• Recent Posts: Influencer Relations

    Saying farewell to David Bradshaw

    Saying farewell to David Bradshaw

    A funeral and celebration for David Bradshaw (shown left in this 2000 Ovum awayday photo, arm raised, with me and other colleagues) is to take place at West Norwood Crematorium, London SE27 at 2.45pm on Tuesday 23rd August and after at the Amba Hotel above London’s Charing Cross Station, on the Strand. David considered that that Ovum in that incarnation was […]

    David Bradshaw 1953-2016

    David Bradshaw 1953-2016

    David Bradshaw, one of the colleagues I worked with during my time as an analyst at Ovum, died on August 11. He led Cloud research in Europe for IDC, whose statement is below. David played a unique role at Ovum, bridging its telecoms and IT groups in the late 1990s by looking at computer-telecoms integration areas like CRM, which I […]

    AR managers are failing with consulting firms

    AR managers are failing with consulting firms

    Reflecting the paradoxical position of many clients, Kea’s Analyst Attitude Survey also goes to a wide range of consultants who play similar roles to analysts and are often employed by analyst firms. The responses to the current survey show that consultants are generally much less happy with their relationships with AR teams than analysts are. The paradox is that as […]

    Fersht: some IIAR award-winners “just tick the boxes”

    Fersht: some IIAR award-winners “just tick the boxes”

    Some of the firms mentioned by the IIAR’s analyst team awards fall short of excellence. That’s the verdict of several hundred analysts who took our Analyst Attitude Survey, and of the CEO of one of the top analyst firms. Phil Fersht left the comment below on our criticism of the IIAR awards. We thought we’d reprint it together with the […]

    Do the IIAR awards simply reward large firms?

    Do the IIAR awards simply reward large firms?

    The 2016 Institute for Industry Analyst Relations’ awards seem to be rewarding firms for the scale of their analyst relations, rather than their quality. In a blog post on July 6th, the IIAR awarded IBM the status of best analyst relations teams, with Cisco, Dell and HP as runners-up. Together with Microsoft, which outsources much of its analyst relations to […]

Vendor sales reps should ask which analysts are advisors on deals [Vendor Sales]

icon-dollar-euro.jpgThe IT advisory analysts (e.g., AMR, Forrester and Ovum) have their fingerprints all over the IT and telecommunications acquisition projects of large and some mid-size enterprises. While the participation of the analysts is not meant to be a secret, sales representatives of tech vendors are often unaware of their influence behind the scenes. This can be a fatal flaw in a sales process, since an analyst can eliminate a vendor from a sales opportunity with a single comment. To bypass this problem, vendor sales representatives need to ask prospects a few simple questions during the qualification phase as well as throughout the sales cycle. With this information in hand, the sales rep can anticipate problems that need to be mitigated or find positive opportunities to exploit. This is a classic “if it ain’t broken, fix it anyway” situation because trying to recover a sales cycle disrupted by an analyst is much more difficult than initially steering prospects to the “correct” analyst before opinions have formed.
 
Why Would an IT Buyer Tell the Sales Rep this Information? One of the primary selling points for the advisory analyst firms is that their experienced analysts can provide help to technology buyers. A technology buyer will often gladly tell the sales rep that this or that analyst is acting as an adviser because it is a negotiating ploy to inform the sales rep that the buyer is well prepared and cannot be fooled.
 
When Should the Questions be Asked?  Analyst “information gathering” should be part of the normal qualification process and the sales cycle as a whole. It is “Sales 101” to ask questions like “Do you have budget?” “What is your timeframe?” and “Are you the decision maker?” during the qualification process. It is very easy to include a few more questions on the role of the analysts in the project such as “Do you work with any of the analyst firms?” or “Have you considered the opinions of any IT industry analysts?” Also remember, even after the sales cycle is moving along it is important to periodically refresh the information because the tech buyers could be exposed to new written research or obtain new recommendations over the phone from analysts.
 
In a future post, we will provide additional sample questions the sales rep can ask prospects and customers.
 
BTW, any information gathered regarding the analysts’ impact on sales should be shared with your AR department. Finding out which analyst firms and analysts are valued by prospects and customers is valuable intelligence for sales, AR, and the company as a whole. In addition, AR can be of great assistance by providing sales with the tools (e.g., lists of positive and negative analysts) and services (e.g., assistance when an analyst has negatively impacted a sales opportunity) to help close deals.
  
Bottom Line: The earlier a vendor sales representative understands which analysts are advising their prospects, the better equipped the sales rep will be to exploit positive situations or put in measures to mitigate potential negative commentary from analysts.
 
Question:  For IT managers – Would you be willing to share this information with your vendor reps? For vendor sales reps – Are you comfortable asking for this information?  For AR – Do you have an active AR-sales partnership program in place?

5 Responses

  1. […] a call this week with an interesting tid-bit that completely reinforces the recent postings about vendor sales reps asking customers about analyst usage, the myth “Analysts know everything”  and how IT managers should use Forrester Waves […]

  2. Carter, my experience is that customers over here in EMEA are often reluctant to reveal they’re consulting. Several reasons:

    – Some might view this as an admission of weakness (a French bank once said they would NEVER EVER go to an analyst because they have better analysts internally…)

    – The sales reps often speak to a different contact that the one calling on analysts

  3. Excellent point about being sensitive to local cultural issues. is there a way for a vendor to politely push someone to indicate if they use analysts?

  4. […] will talk about the AR-Sales Partnership. There will be other posts written for sales reps (see Vendor sales reps should ask which analysts are advisors on deals) or can be used by sales reps to overcome an analyst-related sales hurdle (see IT managers, […]

  5. […] – Encourage your sales teams to start asking large enterprise prospects and customers whether they are currently clients or are considering subscribing to an advisory analyst firm to […]

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