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What Analysts Want

by Administrator on January 11, 2008

Someone just forwarded me an email with an extract from an article about what that category of analyst called “Deal Makers and Brokers” (DMBs) want from vendors/clients.  She wanted to use it as a springboard for discussing services I might ply to her vendor client in 2008.  Here was the list:

1. Spending a day consulting with a vendor on strategy

Most analysts find tremendous value in these types of interactions and no, its’ not what you think – it isn’t because the firm gets paid for these days, or in some cases because the analysts gets a “spiff”. It is because they know what you should know. That by spending 8 or so hours with somebody you get a much better picture of who they are, what they do, how they do it, where they are going and how they are going to get there. You also have a much better chance of furthering a relationship at the same time.

2. Receiving written case studies that have not been published by the vendor

Use your “customer capital”. Great case studies are worth their weight in gold. Offer the case studies and be prepared to back them up with customer references.

3. Receiving competitive information or vendor comparisons from the vendor

This ones rank actually surprised us. Although the analysts don’t value where you rank yourself vs. your competition, they do value who the vendor “calls-out” as competition and where they spend their cycles in differentiating themselves.

4. Speaking at vendor sponsored event/seminars/User Groups, etc.

Deal Makers/Breakers typically get paid for these activities and our research shows that these activities don’t inherently impact analysts position on the vendor. Where these can show a big impact is in enhancing relationships.

5. Presenting competitive analysis to vendor’s sales force

Another surprise here, we thought the value overall wouldn’t be quite as high. Though frequently given from stock presentations, competitive analysis and comparisons give the analyst an opportunity to conduct research as they present.

6. Being a Press or Media Reference

Much different from being asked for a quote, being used as a press reference is actually encouraged by many analysts. The gating factor is their understanding of your company & products as well as the depth of your relationship with the analyst.

7. Being asked to speak at a vendor Webcast

The least valuable speaking engagement in the analyst’s eyes. They find less value and more hassle with Webcasts than other types of venues.

8. Receiving vendor whitepapers or positioning papers

Analysts are increasingly finding well written, non marketing hype, internally developed whitepapers valuable to understand the vendor’s strategy. The key here is INTERNAL. Don’t give them whitepapers for hire from some quasi analyst.

9. Analyst conference sponsorships

Though many analysts will exhort vendors to exhibit at conferences, conference sponsorship does not impact their opinion of a vendor. Also,

10. Having reports reprints purchased and distributed by vendors

Most analysts don’t find value in vendors buying and distributing their research. We think this comes from the generally low level of emphasis analysts put on research (as opposed to inquiry).

11. Having vendors provide help with finding speakers for conferences

Most analysts would rather find their own speakers and resent vendors trying to place speakers. However, if you asked this question of the events managers at the analyst firms, you would get a far different answer, and it would include cash!

12. Being invited to supply industry-oriented quotes for press activities

Most DMBs HATE being asked for quotes – especially for press releases. Gartner analysts can’t give them; the others may or may not, depending on their mood. If it’s a quote you want, you’ll need to turn to a Point Player, Talking Head or Consultant and Wannabe, most of the deal makers/breakers will not provide industry quotes on behalf of a vendor.

13. Being asked to write a whitepaper by vendor

Come on, DMBs hate being asked and REAL analysts won’t do them anyway. There are other sources of getting your marketing collateral written. Make sure you chose one you like.

I think the list is interesting more for what it doesn’t say than what it does.   First, let’s walk the list.

#1 — spending time with the vendor — is generally a good thing for the reasons articulated.  You get to know people and to assess how smart folks are and whether they have the capability to execute on plans.  I like doing this, especially when someone picks up the tab for the flights, hotels and restaurants.  I should also point out that I get a feel about a company based on their logistical provisions.  I would rather stay at a nearby two star hotel than a far away five star.  I can fly coach comfortably for up to two hours.  I am not impressed by food.  (Frankly, the best meals I have had are with Ken Barth at Tek-Tools at a little chain restaurant near his shop in Dallas that serves all you can eat soup and salad.  The bill is usually a whopping $10.)

#2 — unpublished user accounts — I generally do not want these.  Just point me to your customers and I will chat with them myself.

#3 — competitive comparisons — I like these, not because they are always accurate, but because they clue me in on what the vendor is trying to say is important about his product.  Plus, you can get some great issues to follow up.

#4 — speaking engagements — C’mon.  I will take any bully pulpit I can get.  So long as I am not gagged by the need for political correctness or censored about my views regarding the vendor’s products or its competitors’.

#5 — presenting to vendor sales force — same as above.  I want sales guys to know what I am hearing from the trenches just like I want consumers to know what’s going on in vendor land.

#6 — being a press reference — the press shouldn’t be talking to analysts.  They should be talking to vendors and consumers.  I am happy to give an opinion, which like an arsehole: we all have one.  If I were a consumer I wouldn’t give a rat’s ass what any paid analyst has to say about any product.

#7 — doing webcasts — same as 4 and 5.  I want to broadband, lowband and highband.

#8 — receiving internal papers — I read voraciously.  Send me everything that you think is important and I will read it.

#9 — getting sponsorships — I want to put on a show now and then.  I want vendors to pay for it.  I also enjoy turning down unscrupulous vendors who want to sponsor.  My way of saying “Frack You.”

#10 — having vendors reprint and distribute reports I’ve written — Delighted, if they are so inclined.

#11 — having vendors provide speakers for conferences — Only if the vendor is proffering something visionary or smart, then only from the vendor’s organization (and usually only if I am impressed with his/her communications capability, so I am reasonably sure he/she won’t put my audience to sleep)

#12 — providing quotes — Delighted to under the terms identified in #6.  (But unlike analysts, I don’t charge for this.)

#13 — writing whitepapers — I do it all the time.  Writers write.

A few missing things that, were I an analyst, I would have put on the list.

A.  Tell me all of your product problems so I can share them with your competitors and appear smart and hire-worthy.

B.  Offer me a job that will get me out of my pay-per-view job and give me a shot at some real money.

C.  Give me a lot of money or stock so I can buy a new car/house/wife/girl on the side/etc. and show how much more important I am as an analyst than my competitors.

D.  Start calling me a DMB and giving me big public awards and laud for my brilliance.  That way, I can compensate my ego for all the stupid things I am otherwise saying for pay.

That is all.


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