Readership of this blog is continuing to rise, we thought we’d take a moment to explain who writes this blog and where we are coming from. In a nutshell, Lighthouse Analyst Relations is a group of former analysts that helps global providers of high technology solutions to track and improve their rapport with influential analysts around the world.
What do analysts influence?
So it’s obvious that we have to answer one primary question: Why do analyst relations?
Lighthouse’s regular surveys of enterprises’ CIOs and telecoms managers show that three quarters use research and advisory services from industry analyst firms. Our 2006 survey, which focussed on businesses with over 1,000 employees, uncovered the following facts about technology buyers.
- 72% use analysts opinions when shortlisting products;
- 56% have cited analyst research when preparing their business case;
- 45% have added in a vendor because of an analyst’s recommendation, while
- 42% have removed a vendor on analyst advice.
The patterns of influence differ between country, industry and with the size of the business: most buyers in finance say that analysts influence a majority of their purchasing, compared to a quarter of those in manufacturing.
However, over surveys of analysts show that most providers of technology-driven solutions either fail to communicate with analysts effectively, or they are wasting most of their analyst relations effort on uninfluential analysts. By tracking their progress and developing their capacities, Lighthouse helps its client to transform analyst relations. By meeting the real needs of analysts who most influence buyers, our clients turn AR from a cost into a profit generator.
Analyst relations is not about attempting to buy your way into the analysts’ favor. Lighthouse helps business to focus on increasing their mindshare and reputation with analysts. Our clients arm their salespeople to close deals and respond to changes in analyst opinion. We identify and rank the most influential analysts worldwide, to help clients to balance their resources between the largest US-based analyst firms and influential firms from other countries.
Advisory analysts are the make or break influencer.
Industry analyst firms give advice to buyers, investors and influencers following every high-technology markets. In high-value segments like services, telecoms and enterprise systems, analysts counsel buyers, produce shortlists and specific technology requirements. CIOs take analysts advice on who to add to the shortlist and, especially in Europe, on who to drop from consideration.
Our research suggests that:
- One-third of enterprise technology buyers have consulted analysts directly each year: by email, phone or face-to-face.
- Two-fifths of enterprises buyers have ongoing subscriptions to analyst firms, according to our research.
- Fully two-thirds of firms are guided by one-off analyst reports found online or given to them by vendors or analyst houses (and, of course, comments by analysts also influence conferences and the media).
Indeed, buyers make over 900,000 phone-based analyst inquiries annually, and have over 350,000 one to one meetings each year, according to research from our friends at SageCircle.
Influencing analysts grows business.
We’ve had clients where 80% or more of their clients came through analysts’ recommendations. Through shaping analysts’ perceptions, helping them to get information that your competitors will not give to analysts and through equipping the whole organization to leverage analysts to the full, your firm can build its reputation and grow its revenue.
Industry analysts are the most potent marketing channel for companies that supply tech solutions to major enterprises. No independent advisor has more influence on buyers. The good news is that most of your competitors can’t or won’t narrow their focus onto the influential analysts, and can’t meet their needs. While your competitors are wasting their time on the ‘easy’ analysts in the media, Lighthouse will help you to influence those short conversations in which an analyst can make or break your company.
Your clients rely on analysts.
Lighthouse’s annual surveys of technology buyers show that industry analysts are the top organizational advisor to buyers, used on a par with buyers’ personal network. Over three quarters of buyers are using analysts when deciding on purchases. Our surveys emphasize that analysts have growing influence on buyers — both through direct interaction and indirectly through research, events and the media.
Around the world, the story is the same: Analysts are making direct recommendations to buyers, helping your prospects to develop shortlists and identify requirements. The internet has massively amplified the impact of analysts’ research, while the profile of analysts in the media continues to rise in the 11 national markets we focus on.
Lighthouse exists to help your firm capitalize on that influence. Uniquely, the Lighthouse team includes former analysts from several countries and several leading analyst firms.