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IIAR Discussion – Negotiating your Analyst Firm Contract – 31st Oct 14

What – IIAR Discussion Group – Negotiating your Analyst Firm Contract (aka – Negotiating with Gartner)
When - Friday the 31st October 2014 @ 4pm GMT, 5pm CET, 12 Noon – New York
Where – IIAR Webinar
Register Here – To attend please REGISTER <<HERE>>, now

AuctionSuccessfully negotiating your contract with analyst firms and gaining best advantage from your contract is a key activity for all Analyst Relations teams. This initial meeting of a IIAR Discussion Group will open up the conversation. As Gartner is the largest of the analyst firms we expect the discussion will no doubt focus here; this will not be to the exclusion of all (or any) of the other analyst companies.
Held under Chatham House Rules the aim is to (ultimately) produce an IIAR Best Practice Paper that combines the knowledge of all participants.
Of course, by attending you will not only have the opportunity to give your knowledge and opinions but also gain from that of others and have the advantage to submit questions directly. Lets have a lively discussion, the more of you that join in the better, so please don’t forget to REGISTER <<HERE>>. Attending IIAR Events is free for all members, there may be a small charge for non-members.
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IDC, End-Users and Strategic AR – all at our latest London meeting

MK 2small Panel 1 smallWell, that was a late one but well worth it.

In a mammoth three hour meeting (we didn’t lock the doors, people just didn’t want to leave) those attending last night’s IIAR meeting in London enjoyed an informative interview Marianne Kolding of IDC by Simon ‘Jeremy’ Levin of The Skills Connection.

In his quiet, persistent manner, Simon coaxed Marianne into explaining how IDC works with CIOs and what research it’s now producing for the IT buyer.

And it turns out that there’s quite a lot. Marianne talked through the reach and exposure IDC has with end-users. She also explained several newer services that the company is launching directly to target the CIO and in-house IT decision makers.

David Rossiter of Sunesis/Harvard PR then had the pleasure of chairing a panel discussion on Strategic AR.

It was a spirited, entertaining and insightful conversation. Led by our three panellists – Bill ReedAGTDom PannellUnisys; and our own Yash KhannaTCS – the audience weren’t shy about sharing their views on what they heard as well as their experiences.

We should provide wine and beer more often.

For IIAR members who couldn’t be there in-person, you can listen to recordings of both sessions in Huddle. For non-IIAR members, you can have access if you join up but otherwise you’ve missed out on two great conversations.

Our next meeting is at Christmas on the 9th December, in central London. We’ve got a great party planned, which Dell is kindly sponsoring. You should really come along for at least one drink.

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[GUEST POST] Building credibility to boost sales with IT Analyst Relations

This Guest Posting was first published on Influencer Relations and Marketing, author Sven Litke, Kea Company. Many thanks for allowing the IIAR to re-publish.

When talking to IT vendors eager to grow their business I usually come across a number of common challenges they face. One of the biggest issues which lies outside the companies (as opposed to e. g. finance requirements to fund the growth or adding enough skilled people to their workforce) is that once they are moving out of their comfort zone they are facing prospects that are much more skeptical than those in their home markets.

It seems to be a common pattern that vendors manage to grow to a certain size (depending on the size of their home market this is often somewhere between five and twenty million dollars) and then start thinking about ways to expand further. This often is when they are confronted with the ‘real outside world’ for the first time. Before this they managed to successfully leverage their network, or simply were the vendor with an office location closest to where the customer was. This kind of home advantage usually works up to a certain point. You might be able to successfully sell to new clients based on recommendations from your network to 2nd degree connections but that’s about where it stops. When you are dealing with prospects who have never heard of you and who don’t have any other obvious connection path (be it geographically or personal) to your company the selling gets much tougher. Obviously the first thing any vendor will do is to bring his USPs to the attention of the potential buyer. But be honest: How many competitors are out there who are making similar claims in regards to their or their solution’s capabilities? At this stage it doesn’t matter if their (or your) claims are true because at this stage the only thing that matters is the question of who is going to get the chance to proof their claims either by further demonstrations, POCs, trials or ideally by closing the deal.

A similar challenge vendors are facing is connected to the deal size. A lot of customers are willing to ‘risk’ a limited amount of money on a new vendor or a solution that is new to the market. With increasing deal size this inclination to take some risk quickly declines which is why smaller or new vendors often fail to win the larger deals in the market. This is also true in regards to the ‘business criticality’ of a solution. Buying something that is a nice to have from a new vendor is much easier than buying a solution that is business critical or security relevant from an unproven source.

Credibility wins business.

With markets where there are typically multiple vendors offering multiple solutions for a problem the buyer needs to significantly narrow down the field of potential suppliers. So being on the short list for further evaluation must be the primary goal in the early stage of the sales process. This is where the topic of credibility comes into play. When competing in their home markets a vendor is virtually guaranteed to get a place on the short list. Once competing outside: Not so much. Credibility means that a potential customer has enough trust in the claims you make about your company and your solution to give you the chance to prove yourself. Having credible sales people goes a long way towards that goal but obviously they are very hard to find. In addition some customers will never accept anything coming directly from a vendor at face value.  Also references help to generate trust, even though the effectiveness of a reference quickly declines when they are not meeting the criteria a specific customer is looking for. This can include the requirement for a reference from the same country, the same vertical or of similar size – or ideally all of this at the same time. And of course if you were not lucky enough to acquire the right mix of reference customers in your home market this only brings you back to the initial problem of getting new customers in the first place. So the question remains how to best handle the credibility issue.

Influencers create credibility

This is where influencer relations has its place in the marketing mix. People like journalist and industry analysts make their living from evaluating technologies, vendors and solutions. Industry analysts in particular are heavily involved in advising technology buyers in regards to their vendor selection and short list creation. With industry analyst groups such as Gartner, Forrester, IDC and Ovum influencing between 40% and 60% of commercial technology sales their market reach is much bigger than anything a midsize vendor can hope to achieve on its own. This means that being mentioned by analysts – either in written research or in 1:1 inquiries – will open up indirect access to many potential customers. Coverage in official research publications is the most powerful tool for your sales people and your marketing materials to demonstrate that your technology, company, products and service offerings and methods are highly recognized and credible.

Analysts are writing about your market, whether you like it or not. Being pro-active in reaching out to analysts gives you the strategic advantage of being able to influence their research by providing them with the insight they need, when they need it. Analyst Relations is not a billion dollar club. It is critical that analysts are well informed of your company strategy, products, and services. This needs to be an ongoing process to maintain a top-of-mind status, especially for a vendor that aims for higher name recognition and company growth. Early engagement with analysts is a great way to get analyst buy-in and top-of-mind presence to increase credibility and in turn to secure your place on the short list and to boost sales.

This Guest Posting was first published on Influencer Relations and Marketing.

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[JOB POSTING] Marcom Management, Microsoft – US

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Do you have a challenger mentality, stellar communication skills, and a knack for uncovering compelling story angles?   WWLP marketing is looking for a highly skilled AR/PR Manager to change perceptions of Microsoft licensing worldwide.   We need someone who can build strong relationships with the most influential media & analyst groups; someone to drive thought leadership around innovative and simplified licensing; someone to craft and successfully land a new narrative through analysts, press and social media.

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IIAR Webinar – 11th September – Best Practices in the Rules of Engagement

Keep calm and follow the rulesDate: September 11th, 2014
Time: 4pm BST, 5pm CET, 11am EST, 8am PST
Location: IIAR Webinar – Register here

AR Pros and the Industry Analysts work on the basis of undocumented principles – principles that sometimes get broken or abused and then what do you do? This webinar will look at the types of analysts AR Pros come across on a daily basis and how to engage with them. Questions such as whether there is a secret recipe on how to build trust? – When should you be transparent? – Should analysts be afforded preferential treatment? – And does NDA really mean, NDA? – will be addressed along with many other frustrations we all face in the world of AR. Oh yes, there is also a section on ‘Divas’! Continue Reading →

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Wrap-up: Netscout vs. Gartner re. Magic Quadrant positioning

gartner[1]Two Three interesting takes on Netscout suing Gartner for not putting them in the leaders quadrant:

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What does analyst influence mean to you?

What does analyst influence mean to you?

If you’re in AR, how do you get it, and how do you measure it?

If you’re an analyst, how do you know whether you have it?

 

“Influence” is a goal for many Analyst Relations programs–and a factor of analyst effectiveness–yet there is little agreement about how to define, optimize or measure analyst influence. It can be a source of confusion and frustration for AR practitioners and our stakeholders, not to mention the analysts who are expected to provide it! Continue Reading →

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[GUEST POST] Gartner Updates: Notes from the AR regional briefing in the UK

Gartner has its ‘listening hat’ on at the UK AR Regional BriefingNew methodologies introduced by Gartner

Gartner recently opened its doors to AR professionals with a day of presentations and interactive workshops targeted at the influencer relations community. The idea was to build on the AR forums given at the Gartner Symposium conferences and spend more time on topics that we, as AR professionals, have said we wanted to know more about.

Overall, it was an excellent event with a good balance of presentations and interactive discussions. The first panel slot was rather over staged and an over-run at the start of the day left little time for what must have been one of the most useful sessions of the day by David Black on Gartner reports and methodologies (“Gartner Update: Magic Quadrant Contextualization and Critical Capabilities”). See below for a summary of the updates. Continue Reading →

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[GUEST POST] Key Requirements for Vendors When Briefing Software Analysts

DrNatalie%20Headshot%20color[1]By NataliePetouhoff from Constellation Research.

In any given week, analysts hear many pitches. What may not be apparent is “How engaged is the analyst?” So if you are a vendor, how do you engage an analyst? First, don’t be one of those people who is more interested in getting through all your slides in the short period of time you have with the analyst versus really having an engaging conversation with the analyst. Continue Reading →

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[GUEST POST] Can you build a meaningful relationship with analysts, even if you don’t pay them?

“We have a problem with analysts,” I hear you say. “You have to buy analyst services to have a good relationship with them,” has got to be the most common phrase any analyst relations professional hears from colleagues.

Cynicism reigns when it comes to judging analysts, which reflects the way many of us might feel about the role they, and other influencers, have when recommending IT products or services.

Admittedly some are harder to engage than others if you do not have a subscription, but is that true of all Analyst Houses or is there a middle ground?

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