Research Consumers need account maintenance, part one

To get the maximum value from an automobile a certain amount of ongoing maintenance is required.  This includes the regular oil change as well as larger items done at specified intervals.  A trip to either the dealer or the quick-lube usually results in a multi-point “safety inspection” to highlight any special concerns. 

Research consumers from IT clients or IT vendors should also consider regular account maintenance and checkups in order to maximize the value of their contract and ensure great service.  Consumers should take control of driving value out of analyst contracts because most analyst firms’ internal processes are not optimized for clients or are simply inefficient.  They don’t generally provide the “safety check” and instituting a review process with your analyst firm Account Executive can serve to monitor the value you receive from the firm’s services.

The Account Executive

The Account Executive (AE) is the key to getting the most out of contracts, because they are the client’s representative within the firm and can best provide access to research and to the analysts. However, high turnover rates for AEs and customer service personnel within the firms and a continuous push to bring in new clients may distract these people from servicing existing accounts well.  This is unfortunate as the AE also has a vested interest in delivering high value to the client, both for renewal of the contract and increasing the contract’s overall value.  Clients should explain to the analyst firm AE that a regular process for ensuring continuous high value delivery of service will aid in the renewal of the contract.  This process should also help the client go wider and deeper into the firm’s research, which may provide the AE with an opportunity to increase services or users in the existing contract.

Creating a Checkup list

The quick-lube has a simple checklist of service items.  You should create a similar simple checklist of items that include: account housekeeping such as billing and responses to inquiries; objectives such as areas of research, competitive intelligence, and consulting days; and training needs for new hires or enhanced services.  Next week we will take a look at some possible examples.

The Process

Clients should set an initial meeting to go over this entire process with the analyst firm AE (and support team if appropriate). The best possible scenario is that the client has the firm agree to a process before executing or renewing their contract.  This meeting should also lay the groundwork for setting the initial key objectives that the client hopes to accomplish with the analyst firm in the next 45-60 days. These objectives should be monitored and revised during the Bi-Monthly Check-Up call.

SageCircle Technique:

  • Create a checkup list of items important to you and your use of the analyst firm services
  • Engage the Account Executive and explain the benefit to them in make the process work
  • Establish regular meetings to review the checklist and evaluate success against stated goals

Bottom Line: Clients must take charge of the relationship with the analyst firms, because you cannot count on the firms to look after your interests. You have to manage the AE to get the value you need out of the relationship with the analyst firm. Create and use a checkup process to manage the relationship through the AE and ensure that you receive continuous high value services from your analyst firm contracts.

Questions: Research clients:  Do you currently have a process to achieve high value from your firm contacts?  Analyst firm sales executives – Are you working to ensure that every part of your contract is getting fully utilized and delivering visible business value?

Are you getting full value from your contracts with the analyst firms?  SageCircle can help. Our strategists can:

  • Assist in creating analyst firm contract goals and objectives
  • Help you establish a realistic firm checklist
  • Determine the best ways to negotiate contact value.

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.  

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