Engaging in Analyst Relations is sending a message: Five common traits confident vendors are displaying

Success breeds success: When I talk to technology vendors about starting an analyst relations program I get all kinds of reactions. One way or another most vendors have had first or second hand experiences with analysts. Either they’ve seen competitors promoting the latest research publication which featured them in a favorable way or they have had prospects telling them that they need to be ‘on the radar’ of the analysts to be considered as a supplier.

At this point most vendors start thinking about ways to work with analysts with the goal in mind to be featured in research. At Kea Company we work with vendors from a huge range of ‘maturity stages’ all the way from start-ups to established multibillion dollar enterprises. What strikes me as quite interesting is the fact that those who in the end decide to enter the shark tank of analyst engagements are the ones most confident about their capabilities and the ones with the biggest ambitions to succeed in the market.

Here are five attitudes I see with vendors who decide to take on analyst relations:

– They are convinced that they can stand up to a critical and informed audience: The analysts

– They are certain they have a story to tell that is relevant for a broader audience.

– They feel that they are bringing innovation to the market.

– They have a competitive offering which they are certain to succeed if they get shortlisted.

– They are confident that they will achieve significant growth and expand their market presence.

In the end it all comes down to a single message: Companies who embark on the analyst relations journey do so because they feel they are at least as good as the competitors already featured in research and/or they are convinced that their offering meets a demand in the market.

On the other end of the spectrum there are a lot of vendors who fear that they might be too small and their footprint not global enough. They think their references might be too small or too local or that their solutions not sophisticated enough and still needs feature x, y, z before it is finally ready to be presented to the analysts. These vendors typically keep postponing analyst relations indefinitely and even if they decide to start working with analysts they tend to not stick with it long enough to harvest the fruits of their efforts.

Engaging analysts to tell your story sends a clear signal to these analysts and to your customers/prospects: We are a force to be reckoned with and we are certain that we can offer value to our customers which no other company can deliver.

If you want to learn more about setting up a successful analyst relations program and leveraging our AR know how please visit www.keacompany.com

Adapt or Fail! – Analyst firm business models are changing – does this mean that analyst relations needs to change as well?

In recent years we have seen quite a few changes in the analyst landscape: We’ve seen new boutique analyst firms entering the market and focussing on sub-segments or geographies (HfS Research, Crisp Research, Greyhound Research etc). We’ve seen M&A activities indicating a trend towards bigger firms and more comprehensive research coverage (CXP/BARC/PAC, ISG/Alsbridge/Experton, Informa/Ovum). And we’ve seen analyst firms like Gartner branching out into new areas (Gartner acquiring AMR Research and SCM World and CEB). At the same time new business models, like freemium, new research methodologies and 3rd party evaluations (e. g. peer insights) have found their way into analyst firm portfolios.

But is there a general trend towards bigger firms, smaller firms, local firms, specialist firms, freemium offerings, …? We don’t think it’s so straightforward, although people are using more firms than they were. Our yearly Kea Analyst Value Survey indicates that the users of analyst services can find value in a lot of different places and the Institute of Industry Analyst Relations (IIAR) has frequently named both large analyst firms as well as boutiques ‘Analyst Firm of the Year’. So neither the boutiques nor the big players can claim all the top positions in the rankings.

The down side: More effort and new approaches are required in analyst relations.

Obviously dealing with more analyst firms will mean more work for analyst relations professionals. In the past it was possible for an analyst relations professional to focus on a handful of analyst firms to cover a significant part of the research market. Today analyst relations not only has to deal with a huge number of analyst firms but also has to take into account the different roles (IT, marketing, management, …) these firms are supporting in the market. This means that analyst relations has to provide a multitude of perspectives, pitches and use cases to support the various analyst firms. It also means that there is an increased requirement to coordinate (and motivate) internal stakeholder within the vendor company to contribute to the analyst relations efforts. In addition new evaluation methodologies require different strategies to ensure a good positioning in vendor evaluations. The times where just providing the facts/data requested throughout an analyst firm RFI were enough to stand out from the crowd are gone. Finding and coaching references and encouraging customers to participate in peer reviews are now a key part of analyst relations.

The bright side: The impact of analyst relations is growing.

In the past analyst research has mostly been targeted at IT decision makers and buyers (CIO, CTO, IT Directors, …) today we are seeing more and more analyst firm offerings targeting the line of business and key executives within the company. The consumption of analyst research is growing – not only are more companies using analyst research but at the same time the more people within the company are now using analyst insights to support their decision making. This trend has been accelerated with the rise of ‘easy to buy’ SaaS offerings which are often bought by line of business rather than via the IT department. In addition to this our survey indicates that companies are now using more analyst firms and gain access to analyst insights not only via corporate subscriptions but increasingly also via freemium research. All this means that the impact of analyst opinion on technology, vendor selection and buying decisions is increasing.

Join the discussion and meet your peers.

On September 14th we will once again be hosting our Kea Analyst Relations Value Forum in London to discuss the changing analyst market and the role analyst relations has to play in order to contribute to business success. If you are an analyst relations professional or an executive at an IT vendor we would like you to join the discussion and to welcome you to our forum.

Your pitch to analysts isn’t just about your solution

In pitches to analysts, there are many conversations going on. At one level, there’s a communication about the business solution. There’s also a conversation about the wider market and about the personal credibility of the participants. Sometimes the slides used in pitches are just excuses for the interaction. The slides are used to assess both the market vision of the firm and the adaptability if the executives to adjust to the market and conversation. The solution pitch is used to assess the ability of executives to adapt.

Continue reading Your pitch to analysts isn’t just about your solution

Kea Company acquires UK analyst relations consultancy Active Influence

Merger consolidates Kea Company’s position as world’s largest analyst relations consultancy

January 19, 2017. London — Kea Company, the world’s largest analyst relations consultancy, today completed its acquisition of Active Influence. Founded in 2010, Active Influence has helped many of the world’s largest technology companies to gain measurable business benefit from their relationships with analyst firms. Founder Richard East has become a partner in Kea Company, which obtained substantially all of Active Influence’s intellectual property and assets at the end of 2016.
Continue reading Kea Company acquires UK analyst relations consultancy Active Influence

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? Continue reading Thought Leaders

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. Continue reading There’s no Such Thing as a Free Lunch