Analysts are less vertical than the vendors are

One of our readers emailed me to ask about analysts that cover the building and construction industry.

Our research shows that very few analysts following high-technology industries tend to follow building and construction, mainly because there’s very little verticalised technology for building and construction. For example, that market is perhaps the principal buyer of project management software, but the software has broadly generic functionality, so the analysts don’t need to focus on just one vertical market. There is specialist construction software, including EVision, but these are often easily followed by analysts following horizontal technologies, such as accounting, ERP and project management.

Construction is a huge market, but analyst impact on it is limited to a few areas. To give you an idea, in our AR Intranet profiles of a few thousand analysts, ‘construction’ and ‘building’ are in the profile of fewer than 100 analysts.

The issue is often this: vendors of technology verticalise their sales force and even product managers. As a result, those spokespeople are most comfortable speaking about the vertical applications of the vendors’ technology. But, for example, what happens if the analysts are not vertical? For example, what if your firm has vertical solutions for business intelligence, but if the majority analysts are still looking at business intelligence solutions across all verticals? Then the vendor has a choice: either prioritise the small number of vertical analysts, or learn to speak to the analysts non-vertical concerns.

Astonishingly, many vendors choose the first route, which prevents them from connecting seriously with the majority of analysts, who will hold most of the analyst industry’s influence on their clients. Whether or not an analyst firm has an analyst in a particular vertical, vendors should consider which analyst at the firm is most likely to get passed an inquiry from a client with the problem that the vendor aims to solve. For example, a Mexican bank with a HR BPO challenge might be passed to a banking analyst, and HR analyst, a BPO analyst or a Spanish-speaking analyst who follows quite different technologies. AR managers need to react to that reality, even if that means forcing spokespeople into less comfortable conversations.

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