More analyst layoffs add to analyst relations challenges

BarbaraAnalyst relations, Influencer identification, influencer program

Following on the heels of layoffs at Gartner and AMR Research, comes word that Yankee Group and iSuppli also reduced headcount. Yankee Group CEO Emily Nagel discussed the reduction in the company blog. Meanwhile, there is word of a reduction at iSuppli, a firm that just recently acquired Telematics Research Group (TRG). This much consolidation in the tech industry analyst community has implications for analyst relations and influencer programs.

Tech suppliers can react in one of two ways.

The most common reaction is list management. The premise is that you automatically replace one analyst name on your list of influencers with another analyst name. When somebody moves out, you move somebody up.

That’s exactly what the analyst salespeople want tech suppliers — and IT decision makers — to do. Swap one analyst with another. Treat them as interchangeable parts. Transfer your trust, no hesitation.

That strategy would work really well, if analysts were toasters.

The other option is research. This entails pulsing your salesforce and decision-makers and evaluating the overall market segment, to find out how influence is shifting on the ground. The idea is that you think outside the box, and make no assumptions that one analyst is replaced by another analyst out in the marketplace.

You may find that a trusted analyst is being supplanted by a consultant or a thought leader from an IT association. You may find most decision-makers taking a wait-and-see attitude, opting for no immediate adjustments to their circle of advisors.

In the end, trust is not about lists or toasters or interchangeable people. Trust is personal, especially when company or career is on the line.

Short-term, there’s little likelihood that you can uncover every decision where an exiting analyst was advising. Look into the priority transactions in your pipeline; assess and act on those situations on a case by case basis.

For the long haul? My advice is don’t rush to revise your influencer list. Live with the gaps until the dust settles and you can figure out what’s really happening.