Happy Thanksgiving

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Here is wishing all our American clients and readers a fun and relaxing Thanksgiving. For our readers outside the US, you no doubt will be enjoying a few days of reduced emails and phone calls! 

Our next official post will be on Monday, November 30th.

The Top 5: Roadshow Readiness Mistakes

Analyst Relations PlanningEven in the 21st Century with telepresence and social media, sometimes it is very useful to hit the road and meet analysts in person. Unfortunately these are expensive exercises so analyst relations (AR) teams need to be aware of the following top mistakes when it comes to road shows.

5) Not picking the right individuals to brief. Too often IT vendors waste precious time briefing analysts that have little ability to support the goals of the vendor.  While it is fine to add secondary analysts the focus must be on the most relevant to your revenues

4) Preparing a “one size fits all” presentation rather than tailoring presentations to the individual and type of analyst firm being briefed.  Analysts need to feel that you have taken the time to address their specific interests.

3) Having the wrong orientation, i.e., wanting to perform a data dump of speeds and feeds on the analyst instead of engaging in Continue reading

People on the Move in the Analyst Ecosystem – Reyne Quackenbush joins Tech Mahindra

Reyne Quackenbush (Twitter handle) has joined the growing Analyst & Advisory Relations team at Tech Mahindra (website).  Reyne will lead the Analyst & Advisory Relations practice in North America. She will collaborate with Tech Mahindra’s Leader of the Global Analyst & Advisory Relations program, Rahul Basarkar, who is based in India as well as her counterpart, Ed Gyurko, who is based in the UK.  Tech Mahindra is a global systems integrator and business transformation consulting firm focused on the Telcom industry. For over two decades, Tech Mahindra has been the chosen transformation partner for wireline, wireless and broadband operators in Europe, Asia-Pacific and North America. Majority owned by Mahindra & Mahindra, one of the Top 10 industrial houses in India, in partnership with British Telecommunications plc (BT), world’s leading communications service provider, Tech Mahindra has grown rapidly to become the 5th largest software exporter in India (NASSCOM 2009) and the first largest telecom software provider from India (Voice & Data 2009).

Please join us in congratulating Reyne and wishing her great success in her new position.

Tech Mahindra

___________________________________

Are you or someone you know on the move? Please let us know Continue reading

AR Job Opening – Neustar

Analyst Relations Manager

  • Job ID: 2009-2415 (click here to apply, search on job ID)
  • Location: US-VA-Sterling
  • Posted Date: 11/23/2009

Overview:  The Industry Analyst Relations Manager owns and builds analyst relationships to propagate messaging, positively influencing analysts to speak and write about Neustar.

Responsibilities:

  • Develops analyst plan in support of line of business and corporate goals.
  • Assists in go-to-market, product launches, and vertical and geographic market growth via analyst relations activities.
  • Ensures Neustar written coverage. Stays current on upcoming research agendas and coverage areas and reaches out as applicable.
  • Utilizes social media to determine Continue reading

AR Job Openings – HP and McAfee

Hewlett-Packard

Director, U.S. Corporate Media Relations-358948 (click for more info and to apply)

  • Attract, grow, motivate and maintain talent; build a skilled PR/AR team
  • Improve PR/AR efficiencies through process, tools and collaboration
  • Create a world-class PR/AR cost structure, operations and execution quality
  • Prioritize, drive and evaluate key PR/AR strategies and programs in support of business objectives
  • Cultivate and maintain relationships with media, analysts and industry leaders that are important to HP and the business

Primary Location – United States-California – Palo Alto

Job Number 358948

McAfee

Analyst Relations Director-867627 (click for more info and to apply)

The Analyst Relations Director is responsible for the entire global analyst relations function. The position is responsible for all Continue reading

Analyst Ecosystem News

Logo - Altimeter GroupAltimeter Group hires a head of Sales – David Stanley joins Altimeter Group as VP of Business Development and Sales.  David was formerly with ARinsights, Inc., makers of the ARchitect AR management application.  How Altimeter addressed the selling function was one of the “Keys for Success” that SageCircle listed in the [SageFlash] Expanded Altimeter Group is neither revolutionary nor evolutionary, but very interesting because it could build a strong end user base sent to Advisory clients. If Altimeter wants to expanded beyond the vendor community, the primary client market for most analyst boutiques, then it has to invest in sales in order to close enterprise business.

Logo - Henry CorporationHENRY Corporation expands beyond former IDCers – The HENRY Corporation announced that it will be representing Quocirca, the UK-based research and analysis firm.

 

Panelists at the Ovum-Datamonitor Launch Event

From left to right,

  • Jonathan Yarmis, Research Fellow, Datamonitor-Ovum
  • Gideon Gartner, CEO-founder, Gartner Group and Giga Information Systems
  • Carter Lusher, Strategist, SageCircle

The panel was on the future of the analyst industry. It was an honor for Carter to be included on such an august panel. The event was the formal launch of the new Datamonitor-Ovum.

SageCircle AR Podcast for November 17, 2009

SageCircle AR Podcast ArtworkThe AR podcast is a review of the latest news and trends in the analyst ecosystem along with tips and tricks for analyst relations professionals and analyst research consumers. SageCircle strategists Dave Eckert and Carter Lusher co-host this bi-weekly program. You can find all the SageCircle podcasts on our podcast page.

Visit the podcast page to download the MP3 file or listen to the episodes on your computer.  Click here to subscribe to the podcast within iTunes

SCP 13: Table of contents. Numbers in parentheses refer to minutes:seconds when the article starts within the podcast.

[00:00]  Opening

[01:02]  News (ZL Technology/Gartner lawsuit; analyst firm hiring; Twitter Directories; HENRY Corporation expands)

[07:54]  Fact Checking Magic Quadrant Leaders Inflation Accusation

[15:53]  Does it matter how much Continue reading

Twitter Lists – A dual-edged sword for analyst relations

icon-social-media-blue.jpgTwitter has rolled out a new feature called “Lists” that permits any user to publish a list of Twitter handles. If someone else clicks on that list (e.g., simple example) they can easily see all the tweets from everybody on that list. Also by clicking on the “View List Page” to the right of the list title, you can see all the handles associated with that list. This new feature makes it very easy to follow a list so that you can go to it with a single click. 

It is very easy to create a list, just click on “New List” in the right hand navigation bar of your Twitter.com page; type in a title; select the Privacy status of Public or Private; and start adding handles to your list. Adding handles can be done from a simple search function, your “Following” or “Followers” list (Lists icon to right of the avatar), or from someone’s profile page. Your list will then show up in the right hand navigation bar. Lists can be broad (e.g., Gartner’s single list of all analysts) or targeted (e.g., Forrester’s multiple lists of analysts by client type).

You can find links to the analyst firm Twitter Lists on Carter’s Twitter page www.twitter.com/carterlusher. As of this blog post, seven Lists by analyst firms have been identified. If you have found other analyst firm Lists please sent a link to “info [at] sagecircle [dot] com” and we’ll add them to the list of lists.

However, there are more aspects to Twitter Lists than the ones mentioned above. SageCircle clients can set up an inquiry to get a quick tutorial on Twitter tips and tricks, which includes the use of Lists.

This new Twitter feature can be a useful tool for analyst relations (AR) teams. For instance, there could be a List for all the member of the AR team to make it easy for analysts to find all the relevant AR team members to follow. There could be lists for your company’s thought leaders or the domain experts for a particular product or market. These are all great ways to promote your colleagues or others and increase their followers, especially analysts.

What about an AR team’s analyst lists? Could they be turned into a Twitter List so that it would be easy for AR’s colleagues to find and follow relevant analysts? While simple to do, would you want to publish a list of your analysts for the entire world – including your competitors – to see? We think not and do not recommend that Continue reading

Is Gartner inflating the number of Leaders on Magic Quadrants?

SageCircle received an email from a reader asking whether we had seen the newsletter from a boutique analyst firm, which included a comment that Gartner has been increasing the number of Leaders on Magic Quadrants. The clear implication was that this analyst was accusing Gartner of corruption for inflating the number of Leaders in order to extract revenue from vendors in the form of analyst consulting days, research reprints, and so on. Of course, this analyst competes with Gartner for contracts and access to vendor briefings.

SageCircle has not noticed any “Leaders inflation,” but then we have not been doing any systematic, in-depth research which would be required for such an observation. We do note however that Gartner is being sued by ZL Technologies because the MQ that ZL has been listed on since 2005 still has only one (1) Leader and it’s not ZL. So I guess that Gartner gets criticized if it there are too few Leaders or too many.  The joys of being the dominate market player, everybody takes potshots at you.

The boutique analyst firm offered no proof, nor does it describe the research methodology behind the claim, so we cannot evaluate the validity of the claim.  Here are some general observations:

  1. The boutique analyst firm analysts could be looking at only a few MQs relevant to their coverage and these may have been around for a number of years. Maturing markets naturally see the vendors migrate up and to the right as the market consolidates through acquisitions or failures, vendors become better at execution, and so on
  2. The boutique analyst firm analysts do not notice that Leaders are not the only vendors who purchase reprints, vendors in all boxes – incredibly even vendors in the Niche box – acquire reprint rights and promote the MQs they are on. As a consequence, Gartner would not necessarily get incremental revenues because the Challengers and Visionaries might already be purchasing reprints of the Magic Quadrant
  3. We don’t believe there is any “Leaders inflation”

To see if the distribution of vendors around a MQ was skewed in one direction or another, we looked up a random set of MQs just to see what the breakdown was between the various boxes.  Our example set consisted of Continue reading

A potpourri of observations and comments about the analyst ecosystem and social media

icon-social-media-blue.jpgThis is the Explanation Mark! blog post.

 Analyst leaves Forrester! – The fact that an analyst leaves a prominent firm (in this case Forrester security analyst Natalie Lambert to vendor Citrix) is not news. People change jobs all the time for a variety of reasons. Even in a recession. What is interesting is how open the news has been with the analyst and Forrester tweeting and blogging (e.g., see this post) about it. In the past, analyst firms were loathe to admit that an analyst had walked out the door, only telling clients and others on an individual basis to keep the word from spreading. Luckily that attitude is no longer possible because social media means that the word will get out sooner than later. So kudos to Forrester for being open about the change.

70 new entries in the Analyst Twitter Directory in the last week! – We did two updates to the Analyst Twitter Directory with the result being that the number of analysts in the directory went over 900. You might want to check out the AR Twitter Directory as it has 48 new entries.

Which analysts actually tweet? Pshaw! It doesn’t matter! – After SageCircle tweeted about the Analyst Twitter Directory getting near 900, there was this reply by HCL AR wizard and former Gartnerian @robert_desouza “the correct stat would be how many actually tweet of the 899.” Then HP AR guru @gerryvz tweeted “Yes it would be an interesting project to stack-rank Twanalysts by frequency, insight qual & market influence.” To both twits we say “Pshaw!” That is because ranking all the analysts in the directory by volume or insight is not relevant. What is relevant for AR teams is whether Continue reading

Gartner and Forrester are not, repeat not, Tier 1

Analyst Relations PlanningYou read the headline correctly; Forrester and Gartner should never be considered Tier 1. Yes, yes, Gartner is the industry behemoth and Forrester is likely the number two firm for enterprise end users, but that does not make them automatically Tier 1 for the purpose of creating a ranked and tiered analyst list. 

In the analyst list methodology that SageCircle has developed, analyst firms should not be given an automatic “tier” because what should be ranked is analysts, not firms. Ranking should be done based on a set of criteria (e.g., industry visibility, research coverage, client base, and so on) related to the vendor’s and AR team’s objectives. After a ranked list is created, then AR draws lines on the list to split the list into groups (e.g., Tier 1, 2 and 3, or strategic, important, and secondary or whatever you want to call them) that will define the types the service level (e.g., 1-to-1, 1-to-many or none-to-many responses) the AR team will give each analyst on the list. Tiers and service levels are created based on AR resources (i.e., the bigger the AR team the more Tier 1 analysts can be supported). While the characteristics of the firm will contribute to the data for ranking, merely working at Forrester or Gartner should never guarantee an analyst that they will have Tier 1 status.

SageCircle strategists frequently see analyst relations (AR) teams give Tier 1 status to analysts of the Big Two, even if their true relevance should place them much farther down on the ranked list. This can lead to AR misallocating resources by putting too much emphasis on some analysts while not having sufficient resources to brief or respond to other analysts. Remember, depending on the market and the analysts, a single practitioner or boutique can have just as much influence as the Big Two.

SageCircle Technique:

Forrester 3Q 09 earnings part 2 – Client Group breakdown from 10-Q

logo-forrester.gifVendor AR teams find it useful to understand the size and nature of an analyst firm’s clients when they are trying to decide if that firm has direct influence on their sales. Analyst firms whose clients are primarily vendors have little direct impact on sales deals because they are not advising IT managers and other technology buyers. Those firms with a significant contract value with enterprises can have a dramatic impact on sales especially through ad hoc, phone-based inquiry (see Don’t discount the business value of analysts’ 350,000+ phone-based inquiries with end-user clients) and signature product or market research (e.g., Magic Quadrant and Wave).

In its SEC Form 10-Q, Forrester Research provided some details into its client base. While not perfectly transparent, it does provide interesting insights. The filing reports the revenue breakdown by the three Client Groups, which have their own dedicated sales and analyst teams. There is also an “Other” category which consists “primarily of sponsorships and event tickets.” The “Other” category makes the percentages fluxuate quarter-to-quarter depending on the number of events that occur in the quarter.

Table - Forr Client Breakdown Q3 2009

As the table illustrates, roughly 40% of its revenues in the first three quarters came from its IT Client Group, which SageCircle interprets as “end users” at enterprises. This is a critical community for many technology and telecommunications vendors as these are often the primary buyers of Continue reading

Analyst Ecosystem Update

Icon - newsGeneral News

Analyst Twitter Directory – On November 5 and 7, SageCircle added a total 70 analysts to the directory and changed the entries of seven.

Forrester Research has released its 10Q for 3rd Quarter 2009. There will be an analysis by SageCircle on Monday, November 9th.

People on the Move

CMS Watch – Apoorv Durga (Twitter, blog) joined covering portals and content management.

Forrester – Natalie Lambert (Twitter) departs to Continue reading

2010 planning tips – assessments

Analyst Relations PlanningAs we get closer to 2010 more analyst relations (AR) teams are engaging in the annual planning exercise. One of the ways to enhance the power of planning is to systematically and honestly assess the program and its accomplishments. 

Below is a quick check list of assessment techniques. You can listen to a discussion of some of these techniques on the November 3rd SageCircle AR Community podcast which you can listen to by clicking here.

SageCircle Technique:

  • Conduct an audit of how AR has performed in the last year
  • Conduct an audit of what AR has accomplished in the last year
  • Ruthlessly evaluate how AR is allocating its time
  • Do a zero-based rethink of all spending, especially Forrester and Gartner expenditures
  • Poll AR’s internal stakeholders on perceptions about AR’s role and business value
  • Survey analysts on AR’s Continue reading

Gartner won dismissal of ZL lawsuit, but ZL can file an amended complaint

This dismissal by the judge hearing the case does not mean the issue has been settled as ZL Technologies can pursue other legal options.

Related SageCircle posts:

From the Research Magazine website: Round one goes to Gartner in libel battle

5 November 2009 | By Brian Tarran

Gartner has succeeded in dismissing a libel complaint brought by a software company angry at being described as a ‘niche’ player – though the vendor has been granted leave to file an amended complaint.

ZLTI v Gartner in logos

District Court Judge Jeremy Fogel agreed with the IT analyst’s argument that its Magic Quadrant reports and the positioning of ZL Technologies in the ‘niche’ quadrant constituted “non-actionable Continue reading

SageCircle AR Podcast for November 3, 2009

SageCircle AR Podcast ArtworkThe AR podcast is a review of the latest news and trends in the analyst ecosystem along with tips and tricks for analyst relations professionals and analyst research consumers. SageCircle strategists Dave Eckert and Carter Lusher co-host this bi-weekly program. You can find all the SageCircle podcasts on our podcast page.

Visit the podcast page to download the MP3 file or listen to the episodes on your computer.  Click here to subscribe to the podcast within iTunes

SCP 12: Table of contents. Numbers in parentheses refer to minutes:seconds when the article starts within the podcast.

[00:00] Opening

[00:57] News – Forrester’s and Gartner’s 3Q 2009 Earnings Announcements

[07:41] Growing enterprise client base enhances influence and relevance

[10:40] AR-Sales Case Study – Countering a negative research Continue reading

HENRY Corporation launches – Represents former senior IDC EMEA analysts

Logo - Henry CorporationHere is an interesting announcement concerning the launch of a new ICT market research and marketing services firm that brings together former senior IDC analysts who were caught in IDG’s right-sizing exercise. A few points about the HENRY Corporation:

  • Each analyst is also an independent practitioner, some with a firm name and some under their name
  • With the exception of Martin Hingley (Twitter,  blog), most of the Fellows are not active users of social media
  • With the exception of Simone de Bruin’s LinkedResearch website and to a lesser extent Hingley’s blog, none of the other Fellows have a formal web presence

SageCircle’s initial impression is that HENRY Corporation will be the marketing function as well as sales organization for this group of former IDC senior analysts. As such it will be somewhat more involved with its portfolio of analysts than Valley View Ventures, which acts simply as a sales agent for its associated analysts and boutiques.

Below is a blog post by Hingley on the launch, followed by the official announcement.

Overview from Martin Hingley, one of the original HENRY Fellows:

The Henry Corporation Brings Familiar Experts Back To Support The ITC Industry

What happens when a major market research organization off-loads most of its senior analysts in EMEA? I’m sure it does its best to run its services with newer researchers. However many industry execs will miss the quality of support, ideas and advice that they once had. In the case of my old company some familiar faces, now independent, are also as eager as ever to Continue reading

Gartner Q3 2009 earnings

This analysis does not look at areas of interest to investors, but seeks to pull out insights that are relevant to clients and prospects of the “Big Two” advisory analyst firms as well as communications and IT vendor analyst relations (AR) teams.  

logo-gartner.gifGartner, Inc. (NYSE:IT) announced its Q3 2009 earnings on October 30, 2009. See the end of this blog post for a summary and link to the press release.

In general Gartner’s results were much as expected at this point in a recession. All the key statistics were down year-over-year, but improved (i.e., less bad) quarter-to-quarter sequentially. All statistics are year-over-year and are FX neutral unless noted.

  • Overall revenues: $267.5m, down 7%.
  • Research: $187.7m, down 4%.
  • Events: $16m, down 6%.
  • Consulting: $65.7m, down 16%.

Demonstrating that a well-managed advisory analyst firm can be a cash machine, Gartner generated $55.1m in cash in Q3, only a half-million below Q3 2008. For the full year, Gartner raised its guidance on cash flow to $125m to $135m. Cash and equivalents at the end Q3 2009 was $113m, down from $141m at the end of Q3 2008. During the first nine months of 2009, Gartner primarily used cash to repay $151m in debt. Gartner retains $250m in available credit, which with the $113m in cash should give it the necessary resources to maintain its business as well as conduct M&A activity. On the M&A front, CEO Hall maintained the position that M&A opportunities are being constantly evaluated, but unlike Forrester, who mentioned it was actively evaluating potential deals, he provided no color to that remark.

Pricing

In his remarks CEO Gene Hall mentioned that Gartner’s most recent price increase was holding. Hall also said that Gartner was implementing a price increase on November 1, 2009. Yes, Gartner has been and continues to raise prices even in a recession. This can be attributed to Continue reading

Forrester Research Q3 2009 earnings call

This analysis does not look at areas of interest to investors, but seeks to pull out insights that are relevant to clients and prospects of Forrester Research, the number two advisory analyst firm, as well as communications and IT vendor analyst relations (AR) teams. 

logo-forrester.gif

This post is part one of two parts when it comes to an analysis of the Forrester Q3 earnings. This is because the 10-Q, which will come out within two weeks of the earnings call, has more detail than the currently available 8-K and the earnings call.  We will review that document when it is available. 

The key take away from Forrester’s Q3 2009 earnings announcement is that Forrester is weathering this economic downturn much better than the last recession. In that recession, Forrester saw revenues plunge ~34% and experienced a broad and deep reduction in staff. After three quarters in 2009, overall revenue is only down 3% with research revenues actually up 2%. Headcount is 960, down 8% from 2008 year end, but still 23% higher than YE2007. In addition, Forrester currently has 16 sales and 4 research openings so it is not simply reducing headcount, but selectively filling positions as well. Furthermore, CEO George Colony told the Wall Street analysts on today’s call that he plans on adding 10 to 20 sales headcount in the 4th quarter (it is not clear if this expansion includes or is incremental to the current sales job openings on the website). This contrasts with the 51% reduction in staff from YE2000 to YE2002. Finally, at the end of Q3 2009 Forrester is sitting on $280m in cash and short term investments.

Why should this matter to enterprise clients and vendor analyst relations (AR) staff? Because Forrester is not in survival mode it has not had to slash sales or research headcount. Rather it has continued to keep the client–facing staff at a level that makes retaining existing and adding new enterprise clients relatively straightforward. This means that Forrester’s ability to maintain its research agenda and marketplace influence are not being seriously imperiled as 2009 comes to a close.

For AR teams this means that there is unlikely to be disruptive analyst turnover that would negatively impact analyst lists and interactions plans. Unfortunately, there is still the likelihood that sales representatives and analysts will be hitting the vendor community hard for incremental consulting/service units engagements and Roleview seats. Vendors should realize that not buying Continue reading

Saleseforce.com AR opening – Director, Industry Analyst Relations

First we saw that vmware wants an AR manager with a sense of humor. salesforce.com agrees and adds…
 
  • A positive, flexible attitude and a sense of humor are essential
  • Appreciation of wine, cheese and chocolate
  •  
    Tip o’ of the hat to Peggy O’Neill for the tip about these essential job requiements.

    Logo - salesforceDirector, Industry Analyst Relations (click to visit site and apply)

    Location(s): San Francisco, CA – HQ

    Description: This is an amazing opportunity to work with the salesforce.com analyst relations team in a role with potential for growth. This member of the Analyst Relations team will oversee, develop and execute a range of programs, and help manage some of the top relationships in the industry analyst community. This person will be responsible for the overall strategy and success of the analyst relations program across both the CRM applications and Force.com platform. Reporting to the VP of Corporate Communications, this position will accelerate and evolve the existing AR program helping the company to: • Develop more strategic relationships with our growing community of analysts • Provide product management with strategic consultation on products and services • Partner with the sales enablement organization, assist in driving deals with analyst support • Collaborate with product marketing and corporate marketing to deliver content and programs to drive lead generation • Broaden visibility of the company, its strategy and core products The position requires a commitment to innovation, excellent understanding of the technology industry and cloud computing, and established relationships with industry analysts. Clear, concise and consistent communication skills are a must. This person must be comfortable with current market trends, competitive positioning and the cloud computing space. An amazing ability to multi-task and prioritize while maintaining a sense of humor is required. Initiative is your middle name.

    Responsibilities:

    • Set strategic direction, proactively make suggestions, conduct planning sessions and advice on positioning and tactics
    • Understand budgetary requirements Continue reading

    VMware job opening — Group Manager, Industry Analyst Relations

    We especially like this required capability: “A very, very good sense of humor”

    Job ID 16341-VM (click here and search on Job ID or analyst relations”

    VMware logoDivision Marketing

    Job Location CA-Palo Alto (Corp)  

    Group Manager, Industry Analyst Relations

    Virtualization is the technology that is poised to change the way we think about computing. VMware (NYSE: VMW) is the global leader in virtualization solutions from the desktop to the datacenter. Customers of all sizes rely on VMware to reduce capital and operating expenses, ensure business continuity, strengthen security and go green. With 2008 revenues of $1.9 billion, more than 130,000 customers and more than 22,000 partners, VMware is one of the fastest-growing public software companies. VMware’s award-winning technology, market-leading position and culture of excellence provide the more than 6,600 passionate people we employ in 40 locations worldwide with a platform for professional growth and the excitement of being an early-stage innovator.

    Corporate Marketing sets strategy and works with employees throughout the world to execute an integrated marketing plan across all marketing channels and geographies to support marketing strategy and direction for specific VMware solutions. The Corporate and Field Marketing teams work extensively with sales, product management and product marketing as well as outside agencies in order to execute integrated marketing campaigns and programs that include online, print, email, direct mail, webinars, seminars, tradeshows and executive marketing sessions.

    The Industry Analyst Relations Group Manager will be responsible for leading analyst relations efforts for VMware’s management and Continue reading

    Understanding the Analysts: Unreasonable Demands?

    Recently, a global software client e-mailed us that a prominent industry analyst was demanding certain proof points for a major change in sales strategy that the vendor had just announced. The information demanded was something that this particular software company has a policy of not releasing. Our client was very frustrated and felt that the analyst was being dogmatic and unreasonable. 

    Frankly, we would have asked for similar proof points if we were in the analyst’s position. The vendor shouldn’t take the demand personally, as even a moderately skeptical analyst should say “ok, nice idea but how are you going to do it?” A good analyst will always peel back the onion to see if there is any credibility to the plan. Our criticism of the analyst lies in not searching for or accepting alternative proof points to support the vendor’s claims.

    Talk is cheap — many vendors announce grandiose schemes with no plans to invest in the necessary resources to execute those plans. Another common mistake vendors make is grossly underestimating the work required to implement a particular plan. Sometimes they frankly don’t understand what they need to do in order to be successful. Yet another issue is they’re ignoring the internal political and cultural realities of making a major change.

    There are multitudes of real-life examples we could list where vendors wanted analysts to accept something at face value. One of the values that analysts provide to IT buyers is risk management.  In order to provide good advice about what to buy or how to implement it an analyst must have sufficient and believable data about the chances of success. Analysts would have egg on their faces if they publish a report merely based on what the vendor said without demanding substantial proof points. It only takes a few experiences of publishing research based on vendor’s statements – and then having it blow up in your face – for an analyst to become cynical, skeptical, quizzical, distrustful, suspicious, hostile, an inquisitor, and any other descriptors you care to add.

    However all is not lost. Use this type of a situation as an opportunity to work with the analyst to determine what Continue reading

    Negative Research Note Threatens Incumbent Status

    icon-dollar-euro.jpgThis post is one in a series of case studies on analyst relations teams have worked with their sales colleagues to grow the company’s top line. Readers that have AR-sales stories they would like to turn into case studies are encouraged to contact SageCircle. We will do the work of creating a case study at no charge.

    About the Company:

    The vendor in this case is a billion-dollar computer hardware and services company that sells to large enterprises with a direct sales force. The analyst relations (AR) team consists of one AR manager plus some support from the vendor’s PR agency.

    Situation:

    The problem started with a very negative research note from a major advisory firm that raised FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) in a financial services industry customer. The vendor was the long time incumbent supplier of hardware infrastructure. The negative analyst commentary called into doubt the vendor’s ability to remain a viable player in the market. While the analyst had become more skeptical of the vendor’s capabilities, this research note was unexpected due to the harshness of its tone.

    The fallout was immediate and dramatic. The EVP of IT at the customer waved the research note at the vendor’s major account team leader, threatening to put future business up for bid. The revenues at risk were $10m+ in annual hardware, related software, and services sales.

    Action:

    Because the sales account manager knew exactly how the problem originated, he started searching for an internal resource for assistance. The account manager did not know about the existence of AR, but simple started asking everybody and was eventually pointed in the direction of AR.

    After investigating the situation, AR pulled together a portfolio of counter-balancing research from competing firms… and colleagues of the negative analyst at the same firm.

    AR coached the sales account manager how to Continue reading

    SageCircle AR Podcast for October 23, 2009

    SageCircle AR Podcast ArtworkThe AR podcast is a review of the latest news and trends in the analyst ecosystem along with tips and tricks for analyst relations professionals and analyst research consumers. SageCircle strategists Dave Eckert and Carter Lusher co-host this bi-weekly program. You can find all the SageCircle podcasts on our podcast page.

    Visit the podcast page to download the MP3 file or listen to the episodes on your computer.  Click here to subscribe to the podcast within iTunes

    SCP 11: Table of contents. Numbers in parentheses refer to minutes:seconds when the article starts within the podcast.

    [00:00] Opening

    [01:09] News – Acquisition of TowerGroup by Executive Conference Board

    [05:30] How analysts use inquiry

    [09:14] ZL Technologies sues Gartner

    [15:56] Bill of Rights for Vendor Continue reading

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