Using a briefing request form to capture information for the sales force

I recently came across another blatant example of an analyst firm misusing the process by which analysts are invited to attend a vendor briefing.

I was looking to set up a briefing with IDC’s Energy Insights. Although the analyst had accepted the briefing, the company still wants me to complete this form. According to the group operations manager: “This is a standard company policy when requesting a briefing with our analysts.”

Now although it’s a pain, I don’t usually have a problem filling in vendor briefing request forms.

For those who aren’t familiar with them, these are normally used to capture information that will help:

  1. the firm ensure that all relevant analysts are aware of the request, and
  2. the analysts decide whether or not to accept a meeting.

But it’s a bit annoying when the analyst firm is using the process to capture information that is obviously more relevant for its sales force than the analysts.

For example, alongside the regular stuff (eg what’s the briefing about, who would it be with, tell us about your company), Energy Insights wants to know:

  • Who is the head of marketing for your company? (Name, title, email, and phone)
  • Who is the head of product marketing for your company? (Name, title, email, and phone)
  • Who is responsible for your company’s strategic planning? (Name, title, email, and phone)
  • Does your company use market research to assist in strategic planning?
  • Does your company currently have any relationships with other market research firms?
  • Would you be interested in learning more about our services in your market area and the benefits of having a relationship with Energy Insights?

Easy enough information to provide – but does an analyst at Energy Insights really need to know this information in order to qualify a meeting? I’d love to know.

Now if it’s for use by the sales force… well, that makes more sense. I can see why an analyst firm thinks it’s a smart idea to capture all this information. Lovely juicy contact data for the new business machine.

But IDC, why not be honest (and obviously honest) about why you want it. Otherwise, this feels a bit slimy and underhand.

Note
I checked the other IDC companies as well:

IDC itself requires a considerable amount of information but you can see that it would all be useful to the analyst team. It’s roughly in line with the information requested by Gartner. Forrester Research (registration required, but it’s free) and Yankee Group.

However, Manufacturing Insights, Financial Insights, Government Insights, Health Industry Insights and Global Retail Insights – well, they all demand the same information as Energy Insights.

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5 Responses to Using a briefing request form to capture information for the sales force

  1. Miriam Kutcher Wednesday 6th August 2008 at 19:41 #

    Thanks for your feedback. To clarify, the intent of our Insights’ Vendor Briefing Request Form is to capture all the company information in one location for ease of use internally. The information is not a required prerequisite for a meeting with our industry analysts. Clearly from your comments, however, our intent to streamline the data is not well received. We appreciate your concern and, therefore, we will change the form across all 6 units. The vendor briefing request form will continue to assist our industry analyst teams in determining who is most appropriate to meet with the vendor.
    Regards,
    Miriam Kutcher
    VP, Marketing
    Vertical Markets Business Units and New Ventures

  2. Marius Jost Thursday 7th August 2008 at 08:44 #

    We are very happy to see a real dialogue is developing between the IIAR and the research industry, and we feel this is one of the recent examples for the most beneficial processes the IIAR has been starting.

    David has used his fact – based style of writing. This is always the very best approach to change the little things which micht annoy us sometimes. Hopefully the fruitful dialogue between Analyst Relations and research industry will develop further. The IIAR is one of the most important bodies to support this important trend.

  3. Ludovic Thursday 7th August 2008 at 08:50 #

    Nice to see the constructive feedback from IDC.

    I had some also issues with the process at Gartner, which was solved by the Gartner Vendor Briefings Manager:
    – I now use a local contact which helps the responsiveness
    – I fill in the form by email rather than filling in the word document
    – Gartner agreed to book the time first and then let me provide the details instead of filling the (long) form upfront.

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