Research consumers need account maintenance, part two

Last week (see Part One) we spoke of how getting the maximum value from an automobile required a certain amount of ongoing maintenance and how analyst firm contracts were no different.  We suggested that research consumers create a multi-point checkup and review status with the firm’s Account Executive (AE) on a regular basis.  Each client should have a specific checklist that matches their goals and objectives, but there are some common themes that apply to any purchaser of analyst research.

Some checklist items

First you should consider housekeeping items that pertain to the everyday working of the contract. Are there problems with billing? Have you received the complete set of research deliverables? Have inquiry requests been handled appropriately? Have there been any difficulties with access to the firm via phone or web?

Next are there any training needs such as new hires or new functions?  The Account Executive can direct you to a source for continuous retraining or updating on changes at the analyst firm.  The research consumers in your organization should receive training sessions related to: overviews of the services retained, how to do an inquiry, how to use the web site effectively, and how to identify relevant research and analysts.

The most important element of the checkup would be a status check against objectives.  Although it may sound obvious many research clients do not have clearly stated objectives and therefore have no way of measuring success.  Why did you engage the analyst firm?  What are your expectations?  Objectives will vary by organization, but could include: How executive staff wants to use key analysts as a sounding board to review strategy and plans, how your clients are viewing our company versus the competition, which vendors should we consider as we move toward new IT infrastructure planning, how we can improve the overall use of the analyst firm research.

The regular review

This type of review of objectives brings a goal structure to the relationship. It also forces the AE to be proactive in helping you achieve those objectives.  Don’t leave the timing to “I’ll get back to you”, but rather lay out a solid contact timetable.  Scheduling a regular, perhaps bi-monthly, meeting will force a structure that is much more effective for both you and the AE.  Create notes or minutes to the meeting, establish follow up items, and publish the results as part of your analyst contract metrics.

SageCircle Technique:

  • Establish a checklist that is specific to your research needs
  • Establish regular meetings to review the checklist
  • Document your meetings and evaluate success against stated goals

Bottom Line: By creating and using a checkup process to manage the relationship with your analyst firm you can enhance the value of the research and obtain higher value from your contract.  Clients need to be proactive in creating this checkup process.

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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