Posted on March 3, 2009 by SageCircle
IT and telecommunications industry analysts often provide research and recommendations through the classic medium of the spoken word, especially during phone-based inquiry. Unfortunately, there is no clipping service that makes it easy for analyst relations programs to determine what analysts are saying during these inquiries.
SageCircle developed a technique we call a “Spoken Word Audit” (click here for concept definition) that is rather straightforward and does not require significant labor, but does require preparation, dedication, consistency and follow up.
Why should an audit of the analyst’s spoken word be put into place? The audit has a number of purposes:
- Obtain information to help sales reps rebut negative commentary (click here for a related post)
- Gather intelligence on how the analysts are positioning the company
- Measure the effectiveness of the AR program
- Validate the efficacy of the marketing message
- Provide an alternative to using only published research and press quotes for tracking analysts
The primary method for doing this type of audit is talking with analysts and posing a set of specific scenarios in order to gauge how well the analyst understands the vendor’s positioning and messaging based on the analysts’ answers. The scenarios should be very specific and incorporate elements that measure the various aspects of the vendor’s message, strategy, and tactics.
By being very specific you can eliminate the skewed results that would be generated by Continue reading
Filed under: Measurement | Tagged: analyst relations, AR, auditing the spoken word, Spoken Word Audit | 2 Comments »
Posted on December 22, 2008 by SageCircle
We are continuing our commentary on analyst relations (AR) and the implications of the recession (see recession category for all posts). SageCircle suggests you think about how metrics need to change during a recession as you are refocusing and placing emphasis on something different. In this case, it is important to be capturing and reporting metrics that demonstrate AR’s outcomes and ability to impact revenues.
In typical times, most AR programs emphasize operational metrics and simple mention counts (e.g., the number of times analysts mention the vendor in published research and press quotes). This is never the best approach even in the best of times, as we state in moving beyond operational metrics. However, during a recession it can be fatal as it sends the message that AR is a boring tactical function whose headcount and budget can be cut without much downside. Instead, AR needs to shift all metrics reporting to performance metrics that position AR as something more akin to a strategic profit center.
Of course, this shift is a non-trivial effort as it is much easier to capture data for operational metrics than performance metrics. For example, capturing sales impact data requires establishing a working partnership with the Sales organization. Showing success shaping analyst perception requires performing Spoken Word Audits and measuring tonality not just mentions in published research.
Filed under: AR management, recession | Tagged: analyst relations, AR, operational metrics, performance metrics, Spoken Word Audit | 2 Comments »
Posted on December 22, 2008 by SageCircle
n: A technique to determine what opinions analysts are giving verbally to their clients and if those verbal opinions differ from published opinions. Spoken Word Audits are considered a critical activity because advisory analysts like Gartner influence in-progress sales opportunities significantly via phone-based inquiries with enterprise clients, typically IT managers.
Spoken Word Audits consist of talking with analysts and posing a set of specific scenarios in order to gauge how well the analyst understands the vendor’s positioning and messaging based on the analysts’ answers. The scenarios should be very specific and incorporate elements that measure the various aspects of the vendor’s message, strategy and tactics. Spoken Word Audits are conducted periodically with the same analysts and similar scenarios in order to measure how analysts’ opinions are being changed by AR activities.
Filed under: Glossary, Measurement | Tagged: analyst relations, AR, Spoken Word Audit | 2 Comments »
Posted on December 19, 2008 by SageCircle
Question: Is it possible to respond to something an analyst says?
Advice: It is not only possible to respond to the analysts’ spoken word, it is highly recommended. Obviously, it is more difficult to respond to the spoken word than to respond to written research, but in many cases, the stakes are much higher because actual sales hang in the balance.
First, you need to find out what the analyst has actually said. It many cases, this task requires investigation on AR’s part because you are hearing about the analyst’s conversation second- or third-hand. In most cases, AR is hearing about an analyst’s verbal comments from one of their company’s sales representatives – after a sales deal has been impacted negatively. Rather than acting immediately on what the sales rep thinks was said (e.g. sometimes the sales rep gets the analyst’s name or firm wrong, or does not recall all the details of the conversation), AR should coordinate with the vendor sales rep to go back to the prospect and find out exactly what transpired. Investigation need not take a long time or generate too much stress on AR’s part. The investigation phase includes talking with the vendor sales rep, the prospect and the analyst (Online SageContentTM Library (OSL) clients can look up “Responding to Analyst Impacts- Investigation Phase” for more information, Advisory clients can set up an inquiry to get the best practices and advice on applying them).
Once AR staffers have determined as best they can what the analyst actually said, AR can advise the sales rep on how to repair the damage to the deal. Then, AR can proceed – carefully – to Continue reading
Filed under: AR best practices, Measurement, Practitioner Question | Tagged: analyst relations, AR, Spoken Word Audit | 2 Comments »
Posted on December 2, 2008 by SageCircle
As was mentioned in Out-tasking AR Activities, measurement work is a prime candidate for out-tasking. There are various firms that can assist AR programs with measurement program design, gathering, and analyzing data. Some examples include:
Measurement program design – SageCircle has proven intellectual property and templates to help AR teams set up practical and effective measurement programs.
ARchitectTM – ARinsights‘ collaborative application and integrated database makes data collection, querying, and reporting easy. AR practitioners can accomplish in seconds what used to take hours of manual effort. SageCircle strategists are experts in how to leverage ARchitect as part of a measurement program.
Spoken Word Audits – A variety of firms provide services which are similar to SageCircle’s suggested technique for Spoken Word Audits. The Spoken Word Audit uncovers what analysts are saying about your products/services to end-users during Continue reading
Filed under: AR best practices, AR management, Measurement | Tagged: analyst relations, AR, ARchitect, ARinsight, out-task, Spoken Word Audit | Comments Off on How third parties can help with data collection