• Recent Posts: Influencer Relations

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    Kea Company acquires UK analyst relations consultancy Active Influence

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    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 […]

AR–Sales Partnership [part 4]: Take baby steps by rolling out a small pilot phase

icon-dollar-euro.jpgAR teams can impact company revenues directly through assisting sales representatives, either to overcome negative – or leverage positive – analyst commentary and research to close deals. However, AR managers often shy away from supporting Sales because they fear it will ‘open the floodgates’ to hundreds or thousands of requests. To prevent this deluge, AR can take a phased approach, rolling out a pilot project as the first step.

AR can gather needed expertise and information working with a pilot group of sales representatives (10-20), either as part of a larger AR-Sales Partnership initiative (if has Sales leadership support) or as a skunkworks project (to build the business case for AR Sales support).

Operational Objectives of a Pilot Sales Support Program

AR team members can leverage the skills and processes they use to assist analysts with information requests as a way to support Sales. To effectively translate these skills, AR must take into account the following operational objectives:

  • Learn what Sales needs
  • Systematically collect data on sales deals impacted by analysts
  • Create a proof of concept
  • Develop credibility with sales leadership
  • Test support processes and services
  • Gather sales representatives’ testimonials for later use in edu-marketing campaigns for broader sales support rollouts

Pilot Group Selection

Choosing the right pilot group is critical for your pilot project success. First AR should identify sales representatives with deals impacted heavily by analysts on a regular basis-e.g. direct sales teams that sell to corporations with $800m+ in revenues. Secondly, the selected sales representatives should be easy to work with-e.g. not present obstacles such as geography or time zone. Ideally, the pilot group would do its own lead management but this is not as critical as the first two selection criteria. Some pilot group examples might include:

  • A collection of individual sales reps
  • Personal relationship with a sales manager and their team
  • A small, self-contained sales team

Bottom Line: AR must approach the pilot group with the same care and attention to detail it approaches an Analyst Summit.  If the pilot is executed effectively, AR can rapidly gain credibility with sales executives and representatives. If executed poorly, AR may lose an important opportunity to prove its value. Once the pilot program is implemented, AR needs to drive participation until pilot participants get into the habit of using AR’s support services.

Question: Can you identify a potential group of sales rep that could participate in a pilot program?

This post is part of a series about building the AR-Sales Partnership Program. In addition to this series, there are a number of posts with tips and tricks about preparing Sales for dealing with analyst influence on deals.

  1. AR-Sales Partnership [part 1]: It’s not about pushing out reports
  2. AR-Sales Partnership [part 2]: Building the bridge to Sales
  3. AR-Sales Partnership [part 3]: Creating the plan
  4. AR-Sales Partnership [part 4]: Rolling out a pilot program for a small group
  5. AR-Sales Partnership [part 5]: Edu-marketing to executives and sales reps
  6. AR-Sales Partnership [part 6]: Action items to launch a project

Are you intrigued by the idea of a strategic and practical AR-Sales Partnership program? SageCircle can help. Our strategists can:

  • Assist AR and sales teams develop an effective and practical AR-Sales Partnership program
  • Conduct targeted and succinct training for sales teams that provides only the critical skills and knowledge needed – not “nice to know” info that is not relevant to busy sales reps
  • Act as a “life line” when on-demand advice is needed on a critical sales deal that is being negatively impacted

SageCircle’s AR-Sales Partnership Plan Builder workshop is designed to help AR develop a detailed plan based on best practices quickly and eliminate wasted effort associated with the “reinvention of the wheel.” The workshop is a structure engagement complete with tools that help AR hit the ground running. 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.

To learn more contact us at info [at] sagecircle dot com or 650-274-8309. 

9 Responses

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  4. Carter, Dave Liddell always told me add value to your constituency. This is a prime example.

  5. Hi John, Thanks for the comment.

    That is a great way phrase what AR should be doing. And if there is ne constituency that AR should be adding value to, it is Sales. Any time that AR can directly tie itself to revenues, it can elevate its strategic status in the company.

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  8. […] we mean working with an individual sales representative or small team in a pilot project (see AR–Sales Partnership [part 4]: Take baby steps by rolling out a small pilot phase). This affords AR the opportunity to work with Sales on a consistent basis to identify […]

  9. […] Comments Take a retail approa… on AR–Sales Partnership [part 4]:…The growth of twitte… on Twitter Directory –…Ideas for your 2010 … on […]

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