Last week (see Budgeting cutting can help AR focus and innovate) we suggested that potential budget cuts may have the effect of causing AR teams to prioritize and innovate in their programs and might not always be as negative as when first viewed. Another way to deal with the possible cuts in funding that follow any economic slowing is to look to alternative solutions. These techniques obviously take precious time and effort that AR teams also don’t have, but may be reasonable choices when money is not available.
Analyst seat holder contracts
Review each analyst contract for usage and determine business group seat holders who need to be eliminated. Then contact the high value and high usage seat holders to see if the business group can pick up some or all of the cost. Be prepared to justify the cost as the business group is also looking to save money. Be careful not to lose appropriate executive access to key analysts.
Work with the analyst firm account managers to understand seat usage and have them help you rattle the tin cup. They have a vested interest in not losing seat revenue.
Consider alternate analyst firms for market research. In some cases specialized boutique firms may be less expensive and provide better service than Gartner or IDC vertical research services. For custom projects consider niche analyst firms that are cheaper and usually over deliver because they want the next contract.
Review the past use of the research and be selective in purchasing only the research that really gets used. Use some caution not to cut work in emerging markets.
Have business groups pay for or contribute to analyst consulting days that benefit their areas. Be sure you are getting full value from the days you purchase.
Consider alternatives to consulting days where appropriate such as using multiple phone-based inquiries.
Review the process for purchasing reprints of analyst reports. Have field sales marketing or another similar group purchase the analyst report reprints used by sales or that are put on the website for marketing purposes.
Work with your account manager for each analyst firm to establish the value you are receiving. While it will not work with Gartner you might find some account managers who will throw in some freebies to boost value to save the contract renewal
In this and future posts, we will discuss ways for AR mangers to cut costs without cutting effectiveness. In addition, we will be discussing ways to avoid the budget axe by proving the value of AR.
- Analyst contracts represent a large part of the AR budget and might be seen as easy ways to cut spending. Avoid across the board decisions that do not look at value
- Consider finding funds from the people who use analyst services
- Look to less expensive boutique firms for specialized information
Bottom Line: When funding is an issue AR teams should look to alternative solutions rather than just cutting programs. High value activities should not simply be sacrificed just because budgets are reduced.
Analyst firm sales executives – Are you working to ensure that every part of your contract is getting fully utilized and delivering visible business value?
Analysts – How does budget cutting that impact your firm’s contract affect your opinion of the vendor?
AR managers – How do you approach budget cutting? How much of your current spending really belongs in someone else’s budget?
Are you concerned that cutting your budget will hurt your relationships with the analysts? SageCircle can help. Our strategists can:
- Identify spending areas that can be safely cut
- Brainstorm innovative – and cheaper – substitutes for expensive activities
- Discuss whether it will be necessary to hold a conversation with an analyst to explain the cuts to his or her firm’s contracts
SageCircle strategists understand your opportunities, challenges and priorities because we have been AR practitioners and executives as well as industry analysts and AR researchers. SageCircle emphasizes the use of phone-based inquiry through its Advisory Service, which is your lifeline when you need timely access to an AR and analyst expert to exploit an opportunity or mitigate a problem. Advisory is available through an annual “all you can eat” contract or blocks of two or five hours “by the drink.” Click here to learn more about our advisory services.
To learn more contact us at info [at] sagecircle dot com or 650-274-8309.
Since 2000, SageCircle has helped analyst relations teams to focus on business value by encouraging innovative thinking that leverages insights and drives revenue.