At a recent client meeting we got an interesting question: How does a person become an analyst? Is there certification? A test?
At this time the requirements for becoming an analyst consist of ownership of a laptop, cell phone, business card and an opinion. A website and / or blog are nice, but not required. There are no educational requirements, no state certifications, no tests to pass, no professional licenses to acquire, no World of Warcraft guilds to join, or secret handshakes to learn. Direct experience as a vendor or end user is not a requirement either as firms hire people straight out of collage and even outside of the tech industry as well.
Obviously, an individual has to be smart and insightful to be successful as an analyst. But to become an analyst one only has to be hired by a firm or hang out one’s own shingle.
While this statement produces chuckles and rolling of eyes in AR training or meetings with clients, there is both a serious issue and a real opportunity for AR teams in this reality. The issue is the amount and type of education – with deep and broad context as well – that an AR team has to provide new analysts who do not have direct experience in the markets they are covering. The opportunity is that vendors that invest appropriate effort into helping new analysts become well educated about a market reap the benefits of relationship building and therefore analysts that potentially buy into the vendor’s perspective.
- Consider an analyst’s official bio as only the starting point for understanding their experience
- Reach out to new analysts via inquiry to learn more about their background and direct experience
- Suggest – diplomatically – to new analysts with little direct experience that your company would be very happy to provide extensively background briefings on the market as well as your company
Bottom Line: Not all analysts start off knowledgeable and experienced in the markets they cover. AR teams that quickly identify new analysts with minimal industry experience can position their companies well with these analysts by proactively investing in the analyst’s education.
Question: Have you ever been surprised by how little a new analyst knows about your market? Were you further surprised by the analyst’s lack of direct experience?