While most teams acknowledge that insight generation is important, most MSL team leaders do not apply adequate resources and time to the activity. If you consider your system investments, the time you spend providing training, how much coaching is provided by leaders, and how you prioritize team meeting agendas, are insight generation activities adequately represented?
One of the most important things that an MSL Leader can do to increase the importance of insight generation with the MSL team is to ensure that the insight generation program is actually impactful to brand and team strategy. If MSLs do not see actions that were driven explicitly from the insights they generated, they will believe that insight generation is nothing more than an administrative activity.
We facilitate insight-action meetings with our clients where field insights are evaluated for immediate action or further validation through targeted insight generation activities. The outcomes of these meetings must be communicated back to the MSL team so that they can see the impact of their work. When an impact is explicit and immediate, it drives a desire to do more of that activity.
Training – To help improve the quality of the insight generation program, MSL leaders should ensure that there is training about how to identify and communicate insights to the company. This should include skills related to asking probing questions, understanding current areas of scientific interest, and how to use the tools available for insight generation. Insight generation is a skill, so training should include ongoing practice and feedback.
Tools – People generally believe that investments are being made toward things that are priorities. By having best-in-class tools for insight generation, you are communicating the importance of this activity. These tools may include social-based gathering, reporting, and analytics.
Attention – Important topics get talked about frequently. Ensure that insight generation is a standing item on your team meeting agenda, those that are submitting meaningful insights are publicly recognized, and managers are spending time coaching the skills taught in training.
By taking these actions, you will raise the importance of insight generation activity with your team, leading to better and more frequent insights that will be impactful to the organization.