Managing Your Gartner and Forrester Expenditures – A SageCircle Webinar

icon-budget-cuts-105w.jpgThe largest analyst contract commitments by enterprises, vendors and PR agencies often go to the Big Two advisory analyst firms: Forrester Research and Gartner. Unfortunately even during this recession, the two firms are not displaying any flexibility in contract negotiations – even though vendor clients are experiencing budget cuts.

To help analyst contract managers (e.g., AR, market research and procurement managers) take a strategic approach to dealing with the need to manage spending with Forrester and Gartner, SageCircle has a public webinar focused on providing the tools and intelligence needed to make the best decisions and deal with the firms’ sales representatives. 

In this SageCircle Webinar we provide insights and actionable advice on how to manage what you spend with Forrester and Gartner to ensure that you have the access you need without spending more than necessary. Key Issues to be addressed in this webinar include:

  • Is it possible to negotiate discounts with Forrester and Gartner?
  • What are the best practices for identifying expenditures that can be safely cut?
  • What are the repercussions with analysts at the Big Two if contracts are cut or even eliminated?
  • What are the best practices for handling angry and even threatening analyst firm sales representatives?

In this SageCircle Webinar, our strategists will provide a succinct analysis of why the Big Two are not being flexible and how vendors need to respond. Participants will come out of the webinar with best practices and tools that will help them manage their expenditures without adversely impacting their ability to Continue reading

SageCircle’s “Introduction to Twitter for AR” webinar

logo-twitter.pngIn the last year, the Analyst Twitter Directory has grown from 58 entries to more than 610 analysts.There has been similar growth in the AR Twitter Directory with over 370 entries. Both directories are being updated weekly with new names. So if some of your top analysts and your peers are on Twitter, shouldn’t you be on Twitter as well?  

icon-phone-headset.jpgIn this SageCircle AR Webinar, we will provide you with succinct and actionable information that will help you get up-to-speed on Twitter as a user, and help you understand the implications for AR. The agenda for the 90-minute session includes:

  1. What is micro-blogging and Twitter
  2. How are analysts and AR professionals using Twitter
  3. Getting started on Twitter
  4. Tips on being an efficient Twitter user
  5. Setting up an 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

Adding more sessions to make it easier for you to attend AR training

Frequently we hear from AR professionals wanting to attend one of our seminars, webinars or Coffee Talks saying they could not attend the scheduled session. In the very next sentence is usually “when will the session be scheduled again or do you have a replay?” To answer the request for additional scheduling options, we are happy to announce that we are greatly expanding the times we schedule webinars and Coffee Talks. Every month we will have two sessions for the Coffee Talk, two sessions for the new webinar and two repeats. In addition, most months will have public seminars scheduled as well.

To help you keep track of all these options, we are launching a new page on the SageCircle blog called, not surprising, Calendar to graphically display all the scheduled training for a number of months (see below for an example). You can find new page in the left-hand navigation menu in the “Pages” section. Currently we have February, March and April posted and will be adding additional months soon. If you to know about an AR training event in the May through July timeframe, please send us an email (info [at] sagecirle.com) and we’ll happily send you the information.

If you are a regular reader of the SageCircle blog, especially for breaking news in the analyst ecosystem ( e.g., news around the six firms that have laid off analysts in the last three weeks), a great way to show your support for this free service is by signing up for one of our events. Thanks.

 We look forward to seeing you at one of our events.

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65% of analysts think that social media can be useful for AR and analysts

icon-social-media-blue.jpgThis was another of many surprises for us from our survey of analyst about social media. That only 6% of analysts said “No” (n=257) was interesting because most of the text comments left for this question were negative. So the analysts who do not like the idea of interacting using social media really don’t like it.

Another “ah ha” was that only 17% were put off by the idea of AR including other analysts’ research or videos with analysts in the AR blogs (n=214). Also, 50% “would find it interesting to see what other analysts are saying about the vendor.” Who Continue reading

77% of industry analysts would read AR blogs, if…

…”they had relevant, useful, timely information.” There is always a catch, eh?

icon-social-media-blue.jpgFrankly, this percentage is significantly higher than we would have guessed before we conducted our survey of thousands of industry analysts. Even though we are ardent proponents of AR using social media, we expected that many in the analyst community might be adopting a “wait and see” attitude at best. However, we were pleasantly surprised that many analysts said they would read AR blogs. Here is the full question and percentage replies:

Question:     I would read vendor AR blogs if they had relevant, useful, timely information (pick one)

  • 20% – Yes, regularly
  • 31% – Yes, occasionally
  • 26% – Yes, episodically related to major news or announcement coverage
  •   5% – No, because I do not read blogs
  •   8% – No, because I do not have time
  •   9% – No, because most vendor blogs are a waste of time
  •   1% – Undecided

This would indicate there is an obvious opportunity for AR teams to Continue reading

Q&A from SageCircle’s “Dealing with Problem Analysts” webinar

A “problem analyst” is in the eye of the beholder. There are analysts whom vendors think are problems, but are really only doing their jobs in an effective manner. However, there are truly analysts who cause problems for vendors with technology buyers and the press. The two SageCircle webinars on “Dealing with Problems Analysts” were lively with questions and discussion as AR professionals grabbled with how to identify and deal with various types of analysts. Here are answers to some of the questions we received during the webinar.

Shameless Marketing – If you missed the webinar, you can schedule a SageCircle “AR Briefing” on the topic for you and your colleagues. Click here for a brochure or contact us at 650-274-8309 for more information.

Q: What do you do at analyst events (50+ analysts) where you have a blending of problem analysts – to avoid “public problems”?

A: First off, you should always invite a problem analyst to an analyst event they would logically participate in. The analyst would hear about the summit or conference and become ever more of a problem if they decided in their mind that they were disrespected.

Analyst events can actually be good opportunities to turn around a problem analyst, depending on the type of problem of course. There are some planning steps you have to take to ensure they don’t disrupt the event.  These include Continue reading

Gartner ups the ante on analyst blogging – maybe 50 new bloggers

icon-social-media-blue.jpg

Update 9/15/08 10:30 am PT: Gartner launched the Gartner Blog Network today with 47 analyst blogs (though not all have posted their first post yet). You can find a link and a list of blogs in this post Announcing “Introduction to Blogging for AR,” a special SageCircle webinar

Update 9/12/08 1:43 pm PT: Gartner analyst Andrew Frank (via Twitter) gives us some detail about the launch of the new Gartner blog network: “stay tuned for details from next week’s Web Innovation conference in LA

It took a Forrester analyst (Jeremiah Owyang naturally, first in a tweet and later in a blog post) to give the analyst ecosystem the heads up about an interesting change in policy at Gartner.

Gartner’s Gene Phifer in a blog post about virtualization dropped this intriguing piece of information:

“…Now that Gartner has adopted a Web participation policy for its analyst community, I am allowed to join the blogosphere.  It’s about time! …” 

Later in a response to comments, Gene added in a comment:

“Thanks to all for the welcome aboard. Several of us have been chomping at the bit to get out into the blogosphere. Stay tuned–the last I heard about 50 Gartner analysts will be joining me.

We are still working out some logistical details, so don’t be surprised if we have some sputters at first. For example, I hear that I may be moving my blog to another site. But the good news is that we are now blogging, and you will soon see a large number of Gartner analysts with their own blogs.”

50 more blogging Gartner analysts! This is both great news and scary news for analyst relations (AR) professionals. This is potentially great news because Continue reading

There are many types of problem analysts

For the most part, IT and communications industry analysts are a hard working, diligent group. They do their homework, make sure that they are up-to-date and act in an ethical manner. Unfortunately, this description does not cover all analysts.

While the analyst community can rightly say that there are problem AR teams, the reality is that there are problem analysts as well. However, there is no single type of problem analyst. Rather there are a variety of types each with their own characteristics. AR professionals need to identify the type of problem analyst they are confronted with and develop a plan that addresses his or her specific characteristics. The types of problem analysts that SageCircle has identified are:

Essential AR skill – knowing analyst firm research methodologies

One of the essential skills for all analyst relations (AR) professionals is knowing the different types of research methodologies used by analysts and the implications for vendors. 

For example, advisory analysts* are very well positioned to spot  a vendor’s message inconsistencies. That is because advisory analysts are talking to a wide variety of people that interact with that vendor in addition to the analysts’ direct interactions which are arranged by the vendor (click on graphic to enlarge). Advisory analysts hear from their end-user clients during inquiries what the vendor sales representatives are saying to the end user. The analyst is then in position to compare what the sales rep is saying to prospects/customers versus what AR and executives are directly telling the analyst. Advisory analysts are also talking to financial analysts and the press, which provides additional opportunity to compare what AR is saying to the analyst in contrast to what the vendor is saying to these other communities.

This is a critical insight for AR teams that Continue reading

How to manufacture a “problem analyst”

After promoting the Dealing with Problem Analysts webinar (September 17th at 8:30 am PT and 4 pm PT) on Twitter, I got the following tweet from Martin Atherton (profile, Twitter handle) of Freeform Dynamics:

 

The tweet was good for a chuckle, but it got me thinking. Martin has great points, but what he brought up were just AR best practices* not true problems. However, it sparked a thought that vendors could “manufacture” a problem analyst. Here are some “worst practices” that AR should consider avoiding:

  • Complaining about perceived bias without offering measureable proof
  • Demanding changes to draft or published research without Continue reading

Accessible Expertise from SageCircle

Got a problem analyst? Screaming won’t help.

That primal scream of frustration from the throats of many AR professionals often comes as a reaction to something that a “problem analyst” has said or done. Be it the killing of a promising sales deal or an uninformed but highly visible press quote, problem analysts can wreck havoc on the AR team’s plans and standing within their own companies. How should AR professionals react when they are confronted by the wrath of an executive screaming?  What activities should a team plan to turn around negative analysts?

An approach that rarely works is for the AR manager to turnaround and scream, whether at the analyst or the analyst’s boss.  What does work is for the AR manager to step back, take a deep breath and calmly analyze the situation.

One issue that AR has is determining whether or not it even makes sense to invest any effort into turning around or countering a problem analyst. Frankly, many problem analysts are not worth the effort because they have little influence. The next issue is to determine the type of problem analyst you are confronting (e.g., pragmatist, know it all, budget vampire, well-known press hound, rock star, among others) because different types of problem analysts require different approaches.

The critical step – if the decision is to turn the analyst around – is creating a plan to address the situation. Oh, don’t forget to equip your sales force with information and tools to mitigate negative commentary in the meantime. Of course AR has to do this while your executives are breathing fire down your neck.

Announcing the SageCircle “Dealing with Problem Analysts” Webinar

Our SageCircle AR Webinar will provide you with succinct and actionable information that will help you analyze your situation and determine Continue reading

Announcing “Introduction to Twitter,” a special SageCircle webinar

After we sent out the email last week about the AR Twitter Directory, we received a great response from tweeting AR professionals that wanted to be added to the directory and page views were quite high. However, we also got a lot of emails along with comments like: 

            “I only have a vague notion of what twitter is!”

            “I’m thinking about trying out Twitter soon”

            “Would like to, but how do I get started?”

            “How do I find the time?”

            “I’m a bit skeptical about it …”

            “…unfortunately I am not hip to the Twitter scene yet …”

There are over 120 analysts in the Analyst Twitter Directory with new names being added weekly. So if some of your top analysts are on Twitter, shouldn’t you be on Twitter as well?  To help out AR professionals and teams get started with Twitter, SageCircle is announcing a new public webinar focused on using and understanding this bleeding edge form of communication.

In this SageCircle AR Webinar, we will provide you with succinct and actionable information that will help you get up-to-speed on Twitter as a user, and help you understand the implications for AR. The agenda for the 90-minute session includes:

  1. What is micro-blogging and Twitter
  2. How are analysts and AR professionals using Twitter
  3. Getting started on Twitter
  4. Tips on being an efficient Twitter user
  5. Setting up an Continue reading

The SageCircle post you have been waiting to see

I’m sure this is an announcement that all of our faithful readers have been eagerly waiting to see. [drum roll please] We are pleased to announce that we have updated our brochures and services pages. Excited? Oh, you have not exactly been sitting on the edge of seats waiting for this? Oh, well.

Seriously, the tabs and pages (1/ Advisory, 2/ AR Wiki, 3/ Training, 4/ AR-Sales Partnership) that contain background information on SageCircle services are some of the most visited pages on the blog. This is just a heads up that we have refreshed the Continue reading

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