• Recent Posts: Influencer Relations

    Your pitch to analysts isn’t just about your solution

    Your pitch to analysts isn’t just about your solution

    In pitches to analysts, there are many conversations going on. At one level, there’s a communication about the business solution. There’s also a conversation about the wider market and about the personal credibility of the participants. Sometimes the slides used in pitches are just excuses for the interaction. The slides are used to assess both the market vision of the firm and the […]

    KPMG pushes out 451 in 2017 Strategy Analyst Firm Awards

    KPMG pushes out 451 in 2017 Strategy Analyst Firm Awards

    For the strategic heavy lifting, executives are reaching out to a very wide range of advisors. Gartner heads up the list when we look at the Analyst Value Survey data to find the analyst firms most valued by people who work on strategy. It creates almost 19% of all the value being produced by analyst services around strategy (If CEB, […]

    Save the date for our Analyst Firm Awards

    Save the date for our Analyst Firm Awards

    This year we’re publishing our analyst firm awards more or less monthly. Please put the dates in your diary. If you’re a subscriber to the Analyst Firm Awards, you can also access a webinar for each of these events, held on the final Thursday or each month. January – Global January 18 – Outstanding reports February 17 – Strategy March 15 – Internet […]

    IDC could flourish after IDG’s sale to Chinese consortium

    IDC could flourish after IDG’s sale to Chinese consortium

    As we predicted in our April Fool’s Joke last year, IDC has been sold as part of a Chinese-led purchase that leaves CEO Kirk Campbell at the helm. IDG Capital will take control of the IDG Ventures; China Oceanwide will control IDG and most of IDC, and an independent trustee will take control of IDC’s High Performance Computing (HPC) practice, […]

    Kea Company acquires UK analyst relations consultancy Active Influence

    Kea Company acquires UK analyst relations consultancy Active Influence

    Merger consolidates Kea Company’s position as world’s largest analyst relations consultancy January 19, 2017. London — Kea Company, the world’s largest analyst relations consultancy, today completed its acquisition of Active Influence. Founded in 2010, Active Influence has helped many of the world’s largest technology companies to gain measurable business benefit from their relationships with analyst firms. Founder Richard East has become […]

Understanding the Analysts: Unreasonable Demands?

Recently, a global software client e-mailed us that a prominent industry analyst was demanding certain proof points for a major change in sales strategy that the vendor had just announced. The information demanded was something that this particular software company has a policy of not releasing. Our client was very frustrated and felt that the analyst was being dogmatic and unreasonable. 

Frankly, we would have asked for similar proof points if we were in the analyst’s position. The vendor shouldn’t take the demand personally, as even a moderately skeptical analyst should say “ok, nice idea but how are you going to do it?” A good analyst will always peel back the onion to see if there is any credibility to the plan. Our criticism of the analyst lies in not searching for or accepting alternative proof points to support the vendor’s claims.

Talk is cheap — many vendors announce grandiose schemes with no plans to invest in the necessary resources to execute those plans. Another common mistake vendors make is grossly underestimating the work required to implement a particular plan. Sometimes they frankly don’t understand what they need to do in order to be successful. Yet another issue is they’re ignoring the internal political and cultural realities of making a major change.

There are multitudes of real-life examples we could list where vendors wanted analysts to accept something at face value. One of the values that analysts provide to IT buyers is risk management.  In order to provide good advice about what to buy or how to implement it an analyst must have sufficient and believable data about the chances of success. Analysts would have egg on their faces if they publish a report merely based on what the vendor said without demanding substantial proof points. It only takes a few experiences of publishing research based on vendor’s statements – and then having it blow up in your face – for an analyst to become cynical, skeptical, quizzical, distrustful, suspicious, hostile, an inquisitor, and any other descriptors you care to add.

However all is not lost. Use this type of a situation as an opportunity to work with the analyst to determine what they really require or what could be supplied as an alternative set of proof points.

SageCircle Technique:

  • Arrange a conference call between the analyst and the most senior executive for the business unit making the announcement
  • Even though exact numbers cannot be given, the executive should be prepared to talk ranges or other surrogates
  • Talk about the complexity of making such a change
  • Demonstrate that you know the extent of the challenges
  • Be prepared to talk about the tactical plan and calendar milestones. The more detail the better (e.g., each sales rep is going to receive 17.5 hours of classroom instruction in three blocks over a five-week period with 10 units of online learning tracked by this training software
  • Be candid about uncertainties
  • If there are issues that have not been decided, enlist the analyst in providing insight into tackling these problems
  • Arrange follow-up calls at each of the milestones to demonstrate execution and build credibility

Bottom Line: Vendors need to negotiate with analysts on the type of proof points needed to support a vendor announcement. Sometimes it will be necessary to take a deep breath and be calm whenever an analyst makes what appears to be an outrageous demand. This is a negotiation; always push the discussion further by exploring different proof points and other ways to meet the analyst’s needs.

Question: AR – What has been your successful or unsuccessful techniques for dealing with analyst demands for proof points you cannot provide?

 

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