The AR Coffee Talk on “Proving to Executives Analyst Relevance” was one of SageCircle’s most attended events with many questions and comments coming in from participants. This illustrates that the perception – or wishful thinking – among some vendor executives that industry analysts are no longer relevant in the age of the Internet and social media is a major issue for analyst relations (AR) teams.
During the AR Coffee Talk, SageCircle provided a number of ways that AR could educate their executives and stakeholders about why the facts do not support the perception that analyst influence is waning. Some suggestions focused on explaining what the advisory analysts really sell (hint: it’s not written research), others on the financial performance of the two public companies (FORR and IT) and others on how the largest advisory analyst firms are adopting social media. The most important proof point however is how the advisory analyst influences vendors’ revenues.
There are four ways that AR can collect data about the impact on sales:
- Ask the analysts – easy to do and can provide useful anecdotes, but not hard data
- Ask the customers – surveying the customers and prospects provides good data, but is expensive to do and can only be done infrequently
- Wait for sales representatives to call AR – these are real world sales deals with great details, but the calls come infrequently
- Train sales to ask customers and prospects – systematically asking customers about how they are using analysts on sales deals yields fabulous data and identifies opportunities for AR to assist sales to close business
The best option is “train sales,” but that really requires an AR-Sales Partnership Program to be in place, in part to manage the risk associated with AR working with the much larger sales organization.
- Make it a top priority to gather sales impact data
- Create a simple plan with specific goals and milestones
- Collect details about deals when a sales colleague calls asking for assistance
- Conduct inquiries with top analysts who advise enterprise end users about how many client inquiries the analyst does on topics like vendor short lists and vendor strengths/weaknesses
- Explore launching an AR-Sales Partnership Program that will yield high quality data
Bottom Line: Regardless of which types of data that AR can collect, impact on sales stories and hard data are the most potent proof points for demonstrating analyst relevance.
Question: AR – When a sales colleague calls asking for assistance do you systematically collect information about the size and nature of the deal and which analysts are involved?
Get Up to Speed Quickly on AR-Sales Partnership issues 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 market 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 the AR-Sales Partnership: A SageCircle Workshop is:
- When: Thursday, October 8th, from 8 am to 12 pm US Pacific Time
- Where: Cupertino, CA in the Silicon Valley
- How: Click here for more information and to register
- Price: $495 for this information- and tools-packed half-day learning event
If you have any questions about the workshop or wish to arrange a private session for your company, please call SageCircle at 503-636-1500 or send an email to “info [at] sagecircle.com”