Managing the AR budget in a recession

icon-budget-cuts-105w.jpgWith all the turmoil in the economic scene, we have been getting inquiries about how to manage the analyst relations (AR) budget in a recession. This post is a roundup of content we have published on the SageCircle blog on the topics of budgets and spending. 

This content is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the full set of intellectual property SageCircle has generated on these topics. There is more written research and SageToolsTM in the Online SageContentTM Library. There is also an AR Team Briefing on managing budgets in a recession. Finally we recommend that Advisory clients, either Blocks of Advisory Hours or Annual Advisory, schedule inquiries to discuss the budget implications of the economic uncertainty.

Purchasing Analyst Services, a six-part series:

  1. Using five rights to avoid a wrong when it comes to purchasing Gartner or Forrester services
  2. Right reasons – Evaluate why you are purchasing analyst services
  3. Right services – Align the services you buy to better match the reason for info or advice
  4. Right firms – Search out alternative services providers that better match your reasons
  5. Right price – Acquire those services that meet your basics requirements
  6. Right usage – Drive usage of the services you buy to ensure maximize business value

SageCircle Technique:

  • AR should take a zero-based budgeting approach to any expense reduction exercise with everything on the table
  • AR should revisit its charter, objectives and priorities to ensure that they are aligned with the company’s strategy and tactics, especially if the company strategy is changing
  • AR should examine every expense for its relevance to AR’s objectives and cut those that should be handled by another budget
  • Annual analyst contracts should be scrutinized to make sure that everything in the current and prior contracts was fully utilized with underused items cut from the new contract. This will produce howls of protest from the firms’ sales representatives but will not impact analysts opinion

Bottom Line: Budget cutting is never painless and is fraught with political challenges. However, taking a systematic approach rather than generic across-the-board cuts can produce significantly better outcomes.


  • Analyst firm sales executives – Are you working to ensure that every part of your contract is getting fully utilized and delivering visible business value?
  • Analysts – How does budget cutting that impact your firm’s contract affect your opinion of the vendor?
  • AR managers – How do you approach budget cutting? How much of your current spending really belongs in someone else’s budget?


  1. This is music to our ears here at MWD. We may not have coverage as broad as that of the gorillas, but in our areas of expertise we’re tough to beat. We move faster and we’re more flexible, too. And because our overheads are *way* lower we can be significantly more cost-effective than those gorillas.

    Now, as long as everyone behaves rationally, we’ll all be fine… oh no, hang on…

  2. There I was, just thinking “I wonder if anyone has written a guide to dealing with analysts in this climate… let’s take a look at Sage Circle.” and lo and behold…

    All good stuff Carter, wise words indeed.

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