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Thought Leaders

Thought leaders are characterised by thinking differently about important issues. Martin Luther King was a thought leader – his vision of a society where whites and blacks could live together changed the rules of thinking and behaviour in American society. The British nurse Florence Nightingale was a thought leader. She changed the 19th-century philosophy in health care, amongst others through the promotion of the importance of hygiene. Steve Jobs is hailed as a thought leader. He changed the way we look at the use of computer technology. These three persons contributed to this world with their vision and indeed, were eventually seen as thought leaders. But what is thought leadership in an organisational context? Why should organisations want to promote thought leadership? And how do you build this? How many thought leaders do you know personally?

Since we can’t all be thought leaders, you need to make sure this will not be another overrated phrase used in today’s media. We should keep some things off the radar and only come out with those when they really have a meaning. Today I decided to check my LinkedIn connections. Forty people have the phrase “thought leader” in their profile. Some even have it with their specialties. You’ve got to love that. Please explain to me how someone is an account manager, but on the side a thought leader as well. What qualifies you as a thought leader, if you have been selling software for the past ten years? I then decided to look up some people I greatly admire, and whom I consider qualified to be a thought leader. It turns out that they hardly use this phrase, and each of them contributed greatly to the world of business today. So should you come up with it yourself or should you wait until people start calling you a thought leader?

In the space of Influencer Relations there are many people who think they have it all figured out, but I guess it is not so different in other sectors. I just want to make people aware of the fact that putting something on your resume, doesn’t automatically make it true. This works both ways of course. Why do people have such an issue with acknowledging their peers? Does that make you a lesser person in that field? I doubt it. I really think it shows that you are open for other people to be recognised for their efforts. But at the very least let us all agree that the phrase “thought leader” is not the new “Manager” or “Consultant”. That would do so many great people injustice.

 

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There’s no Such Thing as a Free Lunch

The economic theory, and also the lay opinion, that whatever goods and services are provided, they must be paid for by someone – i.e. you don’t get something for nothing. The phrase is also known by the acronym of ‘There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch’ – tanstaafl.

What is wrong with this world? Why do people talk nonsense fifty percent of the day? I am clearly fed up with this. I exactly took thirty minutes out of my busy schedule to tell this to you.

For the past twelve months, I have been dealing with Small (very small) and Medium businesses myself. It is always noble to help the people that can use it the most. I know that this is not the easiest business to conquer, but it is my own choice. In those twelve months, I had around a hundred meetings I joined myself to see if it leads to victory. I think I experienced around twenty meetings that had anything to do with a decent education and thoughts about how they wanted to work with others. So for the people who question what I just said; common knowledge on how to behave when you need something and have something to offer in return.

This leaves us with eighty meetings where you can mildly question the request up to where you walk out in fifteen minutes because their boldness is shameless. And mind you, we are clear on the phone before we jump in the car. So why do people behave like this? Why would you treat people like that? Did you miss certain education when you lived back home?

I know one thing for sure. They keep trying because there are still people out there with no self-esteem. You can’t tell me that this is normal behaviour. If you would like to receive the help, you should expect to provide something in return.  Normally money would be just fine. If you don’t like that, don’t make the call. Figure it out yourself. If you think it is all to expensive, don’t blame others, learn how to use a calculator. There’s no such thing as a free lunch.

 

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How Valuable is Service?

How do you measure whether clients are happy with your service? Do we need a matrix to make sure we make it all visible, or can we just conclude that when you ask the question their response has to speak for itself?

Every company claims that they deliver the best service or say that they are all about service. But considering our growth in new clients in the past years, that doesn’t seems to be the only thing clients look for. So how good is your service and how much time should you spend on it? All valid questions, but that doesn’t make  it easier.

One thing we can all agree on, is that it differs per country. Certain countries in Asia don’t care too much about service, so selling on service in their domestic region is a waste of sales efforts. In North America service is important. In Europe it really depends on where you are and what your selling.

So if you have a base product that needs simple execution worldwide, maybe it is all in the sales pitch. Some clients care and some don’t. Apart from the location where you are selling, it also depends on your product or service. In our business it is all about communication, openness and working flexible hours. Most of all, just get it done. Fix it! It makes life simple in my opinion. So why are there still so many competitors that talk about service instead of price, when the only outcome is that clients expect you to “fix it”.

I love service myself. I think it is common sense to add it in your contract and talk about it. But maybe, just maybe, it is not the number one factor for clients to choose you.

Times change, so let me know what you think. I would also like to invite you to share your opinion on this matter in our LinkedIn group: http://linkd.in/15qzDpj

 

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How Cool is That?

Today, of all days , I spend some time in a sub par hotel in the deep south of the Netherlands. Nothing cool about that I hear you thinking, but if I tell you that this place has a 750 seat capacity, the next bit will sound like winning the lottery. I walk in, pick a good seat close to the wireless access point. When I wanted to start with my first course two people sat down next to me and started to discuss next years budget. Nothing cool about that either you might say, and I was just enjoying my meal at first. Then it became clear that they were responsible for a tech company, just over the border in Belgium. They were discussing marketing and then, you’ve guessed it, the magic words came out – “Analyst Relations”.

Now we are talking!

The second course came and I was still listening to “what should we do next year about and with Analyst Relations?” Now I am not really the type of guy that just hops on board and start taking over a conversation that is not even for my ears to hear, but then the following happened. “Look Patrick, we have some options here. We can talk to Forrester or Gartner or we can look into companies that can help us for introductions and guidance”. What else do you need to hear. And then the usual overestimating began. “What should we reserve for this?” “Well, I only see big companies doing business with Gartner and Forrester. They probably charge by the hour or you buy a retainer. We need to look smart to them otherwise we pay top dollar”.

I decided to skip the final stage of my lunch to be able to make my move quickly when the opportunity would arise. I noticed that Patrick opened his Macbook Pro to learn some stuff about research firms and his colleague picked up the phone to take care of some other, non related, issues at hand. I got up and walked towards Patrick and asked him If I could get a minute of his time. He had no problems with that at all and was just as surprised as I had been when they started talking about Analyst Relations.

How cool is that! You go somewhere for a funeral and end up with a great sales call. Some things are just meant to happen I guess. There is one last thing that I need to do today, and that is buying that lottery ticket for next week.

Enjoy the weekend.

 

A photo by Alejandro Escamilla. unsplash.com/photos/BbQLHCpVUqA

Guess Who’s Looking for Top Talent in Analyst Relations?

Looking for a new direction in your Analyst Relations career? October is a time when new opportunities pop up in the field. From IBM to Google, we gathered the top US Analyst Relations firms with vacancies needing to be filled. If you’d like to learn more about the opportunity and to schedule an interview, contact these firms directly. However, if you do not know who to reach, contact Kea Company’s North American business partner Stacey Alexander for an introduction.

 

Reference Manager – Value Engineering

Infor – New York, NY

Infor Value Realization and References is an exciting, strategic, global team that is playing a pivotal role in driving the company’s growth. The Reference team at Infor is integral in helping drive sales across our industries and regions

 

Senior Product Specialist / Product Expert for System Provisioning

SAP – Walldorf/St. Leon-Rot

We are looking for a Senior Product Specialist for System Provisioning to strengthen our Product Management Team in the areas of efficient provisioning of new SAP systems (including new concepts for cloud provisioning) and adapting existing SAP systems to new requirements. In detail, these areas comprise such topics as installation processes of SAP (back-end and front-end) systems, system copy procedures, or migration projects to new platforms – procedures that reside in the core of every SAP administrator’s tasks and are therefore used regularly by every SAP customer and SAP cloud provider. The Senior Product Specialist for System Provisioning will be part of our global development organization with teams in Germany, Bulgaria, India, and other countries. Its Product Management team is based in SAP’s headquarters at Walldorf, Germany.
Director of Communications

Eid Passport – Hillsboro, OR

Reporting to the Chief Marketing Officer, the Director of Marketing Communications will develop and execute national marketing communications programs, including press and industry analyst relations, social media, events and content development for government, commercial and consumer markets that drive awareness, demand generation and customer satisfaction for our company and product brands.

 

Analyst Relations Professional

IBM – Austin, Texas

Your future made with IBMIBM is now hiring experienced professionals. In this new era of Cognitive Business, IBM is helping to reshape industries as diverse as healthcare, retail, banking, travel, manufacturing, and many more, by bringing together our expertise in Cloud, Analytics, Security, Mobile, and the Internet of Things. We are changing how we create. How we collaborate. How we analyze. How we engage. IBM is a leader in this global transformation. We’re looking for talented professionals to join us in this new era. Transforming healthcare, improving the retail shopping experience, rerouting traffic and even designing the next generation fan experience in sports stadiums around the world – this is what IBMers do. Join us and be part of a diverse and global team of thinkers and doers – people who want to make an impact, cultivate their expertise and collaborate with some of the world’s top business and technology professionals.

 

Senior Product Manager

Philips Healthcare – Pewaukee, WI

The Senior Product Manager is the pivotal marketing role in the Invivo Clinical Solutions organization and drives creation of disease-oriented oncology solutions (integrated combination of products and services) from idea to market, within certain clinical domain(s). The Senior Product Manager is accountable for defining, launching and building profitable product solution platforms that transform healthcare. They work directly with R&D and other marketing functions to ensure the products/solutions are developed to the feature and price specifications that each target market segment demands. The Senior Product Manager owns the product lifecycle from concept phase through development and launch and eventually, end of life. The Senior Product Manager is required to have deep expertise in market segmentation, product strategy, competitive strategy, and product development .

 

Sr Analyst Relations Manager

BMC Software – USA

The Lead Analyst Relations Manager will be responsible for leading and managing all aspects of analyst interactions including inquiries, briefings, and analyst consultations. Additional responsibilities include establishing strong collaboration with BMC sales, maintaining the BMC Global Analyst Relations web presence and the commissioning of analyst webcasts, whitepapers or speaking engagements.

 

Client Evidence, Global Marketing Manager

Avanade – Chicago, IL

The Global Client Evidence Lead is responsible for the strategic vision and direction of the global client evidence program, as well as the tactical development and amplification of external client evidence. This role is responsible for leading and driving the external client evidence program and pipeline, managing the client evidence program infrastructure, amplifying and promoting the program and client stories internally and externally, and ensuring the evidence content meets the needs of key stakeholders, especially sales and marketing. This role drives and oversees the development of strong, high-quality client evidence stories and serves as a centralized resource to provide Avanade’s best client stories to public relations, analyst relations, marketing campaigns, events, internal communications and more – ensuring that our client stories are used in many different ways and in many different places.

 

Senior Analyst Relations Manager

ServiceNow – Santa Clara, CA

ServiceNow, The Enterprise IT Cloud Company, is the industry-leading cloud platform provider for building enterprise applications.  We are redefining markets and changing the perception of enterprise software.  Our cloud platform allows enterprise IT to bring together business strategy, application design and operations in a powerfully simple solution. As Sr. Analyst Relations Manager you will work with the Sr. Director of Analyst Relations as well as the VP of Corporate Communications and various business units and product marketing to further ServicNow’s position within the Industry Analyst community with firms such as Gartner, Forrester, and IDC among others.  In this position you’ll be responsible for executing and managing the company’s visibility, interaction and influence within a diverse analyst community. The role is a mix of both internal and external analyst relation’s activities.

 

Head of Analyst Relations

ServiceNow – Santa Clara, CA

ServiceNow is changing the way people work. With a service-orientation toward the activities, tasks and processes that make up day-to-day work life, we help the modern enterprise operate faster and be more scalable than ever before.  Customers use our service model to define, structure and automate the flow of work, removing dependencies on email and spreadsheets to transform the delivery and management of services for the enterprise. We are seeking a Head of Global Analyst Relations to communicate our product vision and roadmap to firms to include: Gartner, Forrester and IDC among others.  In this role, you will influence how analysts think about our fast-growing products.

 

Product Marketing Manager, Security, G Suite

Google – Mountain View, CA

Whether you’re on a consumer product (like Gmail, Search, Maps, Chrome, Android) or a business product (AdWords, AdSense, DoubleClick, Analytics), you take part in a complete marketing experience as you lead every facet of the product’s journey. From determining positioning, naming, competitive analysis, feature prioritization and external communications, you help shape the voice of the product and help it grow a loyal consumer base. This means you work with a cross-functional team across sales, corporate communications, legal, webmasters, product development, engineering and more. In this role, you’ll be involved with product marketing strategy from beginning to end.

 

Head of Global Analyst Relations

Google – Mountain View, CA

In this role, you will influence how analysts think about our fast-growing enterprise products, particularly Google Cloud Platform and G Suite products (e.g., Gmail, Docs, Drive and Sheets). You will help define how companies select enterprise technology partners for the next decade. We are looking for an entrepreneurial, strategic marketer with a background in developing high-impact relationships with analysts and other industry influencers. You will work closely with leaders across Google, collaborating with teams in communications, product management, sales, and field marketing. You’ll have a blend of high level critical thinking with more tactical operational activities

 

Associate Director, Analyst Relations & Research

KPMG – Boston, USA

The fastest growing Big Four professional services firm in the U.S., KPMG is known for being a great place to work and build a career. We provide audit, tax and advisory services for organizations in today’s most important industries. Our growth is driven by delivering real results for our clients. It’s also enabled by our culture, which encourages individual development, embraces an inclusive environment, rewards innovative excellence and supports our communities. With qualities like those, it’s no wonder we’re consistently ranked among the best companies to work for by Fortune Magazine, Consulting Magazine, Working Mother Magazine, Diversity Inc. and others. If you’re as passionate about your future as we are, join our team.

 

Analyst Relations Manager – Client/Wearables

Intel – California, USA

The Analyst Relations Center of Excellence is looking for an Analyst Relations Manager to drive strategic communication programs to top-tier industry analysts for our client and wearables businesses. This position will be responsible for building and driving a high impact AR program to deepen analyst relationships, build mind share and to bring their insights back into our business units.

 

Analyst Relations Director

USAA – San Antonio, TX

Purpose of Job This role serves as a strategic relationship manager for external broker-dealers, retirement platforms and banks. Responsible for representing USAA funds to manager research groups, analysts and professional buyers, presenting USAA mutual funds and ETFs for recommended status, models, and cultivating sub-advised, bundled and asset allocation opportunities. A key component will include presenting USAA’s investment capabilities, investment theory and performance to platform decision makers, and increase shelf-space on platforms and recommended lists. This position is not location specific and can be worked remotely.

 

 

A photo by Alejandro Escamilla. unsplash.com/photos/du_OrQAA4r0

Failure is not Always Incompetence

Anyone who can think straight and does more than reading the local newspaper or watching one of the indoctrinated television channels around the world, knows that the “economical crisis” is not so bad as it sounds. A group of people who run this world via the banking corporation messed up big time and now they let us pay for it and call it a world wide economical crisis. Enough said here. In this particular case, failure is incompetence.

I would like to shift my focus a bit more to the people who work hard and play hard. In this current environment you need to invest just as much time and energy as you did in the times that there would not be a so called crisis. In advertisement it is always about showing your face. In good times and in bad times. Companies that stop developing their core business will shutdown sooner than later. Stop telling yourself that this happened because of the crisis. It didn’t. There is always a market ready for you. You need to shift, not stop doing what makes your product or services so different from the competition.

Let me point the finger towards my own business. I know a lot of people that would call it a ‘nice thing to have’, just like owning a Porsche. What they seem to forget is that Analyst Relations actually adds value, and a Porsche decreases in value. I can live with people making that decision, because whoever does is doomed in the world of business anyway, but not on my watch. Don’t ever think for a minute that you deserve something because it is yours, when banks or investors are involved. You need to bring in the money. Keep operational cost low and invest in what your customers benefit from. Claiming all is going well under the circumstances is not what makes you a survivor.

If you really think that you have done everything in your power, than there is no shame in shutting it down. This won’t come as a complete surprise to your staff or investors. They are well informed about it all. Sometimes even the stuff I write about can’t motivate people to make it happen. No worries. Close the book and give it a rest. If you feel that you’ve learned something, you start a new book, and if you feel that it wasn’t for you, try a comic book.

As a closing note to stimulate you all: I once had a client at Gartner, a Belgian company. They paid big bucks for their great service. All the analysts the CEO spoke to, told him that his product was basically shit and didn’t meet the criteria for his core business. He kept on going and kept his operational cost low and shifted on certain points within the business, but he did not change his core product. Today, six year after his first contact, they write research papers about the company. Now they are the big glory within their sector. For these people the hard times they had, did not correlate to incompetence. It was failure from somewhere else.

 

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Do You Know Who That Is?

We get the feeling that sales enablement is something that popped-up recently in the office of the AR professional. How is that possible you might ask yourself. Well, the people that pay your salary are just being informed about what AR does and how it can contribute even more to the company.

Our apologies for that “extra” work (not really).

We like to look at it in a different way; We just saved your job. Informing the analyst firms is only fifty percent of your job today. Please make sure you do understand that things change, also in the world of marketing and influencer relations. I spoke many times about shifting budgets. It happens too often that people wake up when it is already too late. Make preparations. Move to the front before your budget holder does. Make sure you provide them with ideas that other parts within the organisation can benefit from.

Just a quick suggestion from Kea Company: make twenty questions. Of course, those questions should be AR related. Ask people if they know companies like Gartner or Bloor Research. Also ask them if they are aware of your company showing up in research, written by X firms and if they would use it for selling to new clients. Now start to push every week a one-page sheet to the sales force with the information they can do something with. Try this for about ten weeks. Evaluate and ask the same twenty questions again. I bet you they can all answer them by now. The real creative part I’ll leave to you, but if you need help you know of course where to find us.

The point being awareness. This will not be accomplished by hiding behind doing vendor briefings or making power point slides nobody cares about. They won’t see the benefit that the senior management team will see. But that other fifty percent of your time you can show the value to the man and women of the salesforce. Make fans and position AR as a true added value to your total organisation, not only your shareholders.

Kea, out!