Leslie Ament: What analysts want from AR

Leslie Ament, Chief Research Officer and Principal Analyst at Hypatia Research, has been a frequent participant in the Analyst Attitude Survey over the years. it sparked her to write this comment, and to grant me permission to reprint it.

We were recently invited to take a survey–and it wasn’t one of ours!  Our input was solicited by a third party who said they were working on behalf of multiple technology vendors we cover who wanted to know:

  • How well we thought their analyst relations professionals performed in keeping us informed?
  • Does Hypatia Research Group recommend software vendors and consultancies to our end-user clients?
  • What could vendor-side analyst relations teams do to improve their interactions with us? 

Since we are typically VERY candid during briefings and interactions, we were surprised by this feedback. So, in the interest of transparency, here are our observations and suggestions:

  • Most analyst relations professionals on the vendor-side do a good job of keeping us informed, arranging briefings for product updates and demos (we encourage software demonstrations).  
  • Proactive engagement never hurts. Check our research agenda once per quarter and if you see a study aligned with your offerings reach out and schedule an update. Our receipt of current information prior to publication will serve to enhance your position in our research. 
  • Expect all interactions with us to be a give and take. If you are able to send us a briefing presentation a day in advance, our interactions will be much richer than if we are seeing it for the first time during our call.  
  • We brief 50+ companies per quarter and have the ability to aggregate this information and combine it with the end user research we do to create insight.  As a result, we are able to advise on mergers and acquisitions, alliances, partnerships, features, functionality, product road-maps, geographic launches, positioning, demand generation, best practices and benchmarks, market sizing and thought leadership decisions when engaged. Case in point: After our unique (HRG was the first industry analyst firm to cover enterprise level VOC software technologies) study on Operationalizing Voice of the Customer: Galaxy Vendor Evaluations launched in late 2010, four of the vendors we evaluated were acquired within one year. 
  • Value-add and strategic analyst relations professionals are worth their weight in gold.  We advise software vendors against using public relations agencies or media professionals to handle both media and analyst relations. Why? Your organization will benefit more from what I and my team might provide by interacting with experienced analyst relations professionals. Value-add AR pros know how to solicit and leverage our information for your organization’s benefit in ways most media professionals have never been trained to do. This is especially true for an outside agency who is not fully integrated within your company.   
  • We regularly assist end-users with request for information (RFI), quote (RFQ) and business requirements gathering processes for vendor selection.  We also recommend vendors based on our clients’ requirements. This is why we always ask to view software demonstrations–our reputation is on the line.  
Duncan Chapple

Duncan Chapple is the preeminent consultant on optimising international analyst relations and the value created by analyst firms. As the head of CCgroup's analyst relations team, Chapple directs programs that increase the value of relationships with industry analysts and sourcing advisors.