Monday, 30 April 2007

Roles of the Analyst – Market/Sales Influencers, Decision Support, Smart Advisors, Sales Support, by Cartner Lusher

Carter has made a series of of comments on one of our posts. We think they deserve higher profile so, without his permission, we are posting each of them as a post in order to separate the themes and promote more discussion.

A common misunderstanding that I deal with is that many boutique firms and single practitioners do not know that there are multiple communities with my company that interact with the analysts for different reasons. These analysts often assume that AR handles all the roles and get angry because they assume that because AR won’t brief them, then they cannot sell their services to that vendor. Wrong. The analyst is simply talking to the wrong vendor employee. While the communities different from one vendor to another, here is a high level description that works in many circumstances:

Analyst relations (AR) – Educates analysts who influence sales deals on the vendor’s capabilities so the analysts can appropriate position the vendor to IT managers with budgets.

Market intelligence (MI) – Buys syndicated market research and commissions primary research projects for decision support purposes. Often MI is mainly interested in market share numbers.

Executives – Execs will often have contracts with smart people whose opinion they respect to use as a sounding board. Sometimes these are analysts/consultants who were formerly at large firms and then left. Just because they left their prior firm does not mean the analyst got dumb, but often their market influence drops dramatically so they are not relevant to AR, but that does not mean that an executive does not appreciate the advice.

Competitive Intelligence (CI) – Group that provides information to the sales force about the competitors’ products and assists with request for proposal responses.

Bottom line is that the analyst needs to understand how each vendor is set up and then target the appropriate community. Merely yelling at AR because they won’t buy your services might be a waste of time if MI is the one who owns the budget.


John said...

Not only is it tough for Analysts to know who to contact for which services, I also found it quite difficult to deal with this issue internally. Of course, I had joned a lg org with no processes in place - took quite a bit of work just to get things under control.

My advice is to first make sure your own house is in order and then you can at least assist in guiding the analyst.

Anonymous said...

Carter does have a good point - it is important for analysts to network beyond AR, and to do this they may have to find ways of "going around" them - i.e. attend events, call directly. Poor AR people will try to prevent this happening and try to forbid their execs talking directly with analysts without them being present. AR execs need to enable these relationships to happen, not become a road block.