I saw this tweet in response to Best practice for responding to analyst draft research:
Good grief, threatening to cancel business or syndicated research contracts if an analyst does not change their opinion is not a smart approach to “influencing the influencers.” In fact, it may even backfire.
First, it does not make business sense for an analyst at a major firm to change research that displeases a vendor, even one that is a client. If an analyst developed a reputation for being that malleable they would soon have no clients as what they sell in part is objectivity and independence.
Second, often at major firms, analysts are not responsible for contract value so they don’t care if a vendor client cancels. Yes, the sales rep whose year just went down the drain will care, but the analyst just shrugs.
Third, how a threat might backfire is subtle. It is not likely that analysts would change their opinions or research to be more negative. However, the analyst might not provide the vendor AR team with any flexibility for future deadlines. The vendor’s overall credibility might take a hit: “Hmm, if they are that dumb, what other stupid things are they doing?”
Fourth, even if the threat is only directed at a single analyst, word will get around to other analysts in the firm and outside.
Lastly, some savvy analysts use threats as marketing fodder with end users, press and other vendors. It becomes a badge of honor to brag how the analyst firm lost $1m in business from a vendor because the analyst would not change their commentary. This reinforces their objectivity in the eyes of the other clients.
- Train spokespeople that threatening analysts is counterproductive
- Work to ensure that review processes and expectations are published to the AR team, executives, and spokespeople
Bottom Line: Resorting to threats when trying to get analysts to change their commentary does not work with major firms because incentives are in place for the analyst to prefer losing business than buckling to pressure. If executives are so angry that AR cannot control them, then AR needs to tactically keep the executives away from the analysts.
Question: Analysts – Have you ever been threatened by vendors over draft research? How did you react?