At SageCircle we keep our eye on all aspects of the analyst ecosystem. This includes other bloggers with opinions about the analysts. In a very uninformed blog post, Irrelevance doesn’t pay, analystsanalyst said that analysts should “… start telling people how to save money and jobs, NOW.” What a nonsensical statement. Does analystsananlyst not know that helping their end-user clients save money is the bread-and-butter advice for Gartner and Forrester (and META and Giga before they were acquired)? Has analystsanalyst not looked at Gartner’s IT and the Economy theme webpage, which is about gathering all the research on cost optimization? Did analystsanalysts not follow SageCircle’s lead and listen to Gartner’s February 5th earnings call where CEO Gene Hall mentioned
“… In consulting, fourth quarter results were stronger than expected and this was driven by robust demand for our contract optimization and benchmarking services. These unique services directly help our clients lower costs and their outperformance continued the positive trends from the second and third quarters. …”
Obviously, analystsanalyst has never been an effective end-client of Gartner or Forrester, because s/he would have received cost cutting, job saving advice over the last quarter century in good economic times or bad. Obviously, analystsanalyst has never been in a technology vendor’s AR or sales department (like SageCircle’s clients) and had to struggle with fixing a sales situation where an analyst has given a prospect totally unrealistic discount advice.
Ok, enough venting. (The preceding rant represents the personal opinion of the commentator and does not necessarily represent the opinion of SageCircle, its clients or sponsors. Now back to our regulat AR best practices discussion.)
The above rant is quite serious in that every AR manager should be very aware that advisory analysts, especially Gartner, are constantly giving advice to vendor’s prospects on cost cutting. This “cost optimization” advice is especially impactful during an enterprise IT managers’ planning process. It can impact an IT or telecommunications product or service purchase as well as the contract negotiations process. As a consequence, AR needs to equip their sales colleagues with “just enough” information to recognize what is happening and the right best practices to leverage this analyst advice when it is to the sales rep’s advantage or mitigate negative impacts if they occur.
- AR should conduct a written word audit of their relevant analysts to ascertain what advice on cost cutting they are providing enterprise clients. Because this research does not mention vendors it is possible that it slipped by AR’s normal automated alerts
- AR should conduct a spoken word audit to deepen its understanding of analysts’ cost cutting advice and determine the nature of enterprise clients inquiries
- Using the process set up in the AR-Sales Partnership program, AR should send a Silver Bullet that explains how analyst advise enterprise IT managers on cost cutting and the implications for Sales
- (Optional) Using the process set up in the AR-Sales Partnership program, AR should generate a training mini-session to educate the sales force on the issue of analyst cost optimization advice
BTW, you do have formal AR-Sales Partnership Program in place, don’t you? If not, please give SageCircle a call at 503-636-1500 to learn how our portfolio of training, advice, tools and reference material can help you set up an AR-Sales Partnership Program that will help transform AR from a cost center to a profit center.
Bottom Line: In both good economic times and recessions, advisory analysts work with their enterprise IT manager clients on cost cutting measures. Savvy AR managers work with their sales colleagues to turn this advice to the vendor’s advantage in sales deals.
Question: Vendor sales reps – Have you ever had a deal derailed due to unrealistic discount advice given by an analyst to your prospect? AR – Do you have a formal process for helping sales reps struggling with overcoming the negative impact of advisory analyst cost cutting advice?