While it is illegal for analyst relations (AR) teams to wiretap the analysts, it is possible to eavesdrop on their conversations with enterprise IT managers and other technology and telecommunications buyers. Well, sort of.
The “Big Two” advisory firms have services, Forrester Client Advantage and Gartner Customer Insights, which are databases of the questions clients ask when scheduling a client inquiry. The insights available in these simple databases can be incredibly useful for vendors who invest the time and budget in data mining.
The information that can be extracted is of use to multiple constituencies within a vendor including AR (of course), market research, messaging, product management, sales and others. There are many more uses of the insights than there are audiences. For instance, for AR the questions illustrate the type of information that the analysts need… which might be different from what the AR team had been providing the to them. For Sales, the same questions might point out that prospects do not understand the vendor’s messages and that the talking points the sales representatives are using need to be modified.
There are limitations to the data. It includes questions only from clients of the firms, the questions are mostly those captured by client service staff scheduling the inquiry and don’t include other issues that arise during the call, and the answers are not included. However, even with these shortcomings, the databases are worth mining.
There is a caveat, and it’s a big one. These services are only worth the money if they are actually used. Too often the buyers become distracted by other tasks or lack of habit leads to the databases becoming “shelfware.”
- Request a briefing by your Forrester and Gartner sales representatives about these services
- Evaluate your current purchasing from the firms to see if there is planned spending that can be diverted to acquiring these services
- Develop a plan for who will be the consumer of the information from these services and how the information will be used
- Assign responsibility for who will analyze the data and create the reports that will be used by the research consumer
- Periodically check that the reports are being generated and actually used
Bottom Line: Understanding the questions that advisory firm clients are asking analysts can provide valuable insights for many professionals in a vendor. However, the services are only worth the investment if the analysis will be used to change actions by the vendor.
Question: Have you considered using these services? How could the analyst firms make the data more useful to you to encourage your purchase?