There are a number of influential damnations, but as per our post last yer, analysts are among the worst. Why?
- Analysts are the Gatekeepers of the Gold Seal of Approval
Just because you have this great new product that contains at least half a dozen innovative features and functions not (yet) found in the competitors’ products, and just because you built one of the best solutions on the market, that doesn’t mean that you will even get a mention in the back pages of a local business journal until it gets a star of approval as an “emerging” solution.
- If You’re Not on Their Lists, You’re Not on BigCo’s List
The best way to get coverage, paid or otherwise, is to get a big win. But a big win won’t happen until a big company adopts your solution and gets a big result it wants to advertise to the world. But the chances of a big company even including you on an RFx are slim to none if you’re not on an analyst’s shortlist.
- If You Won’t Pay to Play, You Might Never Get on the Analyst Firm’s Shortlist
Analyst firms have two major client pools: BigCos that want to buy the best (tech) solutions and TechCos that want to supply those solutions. BigCos pay for access to the research library and analyst time and TechCos also pay for access to the research library and analyst time to help them draft an attractive roadmap. As a result, the TechCos that get the bulk of consideration are the TechCos that are (big) customers.
- If You’re Not a Big Client, Good Luck Making the Perilous Pyramid
Even if you happen to get the attention of the lead analyst on the research report and even if the lead analyst likes you, if your solution is too much of a threat to the research firm’s big TechCo clients good luck meeting the bulk of criteria for inclusion. Minimum revenue, core modules, absolute feature lists, etc. tend to change year to year in a manner that tends to keep big TechCo clients in and keep their biggest threats out.
So what can you do (especially if you don’t have the ability or inclination to write a cheque with a lot of zeroes)?
Don’t be ultra secretive. Don’t shy away from demos. And definitely don’t ask for an NDA. (Which, by the way, is really, really stupid. How can they write about you if you tie them up in an NDA?) Just like customers like a provider that is open and honest (and focussed on helping them solve their problem, not force-feeding a canned solution down their throat), so do (good) analysts.
Educate them on what you do, why you do it, and why it’s important. Case studies, calculations, efficiency improvements, cost reductions, ROI(C), impact on WACC, etc. Make sure the analyst understands the value to the customer, how much comes from the uniqueness of your offering, how you will educate the customer to help them do better, and how you will continue to improve the solution.
And Be Prepared to Use the Back Door.
If the analyst in question doesn’t care about openness and education, find an analyst that covers an overlapping area in the same firm who is. Especially one that knows she needs to learn and is willing to listen. They can be your way in, and can often hold more influence over their peers than any pay check you could provide.