Understanding cross-cultural barriers to analyst relations

As firms develop and distribute their products worldwide, their need to communicate with CIO’s and regional/local analysts becomes an increasingly more complex and challenging task. There are several ‘dimensions’ to the difference, which this diagram, from Global Integration, indicates. Lighthouse’s experience that the most effective AR outreach adapts materially to these facets of local cultures and differering expectations [1].

However, not every organisation acts in the knowledge that the greater cultural and geographical diversity of IT buyers and influencers results in interactions between people with very different cultural backgrounds.

Indeed, cross-cultural considerations are not universal, particularly in the United States. For example, a US friend of ours has written that for AR professionals “Region by region, there are no material differences in what you are trying to say or how you should go about doing it.” Our friend reflects the very best of American values in thinking that it could be unfair or condecending to act in different ways with different people. However, few business people appreciate how deeply their behaviour is already adapted to their national business culture.

Lighthouse is holding a conference call in January to discuss and highlight some of these cross- cultural barriers and help IT sellers communicate better with analysts to improve product visibility and sales.

The call will take place on Tuesday, January 16, 2007 [at 8 am Pacific, 11 am Eastern, 4 pm UK and 5 pm European time]. To register for this free call (normal call charges apply) email analysts at lighthousear dot com.

Space is limited to the first 30 registrations, so contact us now.

[1] For example, some of the most important difference between the US and Europe for AR managers are these:

  • Time-orientation. This is something I’ve discussed before in passing. In the United States, the time orientation of most managers is shorter than in most other countries: generally, sthey want things done more quickly than do businesspeople in other regions. Most Europeans tend to take more time to make a decision, and are much less likely to use instinct or rules of thumb. This is reflected in the analyst industry in a number of ways: In Europe, cycle times in research are longer; briefings are longer; analysts react against time pressure more clearly.
  • Comfort with risk. Part of that difference is because European businesses generally have less tolerance for risk, error and for failure. If error is less accepted, then analysts will take more time to ensure that their research and research methods have a higher probability of being successful. They are also less likely to have clients who are tolerant of risk, and will therefore then to give more cautious advice.
  • Data sufficency. The lower tolerance for risk means that higher levels of probability and more understanding of alternative scenarios. That is deepened by the different intellectual traditions: the commonly-European method to gather data, detect patterns, test them for falsifiability and so on before deciding on the way forward; versus American pragmatism, to develop an intial standpoint rapidly and in which the best way to develop it or discover alternatives is to experiment in any almost direction.
  • Facts or systems. As a result, US business people in Europe are very likely to present analysts with partial information that only confirms the vendors’ positive experiences; while European business people in the US are likely to bore, and baffle, American analysts by presenting systemic world views and by addressing weaknesses and ‘down side’ risks explicitly.
Duncan Chapple

Duncan Chapple is the preeminent consultant on optimising international analyst relations and the value created by analyst firms. As SageCircle research director, Chapple directs programs that assess and increase the business value of relationships with industry analysts and sourcing advisors.