provides the structure to enable a great call.

By the same rationale, it is often helpful to share an abbreviated agenda of topics with discussion partners prior to a call taking place. Even better is to create a complementary slide deck with some “paint by numbers” empty boxes to help obtain those critical quantitative inputs. It was far easier to get a market size split from 100% across five different end markets if I shared the list of in-scope verticals on a slide..!

While extensive preparation is a key determinant of the value you can obtain from interviews, all that work can be wasted without engaging execution. The best interviewers are those who motivate conversation partners to become an engaged participant in the exchange. By doing so you are able to uncover the most pertinent and impactful insights.

A great start to a call is to share some background on your firm, the types of projects you work on and a high level overview of your interest in the relevant market. By introducing yourself and the scope of your interest you define the parameters of the conversation and give helpful context.

Before diving into the quant inputs to a market size model I typically found the best way to kick off a call was to share a few lines on my initial hypothesis on the market. You can continue to reference your assumptions through the conversation and have your views challenged by conversation partners.

At Dialectica we act as the bridge between our clients and industry experts when they are looking to gain external expertise to support their market research. We work internationally across markets supporting investment and strategy leaders to make better informed decisions.

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