• 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 […]

What is the business value of inquiry for vendors

icon-phone-headset.jpgSageCircle promotes the use of inquiry and we have offered suggestions on various topics for both Enterprise IT research consumers and Communications and IT vendors.  In general, vendors spend far less time doing inquires than they should.  This both decreases the business value they are receiving from the analyst contract and misses some important soft dollar benefits that are hard to achieve in other ways. Not getting value from the inquiry contract also contributes to the perception of some vendor executives that advisory analysts like Gartner and Forrester are “pay for play,” otherwise why spend the money on the annual contract.   In this post we will look less at the techniques and more at the realized benefits of a program of regular analyst inquiry.

Gaining real information

The stated purpose for inquires is to gain greater depth and understanding of an analyst’s research and opinions.  As always, you should review the currently published materials before scheduling a briefing.  However, inquiry can provide insights into an analysts’ work-in-progress and allow you to discover research papers and presentations that are not on the firm website.  The work in progress can give you market perspective, competitive intelligence, or signal new trends. Inquiry is also a means to have the analyst apply the written research to your specific situation or interpret research written for IT managers for a vendor context.

Providing the analyst with information

An inquiry can, if done carefully, act as an unofficial “briefing” by asking the analyst to do a review of plans, press releases, messages, and so forth.  For them to give advice they will have to understand the content.  This not only gives you the advantage of a credibility review and honest opinion, but ensures that the analyst knows the key message or other content.  The double business value is hard to achieve in other ways.

Working with the analyst in this manner also addresses the top of the Analyst Hierarchy of Needs.  Sage analysts are most receptive to good inquiries that address strategic needs and are most likely to give advice that has the greatest impact.  Use your top analysts and top executives to review company strategy and you will gain business value on many levels.

Influencing the analyst opinion long term

Obviously there is a key business benefit to get positive opinions from an analyst.  However, this can only be done with real content that shows the vendor in a positive light.  Inquires that seek to go into depth on earnings reports, customer case studies, or changes in market are one way to stimulate a conversation that may lead to enhanced vendor credibility.  Remember that shifting an analyst’s opinion is a long slow process that includes a mix of interactions.  Moving the analysts’ opinions via “peeling the onion” on a variety of relevant topics may be part of that process.

Broaden the analysts’ perspective during hot news

When a significant announcement occurs in a market (e.g., a major merger) inquiry can be used to raise the analysts’ awareness about a broader range of issues than what the vendors are briefing the analysts about. Inquiry is especially useful for parties not directly tied to the event. Analysts might not accept a rush briefing from a vendor during the early hours of news, but they will – have to – take a client inquiry request. Just make sure your inquiry is reasonable (see M&A events should send vendor AR teams into overdrive).

Enhancing the analyst relationship

It is always difficult to quantify the business value of the analyst relationship, but our experience shows that the personal relationships between the AR Manager (Executive staff, Researcher, etc) carry a lot of weight when the analyst has doubts.  Those analysts that feel comfortable with the relationship are more likely to hold their opinion pending more information than to shoot off a flash report based on speculation.  They will also be more likely to accept suggestions that could influence their research agenda. 

Careful use of inquiry is one of many techniques that can enhance the relationship between a company and an analyst.


SageCircle Technique:

  • Inquire must be part of the analyst interaction plan
  • Look to use inquiry for high value topics and avoid topics where the research is well published
  • Always keep inquiry as a dialog and include hooks that can lead to further dialog
  • Consider inquires as a key metric

Question:  AR Teams -How do you track your interactions?  Are you using enough inquiry?  What value are you receiving from inquiry? 

Are you getting the most from your analyst interactions?  SageCircle can help

  • Determine appropriate topics for analyst inquiry
  • Guide you on good inquiry techniques

Visit www.sagecircle.com to learn more about SageCircle’s 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.

Don’t forget that SageCircle has an AR Effectiveness Seminar on May 5 & 6 in Cupertiino, CA.  Details on the website at www.sagecircle.com

One Response

  1. […] recommendation is that the money would be better spend on an Advisory Seat so as to get access to client inquiry. An Advisory Seat permits clients to have many, many conversations with lots of analysts so there […]

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