"Customers are not interested in the things that you sell – 
they buy services that they find valuable." – P. Viio

Multi-Company Research Programs

Do you want priority VIP-access to cutting-edge knowledge to improve your business?

If you want to be a leader in your industry, you need to stay ahead of the competition. This is where our exclusive multi-company research programs, which focus on sales and business development, become valuable for you. Our programs provide cutting-edge knowledge and new insights, which is invaluable for your strategy-making processes and implementation.

Examples of topics or phenomena – and how they relate to or affect B2B sales – that we study include social media (SoMe), value-based pricing and service offerings. Here are three sample research questions:

“How should B2B companies incorporate social media in their marketing and sales strategies?”

“How is value-based pricing done in practice?”

“How are need-based value offerings developed in a service business?”

Both are seemingly simple questions, but answering them properly requires in-depth knowledge of the topic areas or phenomena. Thus, they are good examples of what we study through our multi-company programs. Consultants traditionally try to give you a solution to a problem. We go further – we help you unveil the questions that matter, and we help you find the correct answers to those questions.

If you want to participate in one of our exclusive multi-company programs, apply now by clicking on the apply now button and filling in the necessary information. Fill in the few questions and let us know what exactly you would like us to study and help you with. Let us help you.

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What are multi-company research programs?

They are exclusive programs that combine the best elements from academic and business research, without being academic exercises or traditional (and often overly priced) consulting projects. Our multi-company research programs are high-trust collaborations between you, the other participating companies and us (the research team). Confidential information is often shared between the participants to enable learning from each other (benchmarking) how others have solved similar problems / challenges that you might be facing. As the programs are managed and moderated by us, they do not require much of your time or resources.

The topic areas that our multi-company programs focus on helping you to gain a deeper understanding in include:

  • Personal selling
  • Online selling
  • Sales management
  • Customer relationship management
  • Customer experience management
  • Marketing and sales coordination
  • Sales and customer support
  • Pricing
  • Incentive systems and reward programs
  • Service development
  • Service innovation
  • Market making

Why participate in the programs?

The multi-company development programs usually generate findings that you are unlikely to uncover by yourself or with the help of traditional business consultants. The outcomes and findings provide important input for your strategy making processes and helps you plan ahead.

To become or remain best in-class requires you to stay ahead of your competition. In addition to studying your own markets and customer segments, you can learn from other companies that are successful in their industries and niches. Our multi-company programs offer you just that. The programs help you for example in that they:

  • Reveal how other companies have solved problems that you might be facing (benchmarking)
  • Provide you a platform to see your business from outside-in and challenge yourself
  • Give new insights to help you uncover what needs to be improved or changed
  • Enable priority VIP-access to cutting-edge knowledge on new phenomena

By studying your business and that of others through our methods that combine scientific and business research, you get priority VIP-access to cutting-edge knowledge that is likely to become accessible to your competitors much later.

What kind of questions do the programs focus on?

As we are dealing with cutting-edge knowledge and want to ensure that our members get a head-start on their markets, we normally work in stealth mode. Thus, we cannot reveal the exact questions that we are dealing with in our ongoing or upcoming projects. To give you a feeling for what we are dealing with, however, here is what we can reveal.

Our exclusive multi-company programs might focus on sales and marketing-related topics and research questions such as:

  • “How to develop a successful sales and sales support organization?”
  • “What is the role of personal selling (in this day and age)?”
  • “How to improve the collaboration between sales, marketing and other functions?”
  • “How to incentivize and reward salespersons and sales supportive staff?”
  • “What do customers expect from their strategic suppliers?”
  • “What are the best practices for developing powerful value propositions?”
  • “How to design, plan and structure effective customer support?”
  • “How to price products and services correctly?”
  • “What is the role of digitalization (including social media) and how this can help improve business?”
  • “Whom to involve in service innovation and how to manage the process?”
  • “How to make (or shape) new markets and outlets for the competences that we already have?”

As said, the above are only examples of some of the questions that we study. If you have a topic that you want us to study together, let us know. We are always open to study new interesting topics or phenomena in the areas of sales, marketing and customer relationship management that you want to gain a deeper understanding of.

Who are the multi-company programs for?

These exclusive programs are for you who are keen on learning new things, looking beyond the horizon, developing new knowledge, and figuring out how to apply that knowledge. It is about learning how to do things better and smarter. These programs are for you who want to be a leader in your industry, not for those who are merely doing what others are doing.

If you are prepared to dive deep to get new insights that can help you to propel your business into a new trajectory – but perhaps don’t have the time or resources to do this on your own – then participating in our multi-company programs will prove valuable for you.

About your experts and project directors

The responsible project directors who you will be working with are Dr. Paul Viio and / or Dr. Avinash Malshe.

Dr. Paul ViioPaul has considerable experience from conducting, planning and managing B2B sales internationally. Today he divides his time between working as an advisor, executive trainer and consultant to companies globally and working as a sales professor conducting scientific research, managing research projects and teaching students in sales. For more about Paul, click here.

Dr. Avinash MalsheAvinash has several years of experience from marketing in the pharmaceutical business and healthcare industry. When he is not busy training companies, giving speeches or managing research projects, he focuses on his work as professor of marketing. For more about Avinash, click here.

How to proceed and what are the next steps?

For applying to one of our next or upcoming multi-company research programs, please click on the apply now button and fill in the necessary information. Please remember to also tell us about your needs and wishes (incl. what you would want us to consider studying in our next multi-company research program). Alternatively, to discuss your needs in person, you can email or call us (Paul or Avinash) directly. We will then get back to you very soon.

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Frequently asked questions and our answers:

Q: Can we propose research themes or are they already fixed?
A: You are most welcome to propose themes, topics or phenomena that you want us to jointly study. We take all suggestions from you and other applicants into consideration before we decide which themes / topics / phenomena qualify to be studied (the criteria include that it should be novel and relevant for the participating companies and for science). After this we discuss with all the participants to form a mutual understanding of which ones we will focus on and commit to. We are always open to study interesting topics or phenomena in the areas of sales, marketing and customer relationship management that you, the other participants and we want to gain a deeper understanding of.

Q: Who are usually the project owners and how many people can participate from each company?
A: As our multi-company programs focus on topics related to sales, marketing and product/service management, the project owner / sponsor from a participating company is usually the head of sales, marketing or business development, a member of the strategy planning group or the CEO. These persons are often supported by a person who coordinates the project within the company. As for the number of participants per company: There may be one or several persons per company attending our workshops and round-table discussions, depending on the topic that we are dealing with.

Q: Do I have to be in sales or marketing to benefit from the results of the study?
A: Although the research questions that we focus on are generally strategic ones, anyone who works with customers (directly or indirectly) or manages those doing that benefits from our trainings. Based on previous experience, we can guarantee that everyone who participates in our programs get new insights and tools that prove valuable for them.

Q: Is the confidential information that we (or our customers) provide in safe hands?
A: Yes, it is. We take confidentiality very seriously. During the programs we regularly deal with company- and customer-sensitive information. We follow strict guidelines for ethical behavior in research when acquiring data. Moreover, to protect the companies and respondents in any distribution or dissemination of the data that is gathered, we apply our confidentiality policy. Additionally, we protect the participants in the group, for example by reserving the right to terminate (without notice) the membership of anyone breaching the mutual confidentiality clause(s). We are proud to state that we have never had any issue with loss or misuse of confidential information.

Q: Can any company participate in your multi-company programs?
A: No. Participation in our exclusive multi-company programs is by invitation only. You can contact us and apply for participation in one of our upcoming programs. The topics for our upcoming program can be discussed and planned until we have selected the participants for a program.

Q: How often do you arrange multi-company programs?
A: Normally we run two multi-company programs per year: one in Finland / Northern Europe and one in the USA. However, this is not set in stone. We can run more or fewer, depending on the level or interest by you and other companies and also on our availability.

Q: How are the multi-company programs delivered?
A: All multi-company programs are designed, structured, prepared and done in collaboration with the participating companies to ensure that we focus on the topics that are important for these companies. Once the group of participating companies has been selected and the topic(s) to be studied has been fixed, we kick off the program.

Q: Do we have to allocate a lot of time when we participate in your multi-company project?
A: Rest assure, the time that you need to allocate will be kept to a minimum (days per year). Although the multi-company programs involve a lot of research that work is done in the background by the research team. In other words, the participating companies do not need to allocate resources much more than granting the research team access to certain members of the their personnel, customers or material.

Q: How are the results presented?
A: The results are presented in the form of workshops and round-table discussions, which are normally held once per quarter.

Q: How and when are the results of the study / studies revealed and distributed?
A: Each project is divided into stages or phases. The results and findings are distributed during/after each phase of the project. Additionally, a final report that covers all the phases is distributed at the end of the project. All material is generally delivered in digital format for ease of distribution within the organizations.

Q: What is the price for participating in your multi-company programs?
A: The price per company is based on the resources that we use, i.e. it to a large extent depends on the scope of the program and the number of participating companies.

Q: Do the programs qualify for governmental funding (e.g. from Tekes, Vinnova or similar)?
A: This is case-by-case. Sometimes we apply for external funding, sometimes we don’t. There are several reasons to this, including the urgency of the study, the required budget and in case the topic is interesting enough for a wider audience and science.

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