Is it time to incorporate risk analysis into analyst list rankings?

Analyst Relations PlanningEvery AR team needs to manage their analyst list(s) to ensure they are focused on providing the right attention to the right analysts.  SageCircle stands on the “analyst list management” soapbox a lot because it such an important aspect of an effective and efficient AR program.  Creating a ranked list based on impact and then tiering based on available resources is the way to manage your service levels for analysts and ultimately manage your stress. There are many data points that go into an analyst ranking frameworks like visibility, research coverage, reputation, firm, geography and so on. This post is the opener for a discussion on whether risk should be added to the ranking criteria.

In this context, the risk being discussed is the potential damage to sales deals, market perception, internal politics, and such that can be caused by an analyst with a negative opinion. How much effort should you put into negative analysts?

So, should risk be incorporated into the analyst ranking framework as either a primary or secondary criterion? For instance, two analysts that are pretty much equal in all other criteria could see a negative analyst getting ranked higher than a positive analyst because there is more risk associated with the negative analyst and AR wants to invest more time to move that analyst’s opinion. If the two analysts are on the border between Tier 1 and Tier 2 […]

Executives care about operational metrics – a dead idea

Public policy wonk and Fortune Magazine columnist Matt Miller’s new book The Tyranny of Dead Ideas: Letting Go of the Old Ways of Thinking to Unleash a New Prosperity got us at SageCircle thinking “Hmm, are there dead ideas holding back analyst relations?” Of course there are! This is one in an occasional series of posts that will address the dead ideas that impact AR programs and their ability to delivery strategic value to their companies. These posts are meant to be provocative and not necessarily definitive in their new ideas and suggestions.

AR Metrics & MeasurementDead Idea: When reporting to executive sponsors, analyst relations (AR) must focus on operational metrics like activity counts (e.g., the number briefings conducted), budget status, and so on because that is what executives want.

Back Story: When a SageCircle strategist conducts an Analyst Relations Diagnostic™ with an AR team he invariably finds the AR program uses operations metrics for reports to executives. Why? It is not just because AR finds operational metrics easier to gather, though there is part of that, it is primarily because that is how AR has always reported to the sponsor because “that is what the executive wants.” Maybe this is true, but probably not.

Problem: The root of the problem is that many AR programs have simplistic goals, often modeled on PR, to “get the word out” and to “get the analysts to say good things about us right now.” This approach is often the right one for PR because PR is rightfully focused on building awareness.  However for AR, this approach leads to a focus on short-term activities that accomplish short-term goals. It is easy to see how this leads to AR reporting on those short-term activities.

AR should be focused on longer-term strategic goals (e.g., influencing revenues during the sales selection process or “moving the dot” over several years).  While some AR programs understand the need for a strategic direction they end up planning highly tactical items such as […]

It’s in the AR plan – social media should not be considered “special,” but just a regular activity

icon-social-media-blue.jpgWe have written on a number of occasions that social media is not some big special deal, but rather just another tool in the analyst and analyst relations (AR) tool box. For that reason, there should not be some special plan for social plan with all sorts of meetings and review sessions set up. Rather social media should just be incorporated into daily activities and your AR Strategic and Tactical Plan.

You do have an AR plan, don’t you?

Your strategic AR plan, the one with the charter and objectives, lists of all interactions types to be used for each purpose, service levels by analyst tier, calendar and priorities? Ok, unfair question. Many AR teams are so under the gun that a well-done AR plan is often considered a luxury. The main point is that social media (e.g., blogs, Twitter, communities, LinkedIn and so on) should not be considered something big and special – which means they won’t be embraced until the “plan is ready” – but merely just additional forms of interactions to add to the mix.

Obviously, the various types of social media are still new to many individuals and AR teams. As a consequence, there is a learning curve to climb and a process you will need to go through to adopt these new forms of interactions. However, social media are not “special,” just like e-mail is not special. Oh, those folks that have been around for awhile will no doubt remember when there was heated debate whether e-mail was an appropriate form of interaction with analysts.

SageCircle Technique:

  • Educate yourself about social media, including setting up accounts and playing with various types
  • Review which of your analysts are currently using […]

Misunderstanding Magic Quadrants, MarketScopes, and More

Source: Gartner analyst blog by Lydia Leong

Source: Gartner analyst blog by Lydia Leong

For years IT and telecommunications vendors have complained about the misuse of Gartner Magic Quadrants by IT buyers.  It appears that three key issues are routinely surfaced: 

1)     The criteria for placing the dots onto the graphic are not transparent and often the dots appear to be randomly placed by the whim of the analyst

2)     Magic Quadrants are not always updated in a timely manner and out-of-date MQ’s seem to stay around forever

3)     Research consumers often look only at the graphic and miss the supporting research note or do not speak directly with the analysts via client inquiry.  This is especially true when free reprints are made available to non-clients by various vendors

Example Gartner disclaimer about the Magic Quadrant

Example Gartner disclaimer about the Magic Quadrant

Part of the problem is that while Gartner has background information about the MQ on its website (click here to read, free registration required) and a perfunctory paragraph to readers in the fine print in the footnote of MQ PDFs (click on graphic on left to enlarge), it does not have a systematically approach to training its clients about how the MQ is to be used. That is one of the reasons why SageCircle wrote IT managers, it’s never, ever only about the upper right dot when it comes to Forrester Waves or Gartner Magic Quadrants. (There is longer, more detailed version of this content in our  SageNote™ “A Consumer’s Guide to using Gartner’s Magic Quadrant”.)

It was therefore refreshing to see a blog post on the Gartner Blog network by Jim Holincheck entitled Misunderstanding Magic Quadrants, MarketScopes, and More where he talks a bit about criteria transparency and the way these reports should be used.  It makes a good read for both vendor clients and IT buyer clients.  This addresses the number one concern above. Perhaps with more discussion the use of these important tools can be improved.

However, there is still a disconnect with issue number three.  Jim states “More importantly though, […]