Updated: Jun 10
Analysts and vendors have a complex relationship, but they share a critical stakeholder - the buying customer. The vendor is selling widgets. The analyst is selling advice on widgets. And whether they are in alignment or disagreement over the quality of that widget, the customer is in the middle. Good analyst relations makes it a dance, not a tug of war.
Analysts need vendors. Analysts depend on vendor information, experience and perspective as critical inputs to their industry knowledge. Vendors need analysts. A positive review by an independent third party can open an opportunity or close a sale. And the insights they offer on the marketplace can change the course of a vendor’s plans and products.
Several analysts opine in the book, Analysts on Analyst Relations, about how they see the relationship with vendors. Rachel Happe (formerly of IDC), Mike Guay (formerly of Gartner), and others talk about what they want, need, and can offer vendors.
A related and interesting question revolves around money. Ask most vendor executives and they’ll tell you that analysts are pay-for-play and if you spend enough money, they’ll rate you well and promote your brand. But, that’s hogwash. Those who really know the game understand that any analyst who advises buyers, or any analysts with scruples can’t taint their reputation with vendor bias. Does every analyst have scruples? No. Be wary of any that offer to support all your messages and position you positively for a buck. By all accounts, they have no influence and your money will be wasted.
Several analysts from a variety of firms weigh in. Ray Wang (Constellation), Rik Turner (Omdia) and Dan Newman (Futurum) and others discuss how they separate commercial relationships from their analyst role. Analysts believe in the value they bring through their unbiased research and advice, and strongly protect that value.
Find the win-win with the analysts that matter to you. When you balance the needs of all the players you bring utmost value to analysts, customers, and the vendor.