• Recent Posts: Influencer Relations

    Saying farewell to David Bradshaw

    Saying farewell to David Bradshaw

    A funeral and celebration for David Bradshaw (shown left in this 2000 Ovum awayday photo, arm raised, with me and other colleagues) is to take place at West Norwood Crematorium, London SE27 at 2.45pm on Tuesday 23rd August and after at the Amba Hotel above London’s Charing Cross Station, on the Strand. David considered that that Ovum in that incarnation was […]

    David Bradshaw 1953-2016

    David Bradshaw 1953-2016

    David Bradshaw, one of the colleagues I worked with during my time as an analyst at Ovum, died on August 11. He led Cloud research in Europe for IDC, whose statement is below. David played a unique role at Ovum, bridging its telecoms and IT groups in the late 1990s by looking at computer-telecoms integration areas like CRM, which I […]

    AR managers are failing with consulting firms

    AR managers are failing with consulting firms

    Reflecting the paradoxical position of many clients, Kea’s Analyst Attitude Survey also goes to a wide range of consultants who play similar roles to analysts and are often employed by analyst firms. The responses to the current survey show that consultants are generally much less happy with their relationships with AR teams than analysts are. The paradox is that as […]

    Fersht: some IIAR award-winners “just tick the boxes”

    Fersht: some IIAR award-winners “just tick the boxes”

    Some of the firms mentioned by the IIAR’s analyst team awards fall short of excellence. That’s the verdict of several hundred analysts who took our Analyst Attitude Survey, and of the CEO of one of the top analyst firms. Phil Fersht left the comment below on our criticism of the IIAR awards. We thought we’d reprint it together with the […]

    Do the IIAR awards simply reward large firms?

    Do the IIAR awards simply reward large firms?

    The 2016 Institute for Industry Analyst Relations’ awards seem to be rewarding firms for the scale of their analyst relations, rather than their quality. In a blog post on July 6th, the IIAR awarded IBM the status of best analyst relations teams, with Cisco, Dell and HP as runners-up. Together with Microsoft, which outsources much of its analyst relations to […]

Encouraging your Sales Force to ask Questions

icon-dollar-euro.jpgne of the strategic initiatives AR should be focusing on is “Arm Sales – Close Business” which means creating training and tools for the sales organization to deal with analyst impact on sales opportunities. While this is an excellent idea, there is the not-so-small matter of getting Sale’s to cooperate.

Most sales organizations are manically focused on closing business. A common complaint from Sales is that they are bombarded with “junk” from other parts of the company which wastes time and interferes with their single-minded pursuit of making quota. 

One of the very easy tasks that sales representatives can do is ask their prospects and customers about their use of the analysts. This can be done during their initial qualification activities or at any other point in the sales cycle. Why ask questions?  Doing so can:

  • Prevent sales cycles from being derailed
  • Identify situations where a potential lever is available that could accelerate a sales cycle

IT vendor sales representatives are often blind-sided by specific analyst comments late in a sales cycle, sometimes resulting in the derailment of a promising opportunity. By directing sales reps to ask prospects questions about analysts early and throughout the sales cycle, and then taking action before a problem arises, these blind-sides can be avoided.

Alternatively, if a sales representative discovers that a prospect delaying a decision, but is a client of an analyst that is positive about the vendor, then the account rep can encourage the prospect to either read a piece of research or call the analyst to discuss the issue.  This may move the process along for a faster close.

SageCircle Technique:

  • AR programs have to be very careful how they ask for Sale’s cooperation, always couching the idea with an emphasis on how this will help Sales close business
  • AR teams have to make asking about analysts as easy and convenient as possible if they expect Sales to incorporate this idea into their regular routine

Bottom Line: It is critically important for sales representatives to ask prospects and customers about their use of the analysts, especially in purchasing decisions. AR should work with sales management to determine the best approach for building sales rep awareness of this critical issue and how to make it easy and convenient for sales reps to access sample questions.

Question: AR – Have you established a relationship with your sales organization? If  no, why not?

Get Up to Speed Quickly by Eliminating the “Re-invention of the Wheel”

To help AR executives and teams decide when and how to support sales, SageCircle has a public half-day workshop focused on how to incorporate an AR-Sales Partnership Program into the AR portfolio.

Key Issues to be addressed in this workshop include: 

  • What are the characteristics of a great AR-Sales partnership plan that provides the necessary detail without taking too much work?
  • How can AR sell the AR-Sales program to its management and Sales management?
  • Should AR work with the existing sales infrastructure or develop its own capabilities?
  • What is the right balance of information and tools that will make sales reps more effective without taking up too much of their time?
  • What are the risks that AR should be aware of when it comes to launching an AR-Sales Partnership?

The next session of the Launching an AR Sales Partnership workshop is on Tuesday, June 16th, from 8 am to 12 pm PT in the Silicon Valley. The cost is only $495. Click here to learn more about the workshop, including the agenda, and to register.

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