AR & recession – Reconsidering analyst contract priorities

icon-budget-cuts-105w.jpgControlling spending is a high priority for most vendors during a recession. For analyst relations (AR) teams this mandate causes angst because it means cutting spending with analyst firms, usually a big part of AR’s budget. Discussing this issue has become an increasingly common inquiry for SageCircle strategists as clients work through budget cutting scenarios. 

One of the main sources of anxiety is the perception that analysts will start bad mouthing the vendor to prospects, making negative comments in the press, and cutting off AR’s ability to brief the analysts. This is usually an overblown concern as reputable firms will not damage their standing with vendors – a significant source of information and market insights – over short term contract spending changes. Analysts at the largest firms often do not know the size of a vendor’s contract with the firm and will not notice if the vendor cuts the contract by some percentage.

Unfortunately, there will be individuals who do resort to threats and making overtly negative comments about vendors in the press as pressure tactics to get contracts. Typically these individuals are Continue reading

Managing the AR budget in a recession

icon-budget-cuts-105w.jpgWith all the turmoil in the economic scene, we have been getting inquiries about how to manage the analyst relations (AR) budget in a recession. This post is a roundup of content we have published on the SageCircle blog on the topics of budgets and spending. 

This content is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the full set of intellectual property SageCircle has generated on these topics. There is more written research and SageToolsTM in the Online SageContentTM Library. There is also an AR Team Briefing on managing budgets in a recession. Finally we recommend that Advisory clients, either Blocks of Advisory Hours or Annual Advisory, schedule inquiries to discuss the budget implications of the economic uncertainty.

Purchasing Analyst Services, a six-part series:

  1. Using five rights to avoid a wrong when it comes to purchasing Gartner or Forrester services
  2. Right reasons – Evaluate why you are purchasing analyst services
  3. Right services – Align the services you buy to better Continue reading

Why it is a really bad idea to cut AR, even in a recession

icon-budget-cuts-105w.jpgIt is common for tech vendors to cut marketing spend in a recession. Because Industry Analyst Relations (AR) is typically in the marketing department, AR is often asked to shoulder part of the cost cutting burden by cutting spending, freezing hiring, or even cutting head count. As a consequence, AR often cuts back on the total number of interactions it conducts with key analysts. This can be short sighted for a variety of reasons:

  • Analysts interact with many communities on a daily basis – As we pointed out in involving the analysts early and often, analysts do a significant number of touches each and every day with IT buyers, reporters, financial analysts and others. Providing analysts with a continual stream of information about your company, customer stories, and so on ensures that the analysts will properly position you with IT buyers, press, investors, et cetera.
  • Top-of-mind presence is ephemeral – Because the analysts have so many interactions and gather so many data points, it is easy for a vendor to get pushed lower in the analysts’ consciousness unless Continue reading

Notes on managing your budget in a recession — SageCircle’s Coffee Talk

icon-budget-cuts-105w.jpgOn Tuesday April 1 SageCircle conducted a web-based Coffee Talk around the potential impacts of budget cuts and how AR teams can best handle them.  We began with a few slides to review the techniques for managing a budget and then opened the session to questions from the participants.

Often when resources are trimmed certain areas experience across-the-board and significant cuts.  While some of these areas can be quick to recover in the future analyst relations is generally not one of them.  Developing relationships that can truly provide a positive revenue impact takes sustained effort over time.  Once your program begins to slip the effort required to Continue reading

Budget cutting part two — Alternate solutions for analyst contracts

icon-budget-cuts-105w.jpgLast week (see Budgeting cutting can help AR focus and innovate) we suggested that potential budget cuts may have the effect of causing AR teams to prioritize and innovate in their programs and might not always be as negative as when first viewed.  Another way to deal with the possible cuts in funding that follow any economic slowing is to look to alternative solutions.  These techniques obviously take precious time and effort that AR teams also don’t have, but may be reasonable choices when money is not available.

Analyst seat holder contracts

Review each analyst contract for usage and determine business group seat holders who need to be eliminated.  Then contact the high value and high usage seat holders to see if the business group can pick up some or all of the cost.  Be prepared to justify the cost as the business group Continue reading

Budget cutting can help AR focus and innovate

icon-budget-cuts-105w.jpgIt is a fact of life that because of the reports of economic slowing, marketing departments at communications and IT vendors are considering budget cuts. Because most analyst relations teams report to marketing, there will be trickle down cuts hitting AR as well. Unfortunately, most AR functions are already short of staff and funding resources so the natural reaction is to perceive that budget cuts are only bad. However, if AR managers use the budget cutting as an opportunity to rethink how they do business the cutting exercise can have at least some positive outcomes.

Any business function can accumulate outdated expenses, activities and techniques like barnacles on a ship. An example can be always buying 20 advisory seats during the annual analyst services contract renewal even though only 14 are really being actively used. Another example is spending too much money on analyst events by selecting fancy destination hotels when analysts would prefer a more convenient and often cheaper location. Yet another example is buying expo floor booth space at firm conferences because “everybody knows” that they are great sources of leads when no investigation of lead generation effectiveness has been done for years, if ever.

Besides eliminating unnecessary spending, a budget cutting exercise can also surface innovative approaches to accomplish tasks that actually might be more effective done in some other way. An example here is substituting “Deep Dives” for the annual Continue reading

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