As a consultant working with institutional investors, your goals change from project to project. Whether you’re diligencing an investment target, optimizing pricing for a new portfolio company, or preparing for a new product launch, primary research is always essential.
Note: this is the prologue to our series: "The Consultant's Guide to Diligence Surveys." You can download the full guide here.
Surveys are an important piece of the consultant toolkit - tapping into relevant consumer or industry expert groups can offer profound insight and understanding of niche markets.
Some of the most common data points that surveys seek to uncover include:
- How large is the market for a product or service?
- How does the target brand compare to competitors?
- What is the net promoter score (NPS) of the target relative to its competition?
- How much are likely buyers willing to pay for a product or service?
- How important is an investment target’s product or service?
However, while surveys can deliver crucial data to help you build a recommendation for your client, there are significant challenges when using them during due diligence:
- Time restrictions—private equity clients often need a recommendation within 2-3 weeks, leaving little margin for error.
- Data integrity—it can be challenging to ensure survey responses and target audiences are genuine.
- Programming complex logic— it’s frequently difficult to translate complex logic recorded in your internal Word document into programmed survey logic.
- Managing stakeholders—juggling your client, survey platform engineers, and multiple respondent panels is time-intensive and frustrating.
With these challenges in mind, we've worked with our team of seasoned Survey Directors to craft a holistic guide to running a diligence survey. This guide will teach you how to overcome common challenges and more seamlessly incorporate a survey into your research process, unlocking structured and statistically significant aggregate data to help you build your client decks.
1. Planning your survey - Understand how to outline your survey to accelerate timelines and find better respondents, including:
- Client scoping calls
- Designing respondent profiles
- Outlining survey paths
- Writing thorough screeners
2. Authoring your survey - Learn survey writing best practices gleaned from the thousands of surveys we've programmed for management consultants and investors, including:
- Common diligence question types
- Quality control
- Limiting user fatigue
3. Testing and launch - Enhance the integrity of your survey with systematic testing and launch practices to minimize errors and setbacks, including:
- How to test your survey
- Implementing soft launches
- Post-survey reporting
By the time you finish this guide, you'll be prepared to run effective and efficient diligence surveys for even the most demanding private equity client!