How to Have a High Impact on Market Evaluation Reports
by Betsy Burton
Recently an analyst relations person asked me how they should work with an analyst during the creation of a market evaluation (e.g. Aragon Globe, Gartner Magic Quadrant, etc.). She knew I had worked on methodology at Gartner and was actively involved in a few Aragon Research Globes.
It is interesting to consider because I think there are a lot of misperceptions about how technology and service providers can best support, impact, or even influence an analyst’s view of their company and its products/services.
It’s Not About “Pay-to-Play”
One of the widely held mistakes, particularly with smaller vendors, is that analysts are pay-to-play. That sign-up for services, hiring for consulting sessions and executive meetings will help to increase your market positions. Having done my fair share of market analysis, I can share that this is not how it works.
Yes, if you bring in an analyst for a consulting session, and they give you advice about what customers want and need, and your company follows that advice, it can help your business. But hiring an analyst for consulting does not automatically increase your market position in an evaluation; your business needs to actually do something. And the same goes for meetings, subscriptions, etc.
This misunderstanding just leads to executive disappointment in the AR team and frustration with the analysts, neither of which are beneficial for the analyst or your company.
Understand the Market Evaluation Cycle; Get Involved Early
Most analyst firms produce market research yearly. It is very easy to find out when a market evaluation is getting started and when it is expected to be complete. Keep in mind, it can take analysts 6-8 months to complete a market evaluation.
It is important to get involved with the market analysis early. Review the market definition and market criteria. Make sure to respond to requests for information, briefings, references, and demos.
The Goal Should Be No Surprises
In a market evaluation, an analyst will work to identify the strategy, strengths, and challenges for a given product/service in a market. This is just the nature of an evaluation. The analyst may not always write what you want or think they should write, but there should be zero, or very few, surprises in the final analysis.
Further, presenting significant issues and challenges at the last minute or during final reviews is generally not valuable since the analysis has already completed significant internal and management reviews, as well as market participant reviews. This can lead to a lot of stress and defensiveness.
No surprises is the goal.
Know Your Analyst’s Research
I met a CEO that walked right up and shook my hand and said, “Hello Betsy, I read the last few pieces you wrote, and I thought….” Now, I knew that his handlers had likely prepared him with briefing materials on the analyst he was meeting with. However, it made a huge difference because we were immediately able to have a productive conversation; I knew about their products, and he knew about my view of the market. It was a positive and productive exchange of ideas.
The best way to have an impact on an analyst’s research is to know their positions on markets and other players. Then, you position your product relative to those views and even have a productive discussion about how your organization might see it differently or have innovations.
More Inquires Than Briefings
One of the best ways to communicate with an analyst is to schedule inquiries. That is a time for your executives, product managers, sales leaders, or CIO to ask them real questions about a given market, trends, innovations, or disruptions. What are they hearing from their clients? What types of issues and opportunities are their clients asking about? What are they hearing about other vendors in the market? What types of research are they working on?
Technology/service providers often try to influence an analyst through just briefings; in other words, “telling” the analyst what your company is doing. But the reality is questions can communicate your ideas, plans, strategy, and capabilities as well as a briefing. And it is often in a much more engaging way.
Highly effective communication is less about what you say and more about what your audience hears. This means one must understand the context of the person hearing your message.
To have the highest impact on an analyst during a market evaluation, understand the analyst’s perspective of the market, trends, opportunities, and risks, and then communicate how your business, products, and services align to or are different from that perspective. Recognize that one of the best ways to understand that perspective is through inquiries, webinars, research, and presentations. Then, briefings, demos, and customer references will have more meaning and impact.
To schedule a briefing with Aragon Research, click here.