Does it Matter if Analysts Firms Aren’t Entirely Pay-to-Play if the Procurement space thinks they are?

As expected, the doctor‘s question on whether Traditional Analyst and Consulting Models Outdated and/or Unethical? on LinkedIn has led to some debate.

Most notably, Duncan Jones indicated that he’s pretty sure [the dozens of smaller vendors] are mistaken when they told the doctor they won’t get covered (and sometimes not even given the opportunity to brief) by at least one of three big analyst firms unless they become a client and/or spend 50K+ on a write-up/research bundle as well as not sure about what ‘coverage’ they hope to get as a “smaller vendor” wouldn’t qualify for a Wave of MQ.

Duncan suspects that this may be the result of just a few unscrupulous salespersons telling prospects that they will get preferred treatment (which implies if you don’t pay, you don’t get any) and admitted that there is often pressure from a salesperson. But based on some of the conversations the doctor has had, it’s definitely gone beyond gentle pressure, because, true or not, there are a number of smaller vendors that adamantly believe they will not get any coverage or any time from at least one of the well known analyst firms unless they pay a package or client fee that they see as extortionary. (Note:  Not necessarily the same firm in each case!)

So now the doctor has to ask, even if it’s just a few bad apples trying to hit (possibly unreasonable in the current economic climate) quotas, does it matter if the analyst firms are not truly pay-to-play if the general perception among small and mid-sized vendors (who might be the next generation of big players that they would want to include in their 2*2s/maps) are that the analyst firms are pay-to-play and, more importantly, if the next generation of potential client vendors have a very bad taste in their mouths from the rotten apples they were fed by these select few unscrupulous individuals (to the point where they may never even take a call from those firms again)?