AR & recession – Ruthlessly revisiting analyst lists and service level frameworks

Analyst Relations PlanningDuring a recession AR managers are confronted with the need to cut back work either due to headcount constraints or the need to refocus their priorities (e.g., providing more support to their company’s sales force and increasing lead generation via analysts placing the company on purchasing short lists). Two areas of low hanging fruit for saving time that can then be reallocated to other activities are the normally important analyst lists and the level of service provided to each tier of analyst. 

One of the biggest ongoing mistakes that AR professionals make is not using a rigorous methodology for managing their analyst lists. This often leads to too many analysts on their lists and too many analysts designated “Tier 1.” This state of affairs leads to inefficiency and ineffectiveness as AR teams are spread too thin over too many analysts to effectively influence the most relevant analysts. While bad enough in good economic times this mistake can be fatal in recessions when all corporate functions are being scrutinized for efficiency as well as contribution to revenues and corporate/business unit objectives.

Another major problem is that many AR programs have not revised their service level frameworks – or do not have formal service levels in the first place. These plans to allocate effort must be adjusted to reflect recession driven resource constraints. This results in AR teams being too generous in the amount effort they give to lower ranked analysts’ information/briefing requests which in turn siphons away precious AR bandwidth for higher priority activities. A related problem is not having the discipline to follow established service levels.

To correct this situation, AR managers need to ruthlessly revisit their analyst lists, aligning them more tightly with today’s business objectives and cutting back on the number of Tier 1 and Tier 2 analysts in order to focus more intensely on the most relevant analysts. Second, AR programs have to reduce, perhaps significantly, the amount of service they provide to […]

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 […]

Integrating your ARM into your daily activities using an Outlook plug-in

icon-tools.jpgWe often hear AR teams complain about the difficulty getting full team participation in their Analyst Relationship Management (ARM) application.  It seems that some team members don’t appreciate the value or perhaps are not sufficiently trained.  When only part of the data is entered it limits the ability to generate metrics or encourage good collaboration.

Dave was speaking with the CTO of ARInsights the other day during one of the periodic calls we have with them about ways their product can more effectively manage an AR program.   The discussion was about their soon to be released Add-In for Outlook 2007.  Just as with the 2003 version this code helps to integrate their ARchitect product into the normal work day and automate data entry.

If you send an email to one or more analysts, even using blind carbons, the integration allows you to create an interaction and post the data directly into the ARM.  This makes tracking activity such as sending out quarterly earnings, press releases, or simple exchanges very easy.  You can also track your email threads automatically – allowing team members to know about activity with analysts you have in common.

Forward planning is critical for an effective AR program.  Integration between your Outlook calendar and ARchitect enables you to easily create future interactions, add then to your personal Outlook, log them to ARchitect, and display them 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 […]

“Prime the Feedback Loop” VP of Marketing’s excellent advice about Gartner

rocket-for-startups.jpgThis advice is just as useful for large vendors as startups

In Gartner for startups Michael Waclawiczek, VP of Marketing at expressor software, has joined the conversation started by Talend’s Yves de Montcheuil and Gartner’s Andy Bitterer (see Vendor complains in a very public blog post about Gartner’s Data Integration Magic Quadrant)  about startups ability to be included on Magic Quadrants.

Dr. Waclawiczek’s observations and advice are dead on and well worth reading. While directed at startups, his main points are applicable to large vendors as well. A quick summary:

  • For any vendor selling to high-end/large customers, dealing with Gartner is a given. Even if you decide to ignore them, your customers won’t.
  • At some point, you have to realize that the MQ is designed to meet the needs of Gartner customers – big companies looking for information, insights and backside-cover for big-ticket IT purchases.
  • My advice to fellow startups? Give up hope of making a real impact in “your” MQ, for now at least. But don’t give up entirely.
  • Work the Gartner system the best you can. Pull every lever you can reach.
  • Set your sights on […]

AR & Recession: Top Five Tips for Communicating AR’s Value

Analyst Relations PlanningAt all times, but especially during a recession, analyst relations (AR) programs need to effectively communicate to executive sponsors and other internal stakeholders the business value delivered by AR. Unfortunately, too many AR teams are so focused on interacting with the analysts that they do not do a good job telling their stories to their colleagues and the people that hold the purse strings. This can be a fatal mistake as AR is competing for resources – executive bandwidth for briefings, budget and headcount.   Not communicating about business value means being at a disadvantage during budget discussions. 

While there are many aspects to an edu-marketing (educating colleagues using marketing techniques) campaign, here are our Top Five Tips for effectively communicating AR’s business value:

(5) Develop a compelling “elevator pitch” for analyst relations

(4) Gather examples of analyst impact on actual and recent sales deals

(3) Constantly communicate, monitor, and adapt AR’s message

(2) Focus on the business impact of analyst relations

And the #1 tip for communicating AR’s value is… […]