While an AR director, each time I received a call from a competitive intelligence (CI) firm analyst requesting information, I would politely decline. When asked why I had declined, I would respond “Why would I give you information that you will turn around and give to my competitors?” This CI types often tried to persuade me by suggesting that I did not want them to have out-of-date information because that could cause them to inaccurately inform their clients. “Hmm,” I would answer, “wouldn’t it be better for my company if you were giving my competitors and their sales representatives inaccurate information so they would be less effective in stealing sales from us?”
Whether IT managers at corporate/government organizations or product managers at IT vendors, many analyst clients do not maximize the value of client inquiry because they do not approach using inquiries systematically. The best practice below does not require a lot of time, only a few minutes to write up the background e-mail, but can result in a much more valuable interaction because the client and the analyst come to the call more focused.
SageCircle Technique: […]
As part of the ongoing struggle to convince their management about the value of analyst relations, AR professionals often prove the effectiveness of their AR programs by showing written research with mentions about the vendor. This type of metric is often shortsighted because it does not take into account the verbal delivery of research via informal conversations over the phone and at analyst conferences.Because the IT industry analysts that focus on advising IT managers (e.g., AMR, Forrester and Gartner) are on the phone every day with their clients, the payback for a briefing can be nearly instantaneous. […]
How often have you been part of this vignette? The scene: PR manager strolls into the AR manager’s cubicle.
PR manager: “Howdy. Can you get me an analyst quote on this topic for my press release? Oh, and an analyst that can act as a press reference would be great as well.”
AR manager: “Sure, shouldn’t be a problem. When do you need it by?” […]
One of the assets that well-connected analysts have is their many anecdotal data points gleamed from day-to-day conversations. While not statistically valid, doing pattern analysis on these questions can reveal some interesting insights into emerging trends and issues falling off the radar screen. The problem from a research consumer point-of-view is that these data points are locked inside the head of the analysts* and are rarely the focus of a research note. To get to that information, clients need to use inquiry.