Gartner cares about IT buyers, not suppliers. That’s part of the DNA of the firm, from its very first decade. Of course, it’s also why suppliers of technology solutions take Gartner so seriously. In most markets, no other analyst firm is more successful in winning the trust of buyers.
• Spokespeople need to be motivated to speak to Gartner because of Gartner’s role as the most potent third-party influencer in B2B tech markets, and not by the fantasy that Gartner analysts will put effort into making sure that briefings are satisfying for spokespeople.
• Commercial relationships with Gartner don’t have much impact on Gartner analysts, but they do create the opportunity better to understand the needs of Gartner analysts and their clients.
• Analysts get influenced by showing relevance. All the data shows that higher frequency and variety in interactions help shift analysts’ perceptions positively.
• We influence analysts by curating content and narratives that are relevant to analysts’ clients (PS generally those clients are on the demand-side, but Gartner TSP analysts serve suppliers, including resellers and partners, while Gartner Invest serves financial managers).
Let me just go through those in a bit more depth.
- They’re just not that into you. I think we’d all like relationship-building with Gartner to be a mutual effort, but what we’ve found is that it never is. That’s true even when the vendor benefits more than Gartner. The reality is that there is a division of labour inside Gartner. Their account managers are there to build a relationship equal to the revenue growth opportunity represented by each customer, and the analysts are there to extract insight to serve their key customers, the IT buyers. Vendors and analyst relations experts have symbiotic relationships with Gartner, where we all benefit by helping analysts to serve the IT buyer. Even if you’re a Gartner client, they don’t care about us on the supply side that much, even about whether whole technologies succeed or fail.
- You can’t buy analysts, but you can buy insight. I don’t think there’s much I can say about buying from Gartner that you don’t already know. A commercial relationship with Gartner doesn’t change what Gartner does with other people. It changes how hard their account manager helps you, and that’s it. Gartner clients extract value from it equal to the time they put into crafting inquiries and reading research. If clients don’t get value from Gartner’s insight or don’t want to use the inquiry service extensively, then there’s much less benefit to a commercial relationship. However, the inquiry is a powerful tool. Imagine if your spokespeople got answers to all the questions they might have: your firm would be better placed to craft its narrative and to deliver value for that analyst’s clients on the demand-side. Working with Gartner is not easy for vendors. Their analysts are not all the most far-sighted: they are too often glued to clients’ current concerns. They are simply the most influential analyst firm. At times, every vendor feels like they are not doing well with them, but we can say that many are shocked to hear they in the top quartile of clients in terms of Gartner analysts’ interest and energy in hearing from them. Many Gartner analysts don’t give much back in briefings, and that makes it hard to assess the quality of individual interactions unless you are in briefings week in, week out, as we are. Your spokespeople show how your solution appears to fit their clients’ future needs, and they might not get much back in that isolated interaction. We AR professionals help with our ability to craft and communicate the quality of that fit in the briefing requests we submit and other interactions.
- It’s all about relevance to problems in their field. Building rapport with analysts benefits from a range of communication ‘textures’. Analysts respond to variations in the media and cadence of communication. As an analyst relations program grows, we look for way use events (including new research, media citations and social media) to provide opportunities to offer comments to analysts and to amplify their most agreement content.
- Media relations won’t adequately inform your analysts. Good PR is in the business of offering commentary, from thought leadership down to gentle nudges. However, a PR programme won’t touch many analysts effectively in the ordinary course of business. Media relations teams don’t offer exclusives to analysts. Most analysts don’t find a lot of value in joining media release lists. The odds are low of your PR content creating a positive impact on analysts. The proof of that is the success of the opposite: Analysts’ engagement is exceptionally high with content that is well-curated and effectively-presented by analyst relations professionals. We have expertise in that niche: to target analysts down from Gartner through the long tail, tweak the subject lines, select sending times to meet their time zones, and foreground the content that fits their clients’ needs. A media relations program won’t do that, even if the issues and ideas are the same.