Well, it’s that time of the year when thoughts turn to holiday parties, mistletoe and… the annual deluge of analyst predictions for the coming year. For example, the rollout of Gartner Predicts research notes started in November with 44 published so far. Another example is IDC starting its series of industry Top 10 Predictions webinars and reports. There are many more examples from single practitioners to major firms.
Many in the vendor community dismiss the annual flurry of predictions because they perceive them to be fluff with extremely short shelf lives. It is also easy to miss these annual notes if you have alerts keyed to your company name because companies are not often mentioned in the notes. However, your sales people can be blindsided by one of these notes if the analyst denigrates your market, even if your company is not directly mentioned. Don’t be surprised if the content of a prediction appears to be a little wild-eyed and out of character for your favorite sober-sided analyst – they are encouraged to write in an edgy style in order to be entertaining and perhaps get press attention.
Don’t forget to check the firms’ press releases as well, because they can differ from the original prediction. For example, a Gartner prediction in 2004 said that by 2007 three of the top 10 PC companies would exit the market. The original prediction did not cause much of stir. However, the press release that came out a couple of weeks later said that HP was a likely candidate to get out of the PC market and that caused a real kerfuffle inside HP. Why? Prospects with multi-million dollar PC proposals were literally waving the prediction in the face of HP sales reps and asking why they should sign the contract.
SageCircle Technique for AR professionals:
- Search your most relevant analysts’ publishing, events, and press releases for end-of-year predictions
- Carefully review any predictions for possible impact on sales situations – put yourself in the mindset of a nervous IT buyer with a highly-tuned FUD radar
- Schedule inquiries with analysts whose predictions you feel could impact sales to gather insights on how the end users have been reacting to the prediction
- Where relevant, alert your sales organization about the predictions and how to leverage positive ones or mitigate negative ones
Bottom Line: AR professionals should be careful not to ignore end-of-year analyst predictions just because they seem like filler or fluff. Be prepared to take seriously any prediction from a relevant analyst that could influence an ongoing sales deal.
Question: AR – Have you ever been blindsided by an analyst year-end prediction?