What would make an analyst firm sales representative really great

During our “Managing Your Gartner and Forrester Expenditure” webinars and inquiries where we were helping clients with contract renewal issues, one comment we frequently heard was about the “great relationship” the contract manager had with a sales rep for an analyst firm. Often the definition of “great” turned out to be a rep that would not harass the client over “violations” of the contract, get the occasional freebie research note, or would bring a visiting analyst around. While these are all nice and useful, this did not strike us as being particular “great.” For both vendor and end-user clients these are more baseline activities that should be expected.

 What we think would truly make a sales representative great is someone who make sure that the client got full business value from their contracts throughout the contract duration. Here are some questions you should consider to determine whether your sales rep might qualify as “great:”

  • Does the sales rep actively work to demonstrate how the client has achieved business value and even hard ROI from the analyst contract?
  • Does the sales rep provide monthly reports on utilization of the services (e.g., the number of inquiries conducted by each advisory seat holder)?
  • Does the sales rep conduct a contract checkup at least quarterly?
  • Does the sales rep actively push clients to use the services purchased?
  • Does the sales rep proactively identify underutilized services and make suggestions to increase the utilization?
  • Does the sales rep proactively identify underutilized services and suggest that the service be given to another person that might use it or suggest swapping the service for a potential more useful service?
  • Does the sales rep work with you about incremental purchases in order to prevent redundant purchases or identify new users for underutilized services?

SageCircle Technique:

  • Vendor and enterprise analyst contract managers need to communicate with their analyst firm account executives the expectations of what the sales rep can do to make the relationship a win-win for both sides
  • Contract managers need to create a checkup list of items important to you and your use of the analyst firm services
  • Contract managers need to establish regular meetings to review the checklist and evaluate success against stated goals
  • Contract managers can point analyst firm sales reps to this blog post as part of an education program

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Bottom Line: Analyst firm clients need to set the bar high for the type of service and support you expect from analyst firm account executives. In addition, clients must take charge of the relationship with the analyst firms, because you cannot count on the firms to look after your interests. Create and use a checkup process to manage the relationship through the AE and ensure that you receive continuous high value services from your analyst firm contracts.

Questions: Research clients:  Do you currently have a process to achieve high value from your firm contacts?  Analyst firm sales executives – Are you working to ensure that every part of your contract is getting fully utilized and delivering visible business value.

Are you getting full value from your contracts with the analyst firms?  SageCircle can help. Our strategists can:

  • Assist in creating analyst firm contract goals and objectives
  • Help you establish a realistic firm checklist
  • Determine the best ways to negotiate contact value.

SageCircle strategists understand your opportunities, challenges, and priorities because we have been AR practitioners and executives as well as industry analysts and AR researchers. SageCircle emphasizes the use of phone-based inquiry through its Advisory Service, which is your lifeline when you need timely access to an AR and analyst expert to exploit an opportunity or mitigate a problem. Advisory is available through an annual “all you can eat” contract or blocks of two or five hours “by the drink.”

To learn more contact us at “info [at] sagecircle dot com” or 503-636-1500.

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3 Responses

  1. Interesting post — but isn’t your advice flying in the face of what most people on the call said they liked about their sales rep (ie not getting harassed all the time?)

    I suppose you could argue that the sales rep isn’t harassing the client because they’re sending ‘helpful’ information, but ultimately I’d just see it as more useless stuff clogging my inbox, which is frankly pretty annoying. If I really wanted any of this I’d ask, otherwise I don’t really care.

    Some of these tactics might be useful, but ultimately this comes back to a pretty simple notion: good sales reps are able to develop good relationships with their clients

  2. Hi Shooter, Thanks for the comment.

    There is a difference between getting harassed and getting useful information. For instance, getting monthly reports on what is actually being used can lead to cost savings by reallocating unused advisory seats rather than buying incremental seats during the course of a contract.

    Of course, no analyst contract manager wants to be spammed by the sales rep with pure “buy this” emails and calls. But it is important to distringuish between spam and useful information.

    Frankly, a lot of ideas about what makes for a good sales rep come from our recommendations on what analyst clients, end user or vendor, should be doing but find it difficult because of resistance from the sales reps.

  3. I’d agree with the overall sentiment, but I’m not sure that you should necessarily be expecting your sales rep to fulfil the requirements.
    In some analyst firms (I can’t speak for all) much of the day-to-day license/resource usage stuff gets handled by a specialised team that is by design one step removed from sales and targeted on maximising client satisfaction and usage of services. Yes, sales work alongside these client management teams; but in my experience they’re different people with slightly different agendas.

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