How AR used analyst inquiry to help an end user make a decision leading to a $1.2m win (Case Study)

icon-dollar-euro.jpgThis post is one in a series of case studies on analyst relations teams have worked with their sales colleagues to grow the company’s top line. Readers that have AR-sales stories they would like to turn into case studies are encouraged to contact SageCircle. We will do the work of creating a case study at no charge. 

About the Company: The IT vendor in this case is a multi-billion dollar server and storage hardware company that sells to large enterprises with a direct sales force. The analyst relations (AR) team consists of one director and three AR managers. There is a formal but early stage AR-Sales Partnership program in place.

Situation: This project was kicked off by an email from a sale representative to the analyst relations (AR) lead on the AR-Sales Partnership program requesting assistance. The email read in part:

“…IT shops in large healthcare organizations are very project driven.  They get funding for special projects, approved by the Board of Directors, which are unpredictable at best.  …

Recently, we were approached by <prospect> to provide a hardware quote for about $1.2Million of servers and storage.  They have been tasked to present the platform solution to the <prospect> Board of Directors and one of the issues they need to address is server and storage life cycle.  In support of their ROI analysis they needed an unbiased 3rd party statement on server refresh.  That is where this request is coming from. …”

Action:  The AR manager worked with the sales representative to arrange an inquiry with an advisory analyst to discuss server refresh decision methodology and how to create a business case to present to the Board of Directors. The steps that AR took were: […]

Rapid Response by AR saves a $35 Million Deal (Case Study)

icon-dollar-euro.jpgThis post is one in a series of case studies on analyst relations teams have worked with their sales colleagues to grow the company’s top line. Readers that have AR-sales stories they would like to turn into case studies are encouraged to contact SageCircle. We will do the work of creating a case study at no charge.

About the Company: The IT vendor in this case study is a $6 billion per year IT professional services and outsourcing company that sells to governments and large corporations. The AR department consisted of one AR director and one AR coordinator.

Situation:  AR was notified by Sales that a bid for a $35m services opportunity never materialized because a major analyst firm had not included the company on the short list. This was puzzling because the AR department had recently developed a good relationship with the analyst in charge of research for this market.

Action:  The AR director did an inquiry with SageCircle to develop an appropriate course of action. After the inquiry, the AR director contacted her colleague in Sales to obtain more information. The underlying cause of the short list exclusion was that the prospect had outsourced several components of the vendor selection process to a major analyst firm’s consulting group. The analyst firm consultant’s job was to create the request for proposal (RFP), set up the vendor short list in collaboration with the client, send the RFP to the selected vendors, and then evaluate the responses. The client was to make the final vendor selection decision based on the work the consultant had done.

The key item found during the investigation was that the analyst firm employee was a consultant not an analyst. A follow-up inquiry with a SageCircle strategist provided the AR director with the critical insight that analyst firm consultants do not always work with the analysts, even though a close relationship between analyst and consultant is often implied when analyst firms sell consulting engagements. Quite often, consultants refer to written research and do not actually talk with analysts, even from their own firm. Exacerbating this situation, consultants often […]

Cross-link your social media identify by adding your Twitter handle to LinkedIn profile

icon-social-media-blue.jpgIt’s important to raise the visibility of your Twitter handle to increase your followers, which could then give you insights about who you should follow. One of the simplest ways to raise your Twitter visibility is to place links to your handle in your LinkedIn profile. This is rarely done, but quite easy to do. 

SageCircle Technique:

  • On www.LinkedIn.com click on Profile then Edit My Profile then Additional Information to edit your websites
  • Select which of the three website slots to use
  • From the first drop down menu select “Other”
  • In the description box, type in […]

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 […]