There can never be an analyst influence database [Practitioner Question]

question-mark-graphic.jpgQuestion: Is there a database that ranks analysts in terms of influence?

While there are some fine analyst directories or databases available for purchase (e.g., ARinsight’s ARchitect3) none of have “influence” data. This is because influence is a relative term which is dependent on what the vendor is trying to accomplish and the market space they are addressing. Obviously two companies with different products would see the same analyst as having different influence.  However, two competitors in the same market could also end up with analyst lists that are different because they have different business objectives they are trying to accomplish. Even the same vendor could rank the influence of the same analysts differently over time, even in a span of only a few months, as the vendor’s business and analyst relations (AR) objectives change.

While there are no databases of influence to purchase, AR can still create a formal analyst list management process with documented ranking criteria. Although this framework cannot eliminate the work associated with determining influence, it will permit AR to rank their analyst lists efficiently.

If an AR team does not have the bandwidth to do the work associated with creating an analyst list, there are third party firms that have the skills, tools, and data to do this work. Readers are encouraged to contact SageCircle if you would like to discuss the options for this type of engagement.

SageCircle Technique:

  • Develop a formal analyst list management process that first ranks the analysts based on relevance then tiers the list based on AR’s resources
  • Revisit ranking criteria whenever the company’s or AR’s objectives change
  • Schedule regular reviews of analyst lists
  • Avoid the trap of assuming that the large analyst firms’ (e.g., Forrester, Gartner and IDC) analysts are automatically “Tier 1” because they are not highly influential in all markets

Bottom Line: There will never be a database of analyst influence available because influence is determined by the vendor’s business objectives at a particular point in time.

Question: AR – Do you have a formal analyst list management process? If yes, how often do you review and refresh your analyst lists?

Got questions on the analysts and AR? SageCircle has the answers. This practitioner question is an example of the type of client inquiries that SageCircle strategists handle daily. If you would like to understand how SageCircle Advisory services can increase your effectiveness and efficiency – and maybe reduce your stress – please contact us at “info [at] sagecircle [dot] com” or 503-636-1500.

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4 Responses

  1. Hello Carter,

    the very same question has been asked by clients more frequently in my experience. I think this partly reflects increased budget pressures present with some vendors at the moment: There is less understanding for the need to do the necessary homework and really find out about the sales influence that individual analysts have for specific markets. These projects do cost some time, and this is why some vendors start to think of google-ing a list together. However, this is impossible. ..and – I agree: there will never be such a one-fits-all list.

    And there is one more reason why “a business model” around analyst influence rankings would not work: Every analyst has to agree that information describing his/her importantce – along with his/her name, is gathered and sold. At least European privacy laws make it very hard to gather and sell such information.
    My best regards,
    Marius

  2. Hi Carter,

    Lighthouse’s online AR Intranet database does rank analyst firms and analysts, using part of the Analyst Impact Modelling methodology I’ve used since 2000.

    The points you raise are really issues of all rankings, rankings, Waves and Quadrant: the method they use might not correspond perfectly to an individual’s needs. However, the advantage of a third-party ranking is that is gives a starting point.

    No-one will be surprised to hear that custom rankings are still needed by our clients. That’s a notable part of any AR services business. However even simple quantitative rankings – like revenue from your client sector, number of analysts in your geography, or relative focus on your technology or service segment – are a powerful starting point for people who are time poor and perhaps need to rank analysts in emerging markets or new technology areas.

    Duncan.

  3. Duncan, Thanks for the comment.

    How can you rank “influence” in a database without knowing what the AR and business criteria are?

    It is certainly possible to capture certain pieces of data useful for ranking an analyst list, e.g., your points about revenue and geography plus others like exposure. However, that data does not translate into a relvant “influence” rating until an AR team applies a decision framework based specifically on their situation.

  4. Hi Carter,

    I think there are two ways to address those: and we use both.

    The first is to use those criteria that meet the needs of most clients, which is to focus on analysts that are influencing sales. Again, we’re using the Analyst Impact Modelling approach which we’ve used for the best part of a decade and – while it’s not going to fit everyone – it meets the needs of our clients well.

    The second is to expose the base data to the user so they can develop their own weighting (or ask us to). Clients might need specific weightings for regions, technologies or market segments and they can filter our data accordingly – or add in their own variables.

    Of course, no ranking method will be perfect, but if it gives a useful starting point and helps people focus their effort then it’s a service worth providing.

    Duncan.

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