What Everybody Ought to Know About Selecting Panel Partner?

The harsh realities of panel business are that you cannot avoid using a panel partner, even if you have built a robust panel base. With overall disenchantment of general populace with survey companies, we are facing ever depleting number of survey participations. Many a times even the bigger panel companies have to seek help from other panel providers to complete their surveys. With ever increasing number of new panel companies it has become all the more relevant to understand how to select your panel partner. The article illustrates 5 “MUST HAVE” qualities your panel partner should possess.


I think the trickiest part of selecting a panel partner is to select a one which actually has its own panel. There are many fake panel aggregators out there in the market. If you end up hiring a panel aggregator it will only increase your costs as they themselves must be buying from someone else.

You really need to probe thoroughly to understand whether the panel partner has proprietary panel or is sourcing from someone else.

Although it is difficult to gauze this fact (as many panel aggregators claim the contrary) but I guess with experience and cost comparisons you can probably get to know it. Ideally you should be finicky about using a new panel partner – it is SAFER to utilize the service of an established company than fall into the trap of a new “CHEAP” panel provider.


I believe that this criterion separates “MEN FROM BOYS!” – Most of the FAKE panel providers are clueless about the methodologies for recruiting panels or what variation can a particular methodology create.

Every time I have asked a new panel provider as to what process they undertake for panel recruitment – most of them start FUMBLING!!

If your potential panel partner does not have a thorough understanding of the recruitment methodologies, for your own good – AVOID THEM!!!


Market research organizations like ESOMAR, CASRO or MRA etc. are doing a wonderful job of ensuring best practices are being followed by companies.

Each organization has created a “market research guidelines” which helps companies to adhere to strict policies vis-à-vis quality.

I humbly advise you to only use panel partners who are registered with at least one of these organizations. This ensures that the panel partner is serious about providing good quality panels.


It is a MUST to understand what technologies your panel partner is well versed with. Confirmit & NEBU are one of the top most panel management software. In case of the vendor using an in house tool it is advisable to understand and have a demo of such tools.

The technologies know how of a panel partner is a strong indication of their authenticity & expertise.

You should also ensure that both your and panel partner systems can “TALK TO EACH OTHER” – this is the BIGGEST problem I have faced in project management that every time a new partner comes aboard they are unable to pass back my respondents ID creating last minute HAVOC!!!


Last but not the least – you should know the people driving the panel partner business.

One of the simplest trick I used to have to select a potential partner is to go to their website and look under “About Us” tab – a genuine experienced panel partner would showcase their management team profile – if it is just PLAIN ENGLISH there it simply means that the panel partner have no one worth boasting about!!! – AVOID SUCH PANEL PARTNERS!!!

Now you have a choice. You can comment, share, or implement. I prefer if you implement, but I’ll appreciate all three.