The Importance of Industry Analysts
Sales teams probably meet more customers than industry analysts. Vendor executives probably have more visibility on what actually sells. Even the consultants and process developers probably have more experience than an industry analyst on what really works and what’s hype.
So why are industry analysts so important? Two reasons:
1. They listen to customers
2. They affect sales
Analysts listen to customers
They listen to customers. Actually listen to them. Sales teams talk to customers. They don’t listen. Sales ask questions that have an agenda behind them.
If, by mistake, a customer starts talking about business problems that the software can’t solve – Sales will politely return the customer to the right track – talking about business problems that their software can solve.
Industry analysts actually listen to all of the customer’s problems. This enables them to see trends, business pains, effectiveness of solutions. The forest from the trees.
Customers feel more comfortable talking to analysts, as they are paid to find the best solution for their problems – not just a good solution for some of their problems.
Industry analysts affect sales
From the vendor’s point-of-view: A customer that contacts an industry analyst, is automatically a qualified lead. This means they are actively looking for a BPM solution.
For a vendor, there is no better reference than an industry analyst recommending the vendor to the customer. It’s nearly a done deal.
Spending budget on analyst relations is probably more effective than spending money on marketing and PR.
Additional bells and whistles
Industry analysts also educate the public on BPM. They also generate BPM hype (indirectly affects vendor sales). They cause a bit of competition between the vendors. They set industry standards.
Like everyone, Industry analysts need to make a living. Some earn money through publications, some through consulting and some through selling “product reviews” and “quotes”. What they do to earn money does not affect their ranking in the eyes of a vendor.
Industry analyst ranking in the eyes of the vendor
Forget the analyst reputation hype. Businesses look at the bottom line: who brought the most potential customers. A smaller industry analyst that referenced more customers – automatically becomes an industry leader in the eyes of the vendor. The proof is in the pudding.
Their recommendations are then ranked higher than other analyst recommendations.
Impact on vendor strategy
Industry analysts provide trends, casestudies and predictions. Vendors focus a lot of attention on industry analyst predictions. These predictions are discussed in vendor strategy meetings and become part of the vendor’s roadmap.
Industry analysts are an important part of every vendor’s business strategy.
My only concern is that analysts can provide great information on what customers want, but cannot always provide the information on what customers actually need.
I’m a technical lead in a BPM company. I don’t do analyst relations, nor am I in contact with industry analysts.
The views expressed in this article and the blog are mine, not my employer’s.
(If my CEO ever finds this blog he will probably hang me by my bollocks.)