For two reasons:
1. To save money.
2. To get better results.
Your firm will save money because it costs less to do any job when it’s done by people who know how to do it and are motivated to do it well. This reflects economies of scale (the more of something you do, the less each unit costs) and the learning curve (the more of something you’ve done, the less the next unit costs). Your firm will get better results because people who are hired to do a job do it better than people who have it tacked onto their other responsibilities.
The Analyst/Consultant Relations Idea
Part of what analysts and consultants think about you is objective. You either do or don’t have a router with eight ports, an office in India, or the ability to import .xlsx files. Analyst or consultant support cannot affect any of those. If an analyst or consultant mentions anything in this category, the facts will determine what he or she says. The rest is subjective. Will your firm stay current with technology? Is its strategic direction aligned with industry trends? Is your support up to par? There are no objective measures for any of these, yet they are important to any recommendation.
Your analyst/consultant relations program is not their only source of information on these. Take support. Analysts will ask your customers about your support. That, however, is second-hand information. Their only direct information about your support comes from how well you support them.
The IDEAL Framework
Every part of an analyst/consultant relations program fits one of the five IDEAL categories:
Identify refers to identifying your analyst/consultant relations targets. As a category of activity, it also includes planning the program: identifying what needs to be done. Drive refers to putting programs in place that will drive operational excellence.
Execute is carrying out the program activities, engaging with analysts and consultants. Align means aligning what you do with corporate messages and strategies. Leverage is taking advantage of analyst/consultant relations to bring value to your company, leveraging your relationships for strategic benefit. That makes your program a strategic adjunct to business development. That is your goal.
A Bit of Perspective on How Analysts and Consultants Influence Sales
Every purchase has a decision maker, a person who says “we’ll buy this” or “we’ll buy that” with no fear of being overridden. This person can always be identified. The decision maker must be sold on the product or service. Even when the bulk of selling time is spent with other people, usually those who make recommendations to this person, it is ultimately necessary to make sure that he or she is convinced as well.
Analyst/consultant relations are not the only factor in sales success. Companies with top-notch products in growing markets can succeed despite poor analyst/consultant relations. Companies with excellent analyst/consultant relations, conversely, can fail if they don’t execute in product planning or development. If a company’s R&D is behind the times, its products cost more than they should, or its customer support is inadequate, no analyst or consultant relations program can compensate. Management must understand this. Miracles should not be part of the analyst/consultant relations job description. A new analyst or consultant relations program is also not a quick fix for years of neglect. It won’t make a difference overnight. It’s like losing weight: ten years’ gain won’t come off in a week.
Analyst/consultant relations are, however, part of the picture. If they are done well and continued they can make a good company even more successful, help any company weather hard times, and in borderline situations make the difference between survival and bankruptcy.
By analogy: a boxer with one hand tied behind his back can win if he is sufficiently larger, stronger or more skilled than his opponent. Despite this, boxers don’t enter the ring with one hand tied behind their backs. They can’t afford to concede any advantage. So it is with analyst and consultant relations. They are a competitive weapon. No information technology firm can afford to give them up.
ps: over 1100 people told Kea Company how they feel about the current state of the research industry. Of course Kea would like to share these results with you. I know for a fact that no other firm has this in-depth, unbiased, information from users of vendors and buy-side in one document. In our “Research Report with in-depth analysis” we cover – in 180 pages – everything that you would like and need to know to make the best decisions and benchmark 67 of the most influential tech research firms out there today!
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