An analyst relations (AR) manager gave me a call this week with an interesting tid-bit that completely reinforces the recent postings about vendor sales reps asking about analyst usage, analyst myth #1 and how IT managers should use Waves and Magic Quadrants.
The AR manager was recently at their software company’s annual sales kick off meeting. There was a customer panel taking questions from a moderator and the sales reps in the audience. One question was “How or do you use the analyst firms to make decisions?” One customer said that the proof of concept is usually what causes him to sign on the dotted line, not a bunch of reports. It was what the next customer – from a sophisticated company with revenues in the tens of billions of dollars – said that should concern every vendor:
“Technology is important, but if the company is in the upper right quadrant, I assume they’ve got all the feature/functionality because Gartner has done the due diligence.”
Hokey smokes! The major analyst firms never formally state that they do lab evaluations, extensive direct research, or due diligence when comparing vendors for a Magic Quadrant or Wave. So the IT manager is really taking a chance with his job to be relying so much on a single piece of analyst research. For the vendor sales team, the danger is that their product could be excluded from or penalized in a sales deal because the IT buyer is misusing the research.
SageCircle Technique: Not only should vendor sales reps ask customers about analyst usage, but they should be prepared to educate the IT buyer about the proper way to use analyst research.
There should be an established AR-sales partnership program in place
AR teams should be prepared to be a resource for sales reps dealing with an analyst deal impacts
AR teams should have standard content available to educate IT buyers on how to use research
Sales teams should look to leverage SageCircle content to educate IT buyers
Bottom Line: Because IT industry analysts can have a major impact on sales deals, vendor sales representatives need to be more proactive in determining what role analysts are going to play in any deal. In addition vendor sales reps need to be prepared to educate the IT buyers on how to use the analyst research.
Question: Vendor sales reps – Have you had a deal negatively impacted because an analyst end-user client was misusing the research?
How SageCircle can Help — We can help AR and sales teams develop an effective and practical AR-Sales Partnership program. Leveraging our research and experience as AR managers working with sales, we have a library of content, training and services that help vendor sales teams use positive commentary or mitigate negative commentary. Call 650-274-8309 or e-mail info (at) sagecircle dot com for more information.
[…] For vendors in this market these points should send a shiver down their spines. If they do not make the cut and get included in the Wave they could simply never appear on the radar screen of many tech buyers considering these products. Remember, analyst end-user clients assume that the analysts have done a comprehensive survey of the market and put all relevant vendors in the report (see Do your customers assume that Gartner or other analysts have done all the due diligence?) […]
[…] Ask your customers about their use of the analysts when they are guest speakers at the annual sales kickoff Posted on July 30, 2008 by sagecircle Frequently vendors will have customers participate in their annual sales kick off meetings in a panel or interview format. These are great opportunities to ask the customers how they use the analysts. Sometimes the customer will say something that will provide sales reps – and your executives – with an “ah ha!” moment like here. […]
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