Working with Industry Analysts: Eight Tips for Entrepreneurs

Before I joined Altimeter Group, I worked in Marketing and PR/Analyst relations. During that time, I counseled hundreds of entrepreneurs on how to work most effectively with industry analysts. Now that I’m an analyst myself, I find that most of what I advised then was correct, with a few tweaks along the way as the industry has grown and changed.

This is the substance of a talk I prepared for The Alchemist Series, a series of events, including panel-driven discussions and lectures, that explore significant milestones in the trajectory of the development of a business.  The deck is based on my experience on both sides of the industry analyst fence–as well as the input of my colleagues at Altimeter Group. To that end, I’d love to hear from other analysts and, of course, entrepreneurs themselves, about experiences and questions they’ve encountered along the way.

Thanks, feel free to share, and I hope you find it useful.

About susanetlinger

Industry Analyst at Altimeter Group
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One Response to Working with Industry Analysts: Eight Tips for Entrepreneurs

  1. Susan:

    This is a terrific presentation and overview of how the sell-side (vendors) can and should utilize an Analyst firm. I have provided some f y sights for the end-user community on the SMB Research (http://smbresearch.net) blog, “How to use a technology Analyst Firm”, http://smbresearch.net/using-a-technology-analyst-firm/.

    I particularly like your point that with the Analyst firm industry in a state of some flux, it is undoubtedly more difficult than ever for the sellside to understand the firm / business model that they are interacting with.

    While it is laudable for a part to thoroughly study and understand the Analyst with whom they are interacting, this may be expecting too much in all cases. At the very least, the other party should, I would recommend, very directly inquire as to the Analyst firm’s revenue model to ensure that there is an alignment of expectations.

    In my experience having sat through hundreds of vendor presentations, there is considerable misunderstanding of how to make the best use of an Analyst, regardless of their business model.

    Much as you have summarized on Slide #17 some recommended rules of engagement during the interaction / presentation, I issued these recommendations to vendors prior to their meeting with us to help them make the most of our time together:

    1) Do not use a presentation that you use for your customers. Analysts are obviously not customers, and so to try to use the same presentation is inappropriate and ineffective.

    2) Do not provide an advertisement for your offering. (We’re immune.) As Analysts, we need to hear the story behind the story – the facts, numbers, the strategy, the results, the good and the bad.

    3) Practice full disclosure. Anything less is marketing suicide on your part. Assume that we know more than we are saying. If we have to hear the real story from someone else, rather than from you, your case and story are likely to leave us with more questions than answers, which means no one’s time together was well-spent.

    4) Rather than using the tired, old canard that you have no competition (which may or may not be good for you, in any case), help the Analyst at least triangulate where your offering fits by talking about adjacent, if not competitive, solutions / services. It is a mistake to assume that the mere mention of “no competition” is a universal positive.

    5) Plan your time carefully. Although your mileage may vary, it may not be a bad idea to prepare a presentation that can be presented in about half of the allotted time, with any other slides intentionally included for later reference. This leaves enough time for thorough discussion, and will ensure that we do not leave the meeting with half of your slides still to be seen and discussed.

    Best regards,
    Bob Eastman

    Like

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