Analyst Relations budget – Use it, don’t lose it

It’s now July 22nd, about half way through the third calendar quarter. Many communications and IT vendors have budget policies in place where departments lose any budget that is not spent within a particular fiscal quarter or calendar year. AR managers frequently find it difficult to find a good use for remaining budget, especially when it might only be a few thousand dollars. Are you kicking yourself because you had had left over budget at the end of the last quarter that you did not use? In addition, you don’t want to blow any remaining budget on something that might not be used to its fullest extent, like a reprint of a so-so research note or a Gartner Advisory seat for someone who probably won’t do inquiries.

An excellent use of remaining budget is AR staff development because it increases efficiency and effectiveness, boosts staff morale and adds variety to the job. Staff development  is even more important during a recession when bonuses are meager and pay raises are not likely.

To make it easy for AR managers to spend odd amounts of end-of-the-quarter budget, SageCircle offers its services à la carte as well as by annual subscription. We have many services under $1,000 such as webinars ($95), Online SageContent Library ($395), AR briefings ($495), workshops ($495) and advisory blocks (2 hours $495, 5 hours $995) and seminars ($995).

Another advantage of SageCircle AR training offerings is that many are 90 minutes or less, making them easy to fit into a busy schedule or a regular staff call. Oh, did I mention that you can conveniently buy any SageCircle service via credit card to ensure you get it into this quarter’s purchases? We will also work around the clock to complete any paperwork you need for traditional purchase order/invoice.

Here are three examples of how you can mix-and-match SageCircle training services to meet various needs:

AR continuing education – This example assumes an experienced AR staff located in one office. The first two items are free, which of course is a great price. Using the AR DiagnosticTM as a continuing education tool is atypical, but the questions asked Continue reading

SageCircle Special Webinar: Impact of the Recession on the Analysts and AR – Time for Ruthless Action

seminar.jpgThe worldwide economic downturn is impacting analyst firms that only a few months ago thought they would see slowing of their revenues, but not much more. In the last month, eight analyst firms – including Forrester and Gartner – have announced layoffs. More are surely to come.

And it is not just the analysts who are caught up in this recession. Analyst relations (AR) programs often get caught in the downdraft of a recession experiencing budget cuts, headcount freezes or reductions, and less analyst interaction support from executives and domain experts. If AR is to avoid being the target of budget and headcount cuts is it critical to ensure that it is aligned with corporate priorities and is demonstrating positive economic contributions. While this seems obvious, too many AR programs are so caught up in reactive mode or simply doing normal day-to-day tasks that they don’t see the danger forming. As a consequence, these programs have a greater likelihood of getting cut than those AR managers and teams that proactively or preemptively move to change their focus. 

To help AR professionals and teams take a strategic approach to dealing with the rapidly changing environment, SageCircle is announcing a new public webinar focused on the recession’s impact on the analyst ecosystem and the actions AR needs to take.

Key Issues to be addressed in this webinar include:

  • How is the analyst ecosystem impacted by recessions?
  • Will the “Big 2″ advisory firms see their influence impacted by the recession?
  • What are the immediate steps that AR should take when analysts are laid off?
  • How will the recession cause AR to work differently and spend differently?

In this SageCircle Webinar, our strategists – who have experienced recessions both 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

Christmas leftovers that are better than fruitcake

As a helpful public service, here some ideas for consuming any leftover 2007 budgets:
  Continue reading

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