Essential AR skill – knowing analyst firm research methodologies

One of the essential skills for all analyst relations (AR) professionals is knowing the different types of research methodologies used by analysts and the implications for vendors. 

For example, advisory analysts* are very well positioned to spot  a vendor’s message inconsistencies. That is because advisory analysts are talking to a wide variety of people that interact with that vendor in addition to the analysts’ direct interactions which are arranged by the vendor (click on graphic to enlarge). Advisory analysts hear from their end-user clients during inquiries what the vendor sales representatives are saying to the end user. The analyst is then in position to compare what the sales rep is saying to prospects/customers versus what AR and executives are directly telling the analyst. Advisory analysts are also talking to financial analysts and the press, which provides additional opportunity to compare what AR is saying to the analyst in contrast to what the vendor is saying to these other communities.

This is a critical insight for AR teams that need to interact with advisory analysts. For these AR pros it is important to get linked into the message creation and management processes in their companies. By inserting themselves into messaging activities, these AR teams can identify potentially troublesome message inconsistencies that could cause problems with advisory analysts.

* Definition: “Advisory analysts” are analysts who’s primarily client base is technology buyers (aka end users, usually IT managers). AMR, Forrester and Gartner are examples of advisory analyst firms though each does have significant vendor client bases as well.

Are you confident that you know the various types of research methodologies employed by analysts? If not, you should consider attending SageCircle’s AR Effectiveness Seminar (brochure, click here to register) or subscribing to the Online SageContentTM Library (click here to learn more and subscribe). Even if you are an experienced AR pro, attending a seminar can help you brush up on your knowledge about the analysts and AR best practices.

SageCircle Technique:

  • Use client inquiry to ask advisory analysts if through their various sources they hear a consistent message from your company’s representatives
  • Obtain standard presentations from other parts of your company (e.g., sales and investor relations) to compare to your presentations
  • Volunteer to participate in messaging exercises

Bottom Line: There are a variety of essential skills for AR professionals. Understanding the analyst research methodologies and how that changes the AR approach is one skill can prevent AR from being embarrassed in front of executives.

Question: AR professionals – Have you experienced a situation where an advisory analyst has pointed out message consistencies to you during a briefing?

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2 Responses

  1. Yes Carter, but conversely “Prescribers” analysts -those advising end users- often use that argument against vendors even though they sometimes know it’s fallacious.

    It goes this way: vendor says something, analyst respond “but I am not seeing this with my clients”.

    One has to remember that IT analysts often talk with clients at a lower level than a sales VP at a vendor and also that even Gartner only addresses a fraction of the market. This is especially true in Asia Pac and in continental Europe.

    For confidentiality reasons it’s not possible to cross-examine customers lists but AR pros should provide more references and can possibly sometimes show (not give!) printed customer lists…

  2. Hi Ludovic, Thanks for the comment.

    I completely agree with you that advisory analysts will sometimes fall back on “client confidentiality” and cite “data points” they cannot prove are real. That is why it is so important to peel the onion on their statements and provide lots of customer stories.

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