• Recent Posts: Influencer Relations

    Your pitch to analysts isn’t just about your solution

    Your pitch to analysts isn’t just about your solution

    In pitches to analysts, there are many conversations going on. At one level, there’s a communication about the business solution. There’s also a conversation about the wider market and about the personal credibility of the participants. Sometimes the slides used in pitches are just excuses for the interaction. The slides are used to assess both the market vision of the firm and the […]

    KPMG pushes out 451 in 2017 Strategy Analyst Firm Awards

    KPMG pushes out 451 in 2017 Strategy Analyst Firm Awards

    For the strategic heavy lifting, executives are reaching out to a very wide range of advisors. Gartner heads up the list when we look at the Analyst Value Survey data to find the analyst firms most valued by people who work on strategy. It creates almost 19% of all the value being produced by analyst services around strategy (If CEB, […]

    Save the date for our Analyst Firm Awards

    Save the date for our Analyst Firm Awards

    This year we’re publishing our analyst firm awards more or less monthly. Please put the dates in your diary. If you’re a subscriber to the Analyst Firm Awards, you can also access a webinar for each of these events, held on the final Thursday or each month. January – Global January 18 – Outstanding reports February 17 – Strategy March 15 – Internet […]

    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 […]

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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