• Recent Posts: Influencer Relations

    IDC could flourish after IDG’s sale to Chinese consortium

    IDC could flourish after IDG’s sale to Chinese consortium

    As we predicted in our April Fool’s Joke last year, IDC has been sold as part of a Chinese-led purchase that leaves CEO Kirk Campbell at the helm. IDG Capital will take control of the IDG Ventures; China Oceanwide will control IDG and most of IDC, and an independent trustee will take control of IDC’s High Performance Computing (HPC) practice, […]

    Kea Company acquires UK analyst relations consultancy Active Influence

    Kea Company acquires UK analyst relations consultancy Active Influence

    Merger consolidates Kea Company’s position as world’s largest analyst relations consultancy January 19, 2017. London — Kea Company, the world’s largest analyst relations consultancy, today completed its acquisition of Active Influence. Founded in 2010, Active Influence has helped many of the world’s largest technology companies to gain measurable business benefit from their relationships with analyst firms. Founder Richard East has become […]

    Top ten global analysts: 2016’s outstanding research

    Top ten global analysts: 2016’s outstanding research

    2016 produced some outstanding analyst research. We’ve picked the best articles from each of the world’s ten leading analysts firms, as ranked in the 2017 Analyst Firm Awards. Together they show how diverse analysts’ most compelling content can be, including deep quantitative research into mature markets, like cellphones; pointed competitive insight into corporate changes, like Dell’s integration of EMC, and […]

    IDC overtakes HfS in 2017 global Analyst Firm Awards

    IDC overtakes HfS in 2017 global Analyst Firm Awards

    Gartner and Forrester’s leadership is no surprise, but this year IDC has won back third place in our annual Analyst Firm Awards, pushing HfS Research into a still-impressive fourth place. PAC and Ovum have also risen substantially this year, rounding out the top six. In last year’s awards, we saw that firms that could create business leads for their clients […]

    Analyst Value Survey shows deeper frustration with industry analysts

    Analyst Value Survey shows deeper frustration with industry analysts

    I’ve been in New York this week discussing the Analyst Value Survey with both Kea clients and industry analysts. The 2017 report will be available early in January, but the responses show that many users of analysts’ services are reaching out to more firms than before, and are gathering quite uneven value. Firstly, the good news is that many users […]

Using the analysts to educate IT buyers beyond praising your products [Vendor Sales]

icon-dollar-euro.jpgMore often than not, communications or IT vendor sales reps never think about using a tech industry analyst to advance a sales deal. On those infrequent occasions when a sales rep does thinks about leveraging analyst commentary, it is almost always in the context of e-mailing an analyst research note that says wonderful things about the product the rep is selling. This is very much like restaurant owners who tape positive newspaper reviews to their windows. However, a product centric approach misses the chance to use the analysts to educate IT managers about a broad range of issues that can generate future sales opportunities.

Often tech buyers get stuck on what direction to go in for a particular situation, which frequently leads to the buyer doing nothing. Sometimes it is a case of “analysis paralysis” about a strategy or tactic. In other cases, the buyer cannot convince management to approve a plan that includes purchasing products or services. In either case, a formal project to buy something is never launched.

Vendor sales reps can help customers or prospects make important strategic or tactical decisions or validate business cases by using the analysts. This technique leverages the role of the analyst as an advisor on strategy and business decisions, not just product choices. In two surveys of technology buyers that SageCircle conducted we asked the question “In the past year, I have cited published analyst research in my business case for a technology purchase decision.” In both surveys, respondents said “yes” about 60% of the time. Here are two examples of vendors who used analysts to help IT managers make decisions that later led to a sales opportunity:

Example 1:  The IT manager was having trouble coming up with a decision framework that justified an upgrade the company’s server farm. This problem translated into the IT manager having trouble establishing an approach to persuade management in investing millions in a potential upgrade.

Solution 1:  A server vendor’s AR and Sales teams worked together to set up a phone inquiry between the IT manager and a respected advisory analyst. At no point during the phone inquiry was the vendor or any other vendors’ products discussed. Rather, the entire discussion was around how to make a server refresh decision and how to make a business case for the decision. Very quickly the IT manager had an “ah ha” moment that permitted him to quickly make a decision and convince management to invest the capital. The vendor that arranged the analyst phone inquiry was invited to bid on the project and later won the deal.

Example 2: An IT manager was having trouble deciding which approach to use for the next round of hardware purchases for the data center. Should she use the traditional box rack mounted or the then leading-edge blade configurations? She was clearly stuck in analysis paralysis.

Solution 2: A systems vendor’s AR and Sales teams collaborated on using a well known market research analyst to educate the IT manager about the trends in this hardware market. During the course of a phone call, the market researcher helped clarify for the IT manager the various options and the pros and cons for each path. As with Solution 1, the IT manager had an “ah ha” moment that permitted her to get off the fence make a decision. The vendor that arranged the analyst phone inquiry was invited to bid on the project and later won the deal.

SageCircle Technique:

  • AR teams should raise their sales forces’ awareness of the roles of analysts and how to the analysts can be leveraged to help IT managers make a business case
  • AR teams should investigate which analysts would be appropriate to use in situations where IT managers need help with tactical or strategic directions or in making business cases
  • Processes need to be established that permit the sales reps to request analyst assistance, where appropriate, to move a deal forward
  • AR should capture the economic impact of its assistance to prove the return on investment (ROI) of AR to improve its standing as a strategic and tactical function within the vendor

Bottom Line: While the most visible impacts of industry analysts on vendor sales deals are mostly negative, the analysts can also play a very positive role in helping vendors advance sales deals. While analysts can be leveraged to support sales in one-off situations, it is better to do this within the context of a formal AR-Sales Partnership program.

Question: Analysts – Under what circumstances are you comfortable participating in a vendor-arranged conversation with an IT buyer on a non-product related issue?

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.

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