The blog is only the tip of the iceberg

 One of the common questions we get is whether IT managers will continue to purchase industry analyst research when “so much is on the analysts’ blogs.” There are two reasons why this is not likely. The first is that the average Forrester or Gartner analyst’s blog is only a small fraction of what they publish. The formal research behind the firewall is several orders of magnitude more detailed with much more in the way of recommendations. Second is that most IT buyers don’t buy analyst contracts solely for the written research, but mainly to get phone-based inquiry access to analysts so that the analysis, research and recommendations can be tailored to their specific situations. In fact, well written blogs should actually increase business for the analyst firms by increasing their visibility.

Wait a minute! Do readers of the SageCircle blog also have the same impression about us? That the blog contains all the good stuff? Well, do you? >>arched eyebrow<<

sagecircle-blog-is-the-tip-of-the-iceberg-reducedThe reality is that SageCircle has the broadest and deepest library of intellectual property on AR best practices in the industry. The SageCircle blog and SageCircle Digest newsletter are only the tip of the iceberg (click the graphic to enlarge) when it comes to written research. Not only do we have a large base of written research, but we are aggressively adding to it every week with client-only content.  Our advisory clients recently received a SageInsight on how to respond to Gartner’s policy of no questions during briefings as well as an expanded version of the blog post Saving money on contracts with the Forrester / Gartner duopoly is not simple which gave deeper treatment including detailed recommendations.  To provide another example of the differences between the blog and client content is to look at what is available on everybody’s favorite issue: the Magic Quadrant. In the blog, we have a very useful six-part series of posts (each about half page) on the Magic Quadrant. However, clients have access to a much deeper discussion of the MQ with many best practices and tools including preparing the sales force for dealing with the Magic Quadrant. Following is the current index from our online repository on the Magic Quadrant. Each of these line items is a link to an article (each at least a page) with associated downloadable check lists and tools, where applicable.

  • Defining the Magic Quadrant
    • Importance of the MQ
    • History of the MQ
    • MQ Components and Creation
    • Gartner MQ Methodology
    • Facts about the MQ
  • Value of the MQ to IT Purchasers
    • How Buyers Should Use a MQ
    • Common Mistakes Made by Purchasers
    • MQ Best Practices
    • Consumer’s Guide to the Gartner Magic Quadrant
  • Vendor Issues with the MQ
    • Common mistakes made by vendors
    • Is MQ movement a realistic goal?
    • Steps to moving the dot
      • Develop a plan (moving the dot checklist)
      • Educate Management    
      • Build the Relationship
      • Research the MQ
      • Touch Base with Analyst Periodically
      • Use Inquiry Best Practices
      • Execute the MQ Plan
      • Avoid Planning Errors
    • Audit Results and Modify plans
  • Do Not Become Complacent about your MQs
  • Recommendations for Vendors
  • How AR Teams Can Work with Sales on the MQ
    • Impact of MQs on Sales
    • Responding to a MQ
      • Leaders
      • Challengers
      • Visionaries
      • Niche        
    • The Sales Impact of Changing MQs
    • Training the Sales Force
    • Sales Guide to the Gartner Magic Quadrant

Three pages on the blog versus 35+ pages and downloadable tools for clients, quite the contrast.

Besides written research on AR best practices and the analyst ecosystem, we have also developed dozens of SageToolsTM so that AR teams can be more productive by not having to reinvent the wheel. Example SageTools include the Analyst Relevance Model, AR Balanced Scorecard, Interaction Calendar Planner, and Decision Framework: Boutiques Contenders vs. Pretenders. However, like with the written research, we are also continuing to develop new SageTools. For instance, we are beta testing the “Analyst Social Media Traffic Analysis” SageTool, which will help AR programs estimate the volume of analyst blogs and tweets for workload planning purposes. We have tested it using some clients’ actual analyst lists and have come up with very interesting “ah ha”s.

In addition to written research and SageTools, we have downloadable checklists, example PowerPoint slides, plan outlines (e.g., AR strategic plan, AR-Sales Partnership plan, AR social media plan, and others), training content for multiple audiences, and other forms of easy-to-use, time-saving content.

Don’t forget the contributions by our clients and the community in the form of multiple hundreds of conversations, blog comments, and tweets. Some of this content is directly incorporated into our best practices or cause seismic shifts in our thinking that show up later in research.

So with 185 SageNotes, four ebooks, multiple hundreds of articles from the SageCircle Guide and SageCircle View, blog posts (500+ alone), dozens of SageTools and downloadable examples, it must be difficult for clients to get what they need, right? Au contraire! The wiki-powered Online SageContentTM Library puts our content conveniently at the fingertips of our clients 24×7.

Books? No. We decided not go with the dead tree approach though we have four ebooks (e.g., the 65-page World-class Analyst Relations) that could quickly be printed into one or two traditional books. However, our intellectual property is so dynamic that we wanted to be able to update it whenever we got a new insight or data. In addition, a lot of the power of SageContent lies in the Word, Excel and PowerPoint files that permit AR managers to start “doing” quickly rather than wasting time and effort “reinventing the wheel.”

Whew! All this discussion does not touch the non-written deliverables like phone-based inquiry, live and recorded training, and ongoing advice we provide.

Bottom Line: SageCircle has a large and growing body of intellectual property that can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of any AR program. Through aggressive investments in research and development, SageCircle is pushing the edge of the envelope when it comes to innovative approaches to AR in addition to the evergreen foundational AR best practices.

Question: Interested in learning more about SageCircle’s written research, SageTools and downloadable examples? Would you like a demonstration of the Online SageContent Library? Please contact us at 503-636-1500 or “info [at] sagecircle [dot] com” to arrange a briefing.

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