Monday, 30 April 2007

Tiering versus Ranking, by Carter 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.

Because there is no generally accepted definition of what “tier” means in the context of the analyst industry, let me offer some points to get the discussion started.

An analyst list is ranked based on relevance to what the vendor is trying to accomplish and tiered based on AR resources.

“Trying to Accomplish” – Hopefully the AR group is aligned with the vendor’s corporate strategy and marketing goals, which will in part indicate which analysts are relevant. When the corporate strategy or marketing goals change, then this impacts which analysts are relevant.

“Ranking” – Can be based on all or in part on how directly the analyst covers a market or topic, size of client base, overlap of the analyst’s client base with the vendor’s customer or prospect bases, visibility in the press or new media, public events she speaks at, demonstrated impact on sales deals and so on. Ranking criteria are subject to change over time.

“Tiered based on AR resources” – This is the tricky one and often not addressed. Not every vendor has sufficiently invested in AR staff to handle all analysts that want attention. As a consequence, the AR team has to focus on those analysts that they have the resources to provide appropriate support to. If one spreads the peanut butter too thin, then nothing is accomplished. This is no different than segmenting the customer base to provide dedicated sales teams to strategic accounts, while others customers share the same sales rep and yet other customers are supported by a telesales call center. There are only so many resources to spread around.

Example: In market A, there are 50 analysts that truly cover the market. The vendor’s AR team has ranked the analysts 1 through 50 based on the relevance of the analysts. Because the AR team consists of a single individual, the number of tier 1 analysts is 10. The vendor decides to hire another AR professional – doubling the team – leading to a doubling of tier 1 analysts. It is not that analysts 11 to 20 on the list suddenly got smarter or more influential, but that the vendor now how more resources to reach out to more analysts.

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Because most blogging software is really not set up to handle threads within a series of comments on a single post, I am putting “Topic” categories at the top of my comments as kludge. Perhaps ARmadgeddon can break some of these out as separate posts to make it easier to have a thread.

BTW, I am not hiding behind “Anonymous” and if anybody wishes to get in touch with me to debate this offline, I am more than happy to take your phone call. BTW, I expect to get flamed by “Anonymous,” so be it.

1 comment:

David R said...

Hi Carter. It strikes me that what you're saying here is good old fashioned common sense. Given that, I'm sure you're going to get flamed ;-)