We have repeated stressed the importance of inquiry, both from the role of the vendor and that of the research consumer. Obviously it can be used to obtain information as well as inform the analyst. Another aspect of inquiry is the use of it to influence the research agenda of an analyst or a firm on behalf of either IT clients or vendors.
From the IT client perspective it can be very valuable to align the research agenda in the direction of your specific research needs. Analysts rate client inquiry highly in understanding the market direction. Your questions and observations, coupled with those of other clients, often cause shifts in the planned research direction. A single call is not likely to redirect an analyst, but multiple calls, even if from the same client, may have an effect. We pointed this out when we suggested that you should push analysts for information they might not currently have (see this post) and always complement the use of written research with inquiry (do’s and don’ts). If you need information that is not reflected in their past or current research plan don’t hesitate to ask. You may not be the only client looking in this direction.
From the vendor perspective inquiry is one step in the process of “category creation” where you push the analyst (or firm) to view the market in a different light. Asking questions about what other inquiry clients are seeking or questions on competitive stance in the marketplace can lead to discussions of market or product directions. You have an opportunity to suggest possible areas of research that might interest the analyst or their clients that, of course, would be beneficial to you. Moving the analyst to research in your market spaces is perfectly valid when done as part of an overall plan to educate the market, but you should not expect this to be a process that just gains an analyst endorsement.
Inquiries of this type are also part of the “early and often” strategy that SageCircle promotes when planning a vendor interaction calendar.
- Review all previously published research from all analysts in a firm before you schedule an inquiry
- Work with your account representative to obtain any unpublished work such as speaking presentations or draft documents
- Work with the firm’s inquiry process to connect with the most appropriate analyst, even if you have wait longer to schedule the inquiry
- During the inquiry ask direct questions and push the analyst for more information than what has already been published
- Request follow up inquiries for further exploration. This will let the analyst know you are expecting them to do some investigation.
Bottom Line: Both research clients and IT vendors may have the opportunity to influence the research agenda of analysts by using inquiry to investigate topics or markets. When used as a part of the overall interactions plan it will also give you a strong background in the material and build analyst relationships.
Question: Research Clients: Have you requested that an analyst do new research that you need? Vendor AR: Do you do category creation? How successful have you been? Analysts: How much influence do clients really have on your research agenda?
Are you uncertain about how to get benefit from inquiry? SageCircle can help – Our strategists can:
- Review your plans to determine whether you are interacting with analysts at the appropriate times and frequency
- Discuss best practices for scheduling and conducting inquiry
Visit http://www.sagecircle.com/ and click on Advisory to learn more about SageCircle’s on-demand phone advisory services. Or, call 650-274-8309 to speak with a representative about how SageCircle can help you take your AR program to the next level.