Build a PANEL COMPANY you can be PROUD OF!!!


What is the secret of building a successful panel company? Is it the right employees or the right kind of panels you have or is it a good marketing plan or just simple plain LUCK!! I guess it is a combination of many factors when performed effectively results in a panel company you can be really proud of!! The article illustrates few of the critical aspects of running a profitable access panel business.


I have always believed that a company is nothing more than FOUR WALLS A ROOF & AN AC RUNNING!! It is the PEOPLE who make it an ORGANIZATION. Hiring the right kind of people is a MUST to build a successful panel company. Here are a few points that should be taken into consideration:

1- SELF-STARTER (our industry is still at a nascent stage of development so the potential employee should be able to kick start the process with an entrepreneurial fire within)

2- SOUND TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE (we do panel business on Internet therefore every employee should have a fair enough idea of the intricacy of the digital medium )

3- EXCELLENT COMMUNICATION SKILLS (most of the panel work is outsourced now a days to developing economies like India plus the client base is spread globally therefore strong & effective communication skills are required)

4- IMMACULATE CREDIBILITY (it is a panel database dependent industry and therefore a strong employee integrity is required as many times it has been observed that respondent database security has been compromised)

5- OUT OF THE BOX THINKER (panel business requires people who think out of the box and come up with innovative solutions. There is no dearth of possibilities in terms of experimentations)

50% of the problems are solved if you have the right kind of team – so a good panel company hires RIGHT PEOPLE.


During the initial phase of setting up a panel business and also when the RFP’s flow spikes up you rely on your vendors. It is a MUST to invest a good amount of time to engage the right types of vendors. Many a times it has been seen that the search for a vendor starts when you actually need one – which is a BIG NO!!

Set up a scientific process for recruiting the vendors for your business – the logic is simple if your vendor provides shoddy work it is YOU who will FACE THE MUSIC from the clients. In research business acquiring a client is a long winding process and no one would want to let them go for a mistake done by their vendors.

Send a dummy survey and see how your vendors perform, also try to evaluate your vendor strong and weak areas in terms of performance. It would be really helpful if you create a rate card to be readily available for use by the internal project management team.

Every MINUTE spent on selecting the right vendor for your panel business will come back to you in DOLLARS$$$.


In my earlier days as a sales person I was told categorically by my peers and seniors – you can’t SAY NO to a client. How WRONG I was then – in research field work business you are always going to face resource crunch due to unavailability of skilled resources therefore engaging your team for a CRANKY CLIENT is not worth it.

A CRANKY CLIENT can be defined as the one which utilizes 100% of your resources time with far less % of monetary returns. It is better to have a few good clients than many “screaming down on your head” clients. One of the simple ways to identify a CRANKY CLIENT is the CONVERSION RATIO –i.e. if the number of RFPs sent by a client does not have at least 5% conversion ratio purge them out.

Concentrate more on higher return clients and ensure that it is a win-win scenario for the both.

Factor 4: RIGHT PANEL!!

A panel company needs to be at least HONEST with it – there are numbers which you tell to your clients and then there are numbers which you actually have. Even after massive recruitment drives it has been seen that after the initial euphoria people stop responding to the survey requests. A large number in a panel database tends to give you as well as your PM team a wrong notion of feasibility. Purge out all the inactive respondents and start afresh – GAUZE the response rate CLOSELY you need the RIGHT kind of panels to run a successful business.




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About akshay kanyal
Understanding Survey Research

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