Access to those with access – One reason why end users buy analyst advisory subscriptions

Social CRM: When Registration Pages Go Extinct is an interesting post by Forrester analyst Jeremiah Owyang (bio, Twitter handle) on his Web Strategy by Jeremiah blog. However it is not the content of the blog overall, but a couple of throwaway lines that are relevant to analyst relations (AR) professionals:

“…I’m working on a report called the “Future of the Social Web” and I interviewed quite a few companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Lotus, RWW, Federated Media, Plaxo, Dell, Cisco EOS, Flock, Meebo, Gigya, Intel, Razorfish, Six Apart, and a bunch more to find out the trends in this industry. There’s probably less than 10 people in the world that have access to all these teams, executives and thought leaders, and I’m taking advantage of it. …”

I don’t think that Jeremiah is bragging about his access, but rather it is his typical – and rare – transparency about how he goes about his job as an analyst. What is interesting is the number of vendors that Jeremiah has access to for his research. Because of this litany of access, Jeremiah’s factoid can be leveraged by AR as part of its executive sponsorship building efforts and spokespeople training.

One of the selling points that end-user advisory analyst firms (e.g., Gartner and Forrester) make to their enterprise IT manager prospects is that their analysts have access to top vendor executives and thought leaders in the industry. Furthermore, not only do they have access, it is part of their job to take the time to leverage that access. Savvy analysts are adept at name dropping when chatting with existing clients (it helps renewals) and when on a prospect call with one of the firm’s sales representatives. IT executives and IT managers value the analysts’ broad access to vendors – and their IT peers.   Analysts can provide an integrated point-of-view that the IT manager client does not have the time to develop themselves through conversations or reading blogs (see the related story Context, advice, reputation and time: How analysts can thrive in the social media age).

Positioning themselves as having superior access, and the ability to verbally apply this access to a client’s situation, has always been a differentiator of the advisory analysts versus other forms of content and consulting.

Related post: Why technology buyers use the IT industry analysts

SageCircle Technique:

  • AR should use this factoid in conversations with executives about why end users still subscribe to advisory analysts even when there is so much free content available
  • AR should inform spokespeople reluctant to commit to a briefing that providing time to the analysts plays to their egos and helps them name drop, which analysts value highly

Do you have an effective executive sponsorship program? Do have any formal executive sponsorship at all? If you would like to learn how to create an executive sponsorship program check out the STRATEGIC ISSUES: Advanced AR seminar as there a whole section on sponsorships. The next Advanced AR seminar is on March 24-25, 2009 in the Silicon Valley. There are also scheduled sessions May 12-13, 2009 in the Silicon Valley and June  16-17, 2009 in Seattle. To learn more the Advanced AR seminar and register please click here.

Bottom Line: Advisory analysts have multiple value propositions to offer the IT manager, the least of which is written research. AR teams need to educate their executive sponsors that written research is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to analyst influence.

Question: AR managers – How often do analysts name drop with you? Do your executives understand how analysts can leverage their access across the industry as a selling point? Do your executives understand that written research is only of the analysts’ services?



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