Managing AR Risk: When a New Analyst Covers Your Segment – Part Two

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In our previous blog we discussed the three kinds of analyst personas you are most likely to encounter when dealing with a new analyst: the Rookie, the Veteran and the Disruptor. Each of these three personas will have different dynamics and a slightly different approach may be required for each:

  • The Rookie: As we previously stated, the Rookie analyst is yet to become jaded by a never ending tide of vendor briefings and PowerPoint presentations. Because they are new to the game they’ll eventually be looking to advance their own theories on the segment – but first they have a credibility and knowledge gap to overcome. You may find that they’re more amenable to fresh thinking than their more established colleagues. Brief them early, be particularly generous with sharing insights and make sure you provide them with as much access to subject matter experts as possible.
  • Figure Out Their History and Trajectory: If the analyst is very early in their working career then it pays to pay attention to their former roles, or the type of college degrees they have, as this may inform a good deal of how they approach the industry from an academic perspective. Some analysts love historical analogies, some are big sci-fi fans, etc. Buy the analyst dinner and get a sense of where they’ve come from, what interests them and why they decided to become an analyst. Listen to how they’re finding the gig so far. If they’re struggling with some of the technical insights, help educate them and go into as much specificity as is required. Analysts have to track and understand a crazy amount of technical details.
  • Open New Doors: They may already have a good roster of friendly contacts among executives, media, investors and vendors, but it certainly can’t hurt for you to offer to make a few helpful introductions for them. This can go a long way if you know specific people who they really want to meet. They’ll be hungry to source unique insights their competitors can’t – especially from established experts with clout.
  • Enjoy The Greater Access (While You Can): Unencumbered by a vendor landscape report they initially have more time to spend on multiple projects and reports than their senior colleagues, so they may be able to take more briefings than their peers. They might also have more time available for inquiry calls, so take advantage of getting on their inquiry schedules quickly while you can, before word gets out.
  • The Veteran: The veteran faces a different set of pressures to the rookie. Already established, the veteran is much in demand, definitely overworked and time poor. The name of the game here is figuring out where their approach differs from their predecessor. The answer here may be not much, but don’t assume anything. Run an inquiry immediately (their calendar is likely pretty full) to get a sense of what they want to hear about most. It’s a chance for a new beginning if there were any previous issues with their predecessor. Take careful note of any pet peeves the analyst has. Ensure you get a good sense of their preferred channels of communication and cadence for information – they’re already busy meeting new vendors and clients and now they have a new space to get up to speed on as well. If you have budget, consider running a strategy advisory session once they’ve had several months to settle into the role (but don’t leave it too long, you want to build momentum with them). Ask around the AR community for tips on dealing with this analyst. Feedback from folks who already know the analyst may help you identify (and avoid) any hot button issues.
  • The Disruptor: This analyst needs the most caution and scrutiny. Read as much of their former research as you can to get a sense of their thought process. Pay particular attention to pet theories. People are creatures of habit and if they have a past theory they may well want to bring a variation of that idea to your segment. If they are taking over a Magic Quadrant – or other type of vendor landscape report – note any changes in criteria and which capabilities they are weighting most heavily. They may change jargon, definitions and even the scoring ratios of the report. Be wary of category reinvention! If they are trying to create a new category of their own, or are merging two previously distinct segments, that’s a huge change. You may not even have that other segment’s capability in your portfolio. This can totally change the landscape for participating vendors, so pay careful attention to the details. Run inquiries early and consistently to see how their views are evolving. Ask around the AR community as well. If you get signs that they have a pet theory that closely aligns with a competitors…or that they are very dissatisfied with historical analysis of the segment…then that’s when alarm bells should ring. Ensure your exec team is forewarned and prepared for this scenario.

Ultimately, whichever analyst ‘persona’ you encounter, they will be most persuaded by the quality of your customer references, that you delivered the promised benefits, that you are a viable business and that your technology roadmap is sound.

Having trouble with a new analyst? Why not drop me a line and we can take a closer look at how to turn the situation around.