Gartner’s Analyst Relations team holds a quarterly conference call for the analyst relations (AR) community. SageCircle occasionally will post about the call, but for this particular call there was so much information that we have a seven-part series to highlight details and provide commentary. See below for links to all seven posts.
The Gartnerians made reminded everyone that the overall theme of Symposium in 2009 is “Balancing Cost, Risk, Growth.” One of the topics they made sure to highlight is cost optimization. While this has all been included in the voluminous marketing by Gartner, it is easy for AR teams to over look the importance of the cost optimization topic for their companies.
Gartner’s recommendations for cost optimization steps given to enterprise IT managers often come at the expense of the vendors. That is because the Gartner analysts will be suggesting that end users – the primary clients of Gartner – postpone new purchases, go with cheaper alternatives, reduce new licenses, cut support fees, demand deeper and maybe unrealistic discounts, and otherwise squeeze the vendors. For some vendors these recommendations might be a direct threat to active and potential sales deals. For other vendors these recommendations might be a great tool to leverage in sales deals because they closely match their position in the marketplace.
While at Symposium, AR teams can gather important intelligence about what cost-cutting advice analysts are recommending to enterprise IT managers. It is likely not possible to get such unfiltered insights from published research and client inquiries conducted by the vendor. These insights can then be passed on to the vendor’s sales team. Armed with this intelligence, sales managers and the marketing staff can work on countering arguments to protect purchasing projects from getting canceled, maintain a focus on solutions the vendor can offer, and manage margin erosion. Of course for some vendors the decision will be not to counter, but to leverage the analyst opinions in potential sales deals.
- In advance of Symposium AR should set up a meeting with sales managers to discuss the potential intelligence that might be useful and how that information should be shared with sales
- AR should comb through the Symposium website to find all references to the cost optimization topic
- AR should conduct client inquiries now with relevant Gartner analysts to identify which presentations will likely have a focus on cost optimization issues because that might not be apparent in the presentation abstracts and key issues on the website
- AR should submit questions at presentations seeking to illicit analyst cost optimization recommendations
- AR can use 1-on-1s to ask analysts what end users have been asking about managing costs and the analysts’ typically recommendations
- During and after returning from Symposium AR should be communicating insights to the sales organization and offer assistance on how to leverage or counter the analyst recommendations
Working with sales is an important way for AR to enhance its status within the company. As a consequence, setting up an AR-Sales partnership program should be a priority for AR. SageCircle has a complete portfolio of advice, downloadable tools, training for AR and sales, and advice on the topic of the AR-Sales partnership. A great first step would be to attend SageCircle’s half-day workshop Launching an AR-Sales Partnership Program, which will be held on October 8th, 2009 in Cupertino, CA. Click here for more information and to register.
Bottom Line: Every day Gartner analysts are advising enterprise IT buyers on issues that will actively impact vendor revenues and profits. AR can obtain valuable information at Symposium about how analysts are advising enterprise IT managers to optimize costs. These insights can provide vendor sales organizations with a competitive edge in sales deals.
Question: AR – Do you have an established relationship with your sales organization that makes passing on intelligence easy?
- Prepping for Gartner Symposium
- Don’t bring your CEO to Symposium and expect to brief the analysts
- Cost optimization at Symposium will be a critical thread to follow for vendors
- Make sure to attend relevant Magic Quadrant presentations at Symposium ITxpo Marketplace Theater
- The CIO Panel is reason enough to attend the AR Forum at Symposium
- Evidence Sidebar – Gartner needs to discuss end user inquiry data points
- Gartner’s updated Vendor Research Escalation Process