My Take: Forrester Acquires Sirius Decisions

forrester-siriusdecisions

This week, Forrester (Nasdaq: FORR) entered into a definitive agreement to acquire SiriusDecisions, for $245 million in cash. Larry Dignan at ZDNet did a great job breaking down the deal here. As with all acquisitions, many of the details have not been decided or announced yet, but as I long-time client of both firms, I wanted to share my perspective.

Is there overlap?
Yes, some, but not really. Whereas Forrester had doubled -down on CX – recently celebrating 20 years of CX Research, Sirius Decisions completely focused on BtoB Marketing. Their many marketing models, including the industry iconic demand waterfall, marketing processes and best practices have guided and been implemented by thousands of the best BtoB marketers. Sirius provided unique and very specific guidance and how to improve every aspect of BtoB Marketing from email to customer advisory boards to building partner programs and more. They always were able to share specific best practices and benchmark data.

I predict that the current Forrester B2B Marketing Team will have to restructure to support this influx. I also believe that the Forrester Tech Marketing Leadership Board (of which I have been a member) is going to get some amazing new talent.

What does this mean for their customers?
I think it will be great for Forrester’s customers especially as companies are aggressively trying to understand every element of prospect journeys. Sirius Decisions (SD) was very expensive when I was a client (worth the money – but challenging to get budget). Pricing and contracts are now going to be greatly simplified.

What does this mean for analysts?
There will be some cuts, but if marketing budgets stay where both firms have predicted, there is enough demand to support the onboarding of the analysts and their tremendous research.  Another element is culture; there is good cultural alignment here.  The SD analysts are passionate about excellence in marketing, and they are approachable leaders. Their collaborative styles are similar to Forrester’s.

What does this mean for Analyst Relations (AR)?
There are 2 sides to this equation. Most AR programs won’t change very much except that AR will now target the SD Analysts more. Lots of AR programs do not formally target Sirius Decisions. The other side is:  because SD focused on the BtoB Marketer, they had research to validate the AR program. Research that is challenging to get. For example, in recent SD Buying Study – “Analyst reports beat out sales presentations as the top content asset.”

Typically, research firm acquisitions are not good for AR; we are better when we have a wide pool of experts, but because of the nature of SD’s expertise, this may be the exception.

Members of the Forrester AR Council typically will get the opportunity to hear directly from George Colony on a deal this big, though the call hasn’t been scheduled yet. I’m looking forward to hearing directly from him and hearing your comments and questions. Please comment below.

More this month than ever, grateful to you for reading.

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One Response to My Take: Forrester Acquires Sirius Decisions

  1. Ludovic Leforestier Thursday 29th November 2018 at 16:38 #

    Nice post post Beth.

    Some more points:

    This acquisition seems like a reaction to the Gartner-CEB deal -but much smaller. In that respect, it makes Forrester a more complete alternative to Gartner.

    They said they would expand Sirius’ community-based offerings (it’s more best practices and conferences that research) to other verticals, we’ll see how that turns up. The model however fits well with This fits with the Forrester Leadership board model, which means disruption for the FLB’s… and it’s why I don’t think you’ll learn a lot from the call you mention.

    There is a risk however that this will accelerate the de-focussing of Gartner away from technology analysis -some vendors will lament about this.

    Sirius is more a community than a research house, they issue best practices like CEB with arguably less experienced analysts.

    Finally, and more tactically, the deal closes in January so my advice is to pause net new spend until then and see how you can drive economies of scale then.

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