If analysts do not get their impact, do your executives?

icon-dollar-euro.jpgAwhile back, I heard an interesting comment from a former advisory analyst who is now the director of AR at a software company. She said that when she was an analyst it was her opinion that vendors were crazy to think that analysts have a large impact on sales. However, now that she is at a vendor, she is experiencing first-hand the dramatic impact the analysts have on vendor sales opportunities.

This got me thinking that if analysts do not understand or appreciate their impact on vendor sales, do vendor executives really understand how the analysts have their fingerprints all over corporate sales opportunities? The reality is that many executives do not fully comprehend the true impact of the analysts on revenues. Thus, they are less likely to support AR by making time to meet and speak with analysts. 

SageCircle Technique:

  • AR teams should poll their sales organizations to obtain anecdotal evidence of analysts impacting revenues (e.g., leads generated, sales cycles slowed or stopped, situations where you were left off a short list)
  • AR needs to set up short calls to explore their executives’ understanding of the impact of the analysts
  • Share the findings of the research with executives and sales

Bottom Line: Many people in the vendor community do not appreciate the impact the advisory analysts have sales opportunities. When presented with actual examples of deals influenced by analysts, executives might have an “ah-ha” moment and truly comprehend how the analysts influence revenues. The value of getting to this “ah-ha” moment for AR is that with a better understanding, executives might be willing to invest more resources into analyst relations.

Question: AR – Do you attempt to gather examples of analyst influence from your sales teams? If no, why not?

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One Response

  1. Carter – good points made here. I constantly observe three alternative reactions from AR when it comes to monitoring and reacting to analyst influence over their customers:

    1) “Proactive”: Comes from good communications between sales and AR: when sales execs discover an analyst has been influencing a client / clients, the vendor reaches out to the analyst and her/his peers for multiple briefing sessions, is open (or at least pretends to be) to analyst advice and recommendations, and goes out of its way to make the analyst feel valued, and understand their value-proposition. This frequently results in a deeper undertstanding by the analyst of the vendor offering, and also creates a warmer vendor/analyst relationship. This is – without question – the most positive strategy a vendor AR exec can deploy.

    2) “Paranoid”: Vendor exec hears analyst has been influencing a client and freaks out. Likely scenario is to call the CEO / senior leadership team at analyst firm to have high-level discussions that are geared towards “scaring” the analyst firm away from making any negative impact on their client relationship. This strategy is likely only to have a negative impact on the analyst with the client relationship, as 1. the analyst feels undermined and disrespected at being overlooked as an influential voice to the client; 2. the analyst wasn’t afforded the chance to spend time with the vendor to learn more about its value proposition and could even become wary that the vendor is trying to avoid any criticism; 3. the result is likely to create a generally strained relationship between the vendor and analyst firm that could take a long time to resolve.

    3) “Don’t care”: this is, sadly, all too common among some of the larger vendor AR teams. The AR staff simply are not measured on sales influenced by analysts and are only interested in how many butts-on-seats they can get at events, and policiing analyst reports for any print that is remotely negative about them. There are countless occasions where analysts are critical influencers over large deal-decisions and the vendor execs simply do not know about it, or – even worse – the AR staff simply does not care. Where AR slips into this type of role, their value is significantly eroded as there are few ways of tying AR work to revenue.

    AR needs to know from analysts how/where they are influencing and use the opportunity to develop closer relationships between their execs and analysts.

    PF

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