• Recent Posts: Influencer Relations

    Netscout continues unwise Gartner suit

    Netscout continues unwise Gartner suit

    Netscout and Gartner have scheduled their trial for next July. The case stands little chance of improving Netscout’s value. It does, however, risk harming the reputation of both analyst firms and analyst relations professionals. Over the last weeks, pressure has mounted on Netscout’s lawyers. Netscout claims Gartner’s Magic Quadrant harmed its enterprise sales and that the truth of Gartner’s statements […]

    Is this how the Quadrant lost its Magic?

    Is this how the Quadrant lost its Magic?

    Gartner’s Magic Quadrant is the most influential non-financial business research document. In the late 1980s, it was a quick and dirty stalking horse to provoke discussions. Today it is an extensive and yet highly limited process, based on the quantification of opinions which are highly qualitative. The early evolution of the MQ tells us a lot about the challenge of industry […]

    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 […]

To boost credibility vendors should use candor about the risks with their products / services / markets

Candor is an important tool for vendors to use when talking with industry analysts because it builds credibility and relationships. On the other hand, vendors that only talk about happy topics and put a rosy glow on everything can do significant damage to their credibility. I am not suggesting that vendors air their dirty laundry with the analysts. Rather, vendors should discuss real and known risks with products or markets and how to manage those risks. Frankly, the analysts are probably hearing all the downsides related to your products or services from IT managers already so why not demonstrate you are on top of situation?
 
One of the big services that IT analysts offer end users (typically IT managers) is help with managing the risks of technology: the risks of acquiring, deploying, managing and retiring products and services. Every technology product or service has problems such as laptops needing security or data warehouse projects grappling with data pollution. While it easy for the analysts to hear about risks or problems, it is not so certain they will hear about how to manage those risks (see Analyst myths revisited – “Analysts know everything” still #1 for IT managers and vendors). Thus, vendors can be doing themselves and their market a favor by having a frank conversation with analysts about risks and how to manage them.
 
SageCircle Technique: This conversation can be in the form of a briefing, probably 30 to 60 minutes long. The spokesperson could be an executive or someone in services who deals with helping customers mitigate risks on a daily basis. Provide your content in an unlocked format like Word or PowerPoint that makes it easy for the analyst to copy it into a research note or blog post. Suggested agenda: 
 
1. Discuss the risks. Make it a dialog and see if you can come to a consensus on all the risks, not just the ones you see.
 
2. Discuss how the risks can be managed. Again make this a dialog.
 
3. Summarize with a snappy phase like “The Top 3 Ways to Avoid ____” or the “The Three ‘R’s to Prepare for a _____ Installation.” Keep the phase short and easy for the analyst to repeat. Try for alliteration or parallelism. 
 
4. Wrap Up with a review of what was discussed, conclusions, any follow ups that were promised by you or the analyst and whether the analyst will be publishing a note on the topic.
 
BTW, analysts love risk management conversations because they can leverage the insights into research notes and phone inquiries to become heroes to their end-user clients. While some vendor executives complain that the analysts are “stealing” their ideas, helping an analyst be a hero helps the vendor in both the short and long runs. Also, by providing the analyst the information tailored to your situation you gain the advantage of completeness and accuracy – as compared to the way it may be conveyed by a competitor or an unhappy customer.
 
Bottom Line:  Candor is a powerful tool for building credibility and relationships. A relatively safe topic to discuss in a candid manner is risk management for products or services. Make sure to provide a crisp and easy-to-repeat list of ways for end users to avoid whatever risks you are discussing.
 
Questions: Analysts – Do vendors conduct risk management conversations with you? Vendors – Do you feel comfortable discussing risks about your products or markets? IT managers – Do you want more tips and tricks about how to manage the risks associated with technology?
 
Shameless marketing pitch – If you need advice about how to do a briefing on risk management, check out SageCircle’s two-hour and five-hour advisory paks or Annual Advisory Service. The advisory paks are easy to setup and pay for via credit card. We can help you evaluate the approach to take, discuss how to conduct the briefing, review your message, critique your content and prepare your spokespeople. For more information, visit our website or contact us at sales@sagecircle.com or 650-274-8309. 

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