What would make an analyst firm sales representative really great

During our “Managing Your Gartner and Forrester Expenditure” webinars and inquiries where we were helping clients with contract renewal issues, one comment we frequently heard was about the “great relationship” the contract manager had with a sales rep for an analyst firm. Often the definition of “great” turned out to be a rep that would not harass the client over “violations” of the contract, get the occasional freebie research note, or would bring a visiting analyst around. While these are all nice and useful, this did not strike us as being particular “great.” For both vendor and end-user clients these are more baseline activities that should be expected.

 What we think would truly make a sales representative great is someone who make sure that the client got full business value from their contracts throughout the contract duration. Here are some questions you should consider to determine whether your sales rep might qualify as “great:”

  • Does the sales rep actively work to demonstrate how the client has achieved business value and even hard ROI from the analyst contract?
  • Does the sales rep provide monthly reports on utilization of the services (e.g., the number of inquiries conducted by each advisory seat holder)?
  • Does the sales rep conduct a contract checkup at least quarterly?
  • Does the sales rep actively push clients to use the services purchased?
  • Does the sales rep proactively identify underutilized services and make suggestions to increase the utilization?
  • Does the sales rep proactively identify underutilized services and suggest that the service be given to another person that might use it or suggest swapping the service for a potential more useful service?
  • Does the sales rep work with you about incremental purchases in order to prevent redundant purchases or identify new users for underutilized services?

SageCircle Technique:

  • Vendor and enterprise analyst contract managers need to communicate with their analyst firm account executives the expectations of […]

Saving money on contracts with the Forrester / Gartner duopoly is not simple

icon-budget-cuts-105w.jpgA common client inquiry we receive is in the context of someone negotiating with Gartner. Our clients want to know why in the midst of a terrible economic downturn, when vendors are cutting budgets left and right, that Gartner does not exhibit greater flexibility (i.e., cut prices) when it comes to contract negotiations. The short answer is that due to its end-user advisory market dominance – we estimate that Gartner has ~70% of the end user contracts – it does not have to be flexible. 

However, this issue is a little more complex than slapping a “monopolist” tag on folks over on Top Gallant Road. The reality is that there is an effective duopoly with tacit partner Forrester which gives them both the flexibility to be inflexible with it comes to negotiations. The last time this market saw pricing and packaging that in anyway favored the buyer was the mid-90’s when Giga and later META used significantly lower prices and “all you can eat” research seats to take market share from Gartner and Forrester. Alas, today there are no such firms that can play that role to counter Gartner and Forrester. As a consequence, the Big Two’s CEOs habitually inform Wall Street that they are maintaining their pricing and discounting discipline.

However, it is possible to reduce spending – notice we did not say “save money” – with the Forrester / Gartner duopoly without damaging the ability to access analysts for influencing purposes. However, it is not as simple as trying to wrangle a better discount from the sales rep. Rather it takes:

  • Knowledge about the firms’ business models
  • Knowledge about the firms’ research methodology and analyst culture
  • Knowledge about the true business value of […]

A warm compliment for Merv Adrian and an interesting comment about the Forrester layoffs

Background:  This text originally came in as a comment to Forrester experiences analyst layoffs. Because of the last line, I did not approve the comment leaving it as a private communication to SageCircle. But I did tweet that someone had sent along a very nice compliment for Merv Adrian. That triggered this comment to the original (and not published) comment:  “Saw your tweet. Oops. sorry. meant keep IP confidential. pls reveal details. =)”  So with that permission from the author, we are now publishing his or her comment. However, rather than a comment I decided to elevate it to a full post. BTW, you can follow Merv Adrian on Twitter at www.twitter.com/merv.

photo-merv-adrian-official-forresterIt is truly sad to say good-bye to co-workers especially during a lay off.. I will miss each person who has left. But it is quite a travesty when you lay off someone who is an icon, someone who makes a big difference in everyone’s lives, and someone who has had the company’s best interest at heart at all times. I have struggled to tell this story about my team and the more I wait, the more I regret it. I must tell. I shall share. I now reveal.So I say this with great conviction: “It is unconscionable for Forrester to lay off Mervyn T. Adrian without a proper explanation to our clients and our employees”

Why?

I was there when we first bought Giga. It was a scary time like now. The Internet bubble had burst. We had finished 2 rounds of layoffs. Our business was tanking. Our stock in the toilet.

When we bought Giga, we were nervous. Our first reaction was who are all these gray hairs? We were all much younger. Why’s everyone a VP? We only had principal analysts as the highest title and there were only 2 or 3 of those. Would we get along with these old farts? They seem crotchety and nerdy. How come they all work from home? We lived in a must show up to HQ culture.

But throughout the acquisition, this bubbly gentleman would reach out. He showed us how to work together. He showed us the value of an inquiry to clients. He showed us the how to collaborate across teams. He would reach out and mentor new analysts. He would tell it to us like […]

Gartner statement on Spring Symposium

logo-gartner.gifHi Carter,

Thanks for your note on Friday. Regarding Spring Symposium/ITxpo.

Every year, as a normal course of business planning, we conduct a thorough review of our worldwide event portfolio and make adjustments based on the trends and performance of individual events.  As a result of this review, we have decided to cancel this year’s Spring Symposium/ITxpo in Las Vegas and Barcelona. While a number of factors influenced this decision, the primary reason for the change is the current macro economic environment and its anticipated impact on attendee travel and overall event attendance.
 
Traditionally, Spring Symposium/ITxpo focused on […]

Role of social media in uncovering the Gartner and AMR analyst layoffs

icon-social-media-blue.jpgThe last few days have been interesting regarding the layoffs at Gartner and AMR. Laying off workers (about 1% of analysts for Gartner so far), canceling unprofitable events (such as Spring Symposium), and so on are so typical for any company in this economic environment. In fact, more layoffs or other services cancelations would not be atypical. 

However, what makes this situation more interesting is the role social media played in bringing the layoffs to the attention of stakeholders in the analyst ecosystem. In the past the analyst firms were able to get away with keeping layoffs under the radar screen because any one client, end user or vendor, would only discover “missing” analysts that they personally interacted with on a regular basis. This process of discovering missing analysts would also occur over days or weeks because few clients have frequent contacts with multiple analysts. When layoffs occurred under the radar nobody got the big picture about all the departures and put the pieces together.

Well, that approach ended on Friday. SageCircle became the hub for information about reports of layoffs and then fed that back to the AR community via Twitter, Facebook and our blog. Our raising the issue then got us more data points via Twitter and email. Very quickly we were able to ascertain that the departures were not just the usual turnover in the employee base, but job actions by AMR and Gartner affecting a number of analysts.

Certainly, Twitter and other social media have been used in other breaking news instances, including natural disasters or terrorist related. However, most members in the analyst ecosystem have been laggards when it comes to adopting social media. This might be the first case of Twitter, Facebook and an AR blog being used to […]

Defining “analyst consulting day”

Analyst consulting days are full-day engagements where a vendor spends a significant sum to get the use of one or more analysts. Analyst consulting days are not to be confused with projects by the analyst firms’ consulting groups, which often have little or no analyst contribution. There is a distinction between contracting for “analyst consulting time” and contracting with the consulting side of an analyst firm. “Analyst consulting time” refers to purchasing the time of an individual analyst, usually in one-day units. Contracting with the consulting side of an analyst firm usually refers to research projects with specific deliverables that are designed to meet the intelligence, strategy or marketing needs of a vendor company. Multi-client studies are common deliverables from the consulting side.

Gartner uses the term SAS (strategic advisory service) to describe analyst consulting days. While other firms use […]