Having reviewed many analyst lists over the years, it never ceases to amazes us how such a very high percentage of them are wrong. The analyst relations (AR) team’s analyst list(s) are a critical success factor. Having a poorly constructed list means that AR professionals are missing important analysts and wasting time with non-relevant analysts. As a consequence, the AR team will find both its efficiency and effectiveness negatively impacted. In the most dire circumstances, having a poorly constructed list could also negatively impact an AR professional’s ability to keep their job.
This post focuses on which analysts should be included or excluded from a list, not on ranking and tiering (see here for that discussion).
There are many reasons why any particular analyst list can be so wrong (in order of importance, most important first):
- Perception that there is no time to do the work
- Lack of formal analyst list methodology
- Inadequate consideration of corporate, business group and team objectives
- Lack of carefully considered weighted criteria
- Infrequent review of the analyst marketplace for changes in analysts and coverage
- Lack of mechanism for capturing how analyst list decisions were made
- Focusing on large firms while giving boutiques short shrift
- No access to a database of analysts
- Internal political pressure
- External squeaky wheels
Frankly, creating and maintaining an analyst list is not rocket science, nor does it require a lot of effort – if the AR team has a formal methodology and supporting tools. It is more an issue of discipline to do the task and not push it to the bottom of the to-do list because of “lack of time.”
This issue is not limited to vendors, but extends to enterprise technology buyer analyst clients (typically IT managers), investor clients, and the press.
One approach that AR teams can take is to hire a third-party firm or agency to create or maintain their analyst lists. SageCircle does not offer this service, but we can advise AR managers on the players in the marketplace and how to decide which firm or agency is best to hire.
Part of the responsibility for this situation lies with the analysts that do not make the effort to educate the market about their role and coverage. Often the analysts that get the most angry about being excluded from analyst lists make the least effort to ensure AR knows about them. This arrogance, that it is AR’s responsibility to conduct in-depth research on every potential analyst, is unrealistic and counterproductive. While some biographical and coverage information may be on the analyst website it is often spotty, inconsistent, or out of date. It would not require much effort to generate a standard one-page description of role and coverage that could be emailed to AR managers. This would ensure that they are not excluding the analyst from an analyst list where they would be appropriate.
- Include analyst list management in AR job descriptions and use it for annual reviews
- Generate – or use SageCircle’s – a formal methodology and supporting tools for analyst list management
- Document the criteria with weights for list inclusion or exclusion
- Review the list for obvious changes periodically – monthly to quarterly
- Rebuild the list from scratch annually
- Capture why analysts were included or excluded for audit trail purposes
- Analysts need to chill out and don’t get so emotional about”tiering”
- Don’t listen to the squeaks when managing your analystlist
- Who are you? Analysts better make sure they are in the ARdatabases.
Bottom Line: All member of the analyst ecosystem should establish a formal methodology for determining which analysts are relevant for inclusion or exclusion on an analyst list
Question: AR – Do you have a formal methodology for determining which analysts to include or exclude from your list? End user clients – Do you research which analysts you should be talking to or do you rely on the firms’ client service staff to make recommendations? Analysts – Do you take the time to educate – using marketing techniques – vendors and enterprises what your role is in the market and your research coverage?