How to engage industry experts

4. How industry experts can help you set up interviews with unfamiliar contacts

It's tough to set up a customer interview using a "cold call." Industry experts can help with this.

What if you'd like to have a Discovery or Preference interview with a company you have no prior relationship with? Perhaps this market is unfamiliar to you... or at least this particular company hasn't worked with you before.

Industry experts, such as those you'd hire through a network like GLG or AlpaSights, can help. Consider this process:

  1. Locate an industry expert network. For a list of these networks, go to > BlueTools >  Market Research/Segmentation > Market Research Tips Sheet > Section 3. Interview Industry Experts. Select one that looks good to you: GLG and AlphaSights are very popular around the world. (Also, consider locating an expert using LinkedIn.)Market Research Tips Sheet
  2. Contact the expert network for help in finding one or more experts for you to interview. You're especially interested in experts that seem to have strong relationships (friends!) in your target market segment.
  3. When you conduct the interview with the expert, it will often be using the network's phone system. Ask if you can share your screen through a web-conference (not your audio), using something like Zoom or Teams. 
  4. Conduct a normal Discovery interview. For tips, see the BlueHelp article, How to interview industry experts.
  5. It's OK to ask more Current State questions than you would with a normal customer, but limit yourself to 30 minutes for this part. You want to save at least 30 minutes for the sticky note portion. Why? This will be much more engaging for your industry expert, and they'll be more willing to connect you with their industry friends if you didn't bore them with too many questions.
  6. The "ASK": Near the end of the interview ask the industry expert if he/she would be willing to help you set up your interviews. You may need to set up a follow-up (paid) call if they are willing. Your industry expert can help in two different ways:
    1. They can provide you with names and contact information of people that you can then contact. In this case, ask if you can use their name in the emails you send out to their industry friends. Better yet, ask if you can use their names AND cc them in your email when you request the interview.
    2. They might be able to set up the interviews for you. This will be a separate engagement with the expert for which you'll need to pay.

Without some sort of personal  connection, most business people simply won't respond to a cold call via phone or email. With this approach, you're building on strong relationships your industry expert has already established. So when you search for one or more industry experts, be sure to look for someone with lots of strong industry relationships.


Keywords: industry expert, unfamiliar market, cold call, interview, GLG, AlphaSights, Market Research Tips Sheet, Industry expert network, web-conference, unfamiliar contact