SageCircle research shows that overall analysts have a significant impact on IT buyers. However, each vendor in the community often has only a general perception of how much the analysts have an impact on their sales. Often, the perception is formed more by anecdotal information than systematic research, with stories filtering up from individual sales representatives about analysts negatively influencing deals. Vendors that do systematic research on analyst influence discover the broad and deep influence, both positive and negative, that the analysts have on deals. Analyst relations (AR) teams with a goal to become more strategic should institute a formal program for gathering sales impact data.
Unfortunately, it is not a simple task to gather sales impact data. If it was easy, then everybody would already be doing so. There are many factors that contribute to the difficulty in gathering sales data including:
- Multiple types of data
- Multiple potential sources of data
- Multiple points within a sales cycle when an analyst could impact a deal
- Lack of institutional relationship with the company’s leads management and sales teams
- Lack of skills
- Lack of formal measurement plan
- Lack of bandwidth to do the work
While there are these barriers, none of them are so difficult to overcome that AR should not even try to institute a sales impact data program. By taking a phased approach, AR can start the process and add to it over time.
SageCircle can make it easy for AR teams to jump start an sales impact measurement program, either as a stand-alone effort or part of an AR-sales partnership program. We have plan builder workshops, best practices, SageToolsTM, examples and advice ready to help you launch an easy-to-manage program. Give us a call at 503-636-1500 or send an email to info [at] sagecircle.com to arrange a briefing.
- Develop a measurement plan to gather sales impact data
- Gather anecdotal data points from sales representatives who are calling AR for support
- Identify which leads were generated by analyst commentary by adding questions to the leads qualification script used by the leads management function
- Use analyst firm account executives to gather information from your Tier 1 analysts
- Survey the analysts directly on how often they influence sales opportunities
- Poll your customers, clients, and prospects on how analysts influence their purchasing decisions
- Add questions about analyst influence to your win-loss analysis process
- Track sales impact data in analyst relationship management applications like ARchitectTM
Bottom Line: Measuring analyst impact on sales is critical for AR programs to establish credibility as a corporate strategic initiative and to garner additional resources. No single metric definitively proves analyst impact on company revenues. Therefore, AR must develop a portfolio of metrics that is both practical to collect and focused on the right measures. AR teams should select metrics that approach issues from different angles and fit their stage of AR Effectiveness-Typical, Advanced, or Leading Edge.
Question: Do you have a formal measurement programming for gathering sales impact data? If no, why not? If yes, what types of data do you gather and how?