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Wildly Effective Inquiries in 5 Easy Steps

Updated: Apr 12

What?  Analyst inquiries are not rocking your world? You don’t think they’re the greatest thing since sliced bagels? You’re not even taking full advantage of your inquiry rights? 

Whoa.  Hold on. Inquiries (with GartnerForresterIDC, etc.) are not some “necessary evil.” They are one of the best ways to learn from an analyst and understand their thinking. You can also use them to impress, influence, and position yourself. 

This doesn’t come free. Most firms sell a package of written research with a one-to-one verbal inquiry bundled in. For most firms, subscriptions are sold by the seat, and only seatholders can have these calls. Smaller firms occasionally sell inquiries without the research. 

Inquiries are two-way dialogues where you set the agenda. They are usually 30-minute video calls. They’re your chance to dig deep and thoroughly cover a topic of your interest. You can typically schedule them with a particular analyst on a monthly or quarterly basis.

The typical vendor under-utilizes inquiries and misses out on the ROI. They don’t do it enough and don’t do it effectively. Not you! You’re going to read this article and learn to squeeze every advantage possible out of the process. You’re going to probe the analysts for their knowledge of market trends, buyer needs, competitive strategies and more. You’re going to harness their research and expertise to sell more of your product.

Inquiries have two purposes:

  • Insights: You are seeking the analyst’s input on your products, messages, positioning, partnering, etc. You are probing an expert with broad market knowledge and a perspective outside of your company’s internal viewpoints.

  • Advocacy: You are building a relationship and developing advocacy of your company. You want to be highly engaging, interactive, and impressive, but temper your approach with the knowledge that these are world-class experts – not your average customer. 

Many inquiries will shoot to accomplish both.

An inquiry is not a briefing. A briefing is a one-way presentation where you are educating the analyst on your products, message, and strategy. They are free and open to anyone in your organization.  Briefings are an important part of your engagement plan, but their outcomes are limited because you do all the talking.  Check out my blog on briefings:

5 Steps to Great Inquiries

  1. Engage the right analyst: If you’re looking for insights, find the analyst that is most knowledgeable on your topic of interest.  That analyst may not be the most influential.  But if you’re looking to build relationships, focus on analysts who write significant reports and conduct relevant buyer inquiries. You’re looking for influence. Ideally, find an analyst who checks both boxes. 

  2. Clarify objectives: Determine your purpose. Be specific. What’s your objective? What does success look like? Then go for it. 

  3. Prepare questions and discussion points:  What conversations will achieve your objectives? 

  4. Listen and learn to get results: Analysts are experts and expect to be regarded as such. Let them talk. Listen carefully. Allow them center stage. Be curious, interested and interesting. When you share your view, do it respectfully. 

  5. Take action: Don’t waste the wisdom. Follow up internally. Never follow any advice blindly, but consider the analyst’s perspective carefully. If the advice had an impact, cycle back and let them know. If you don’t agree with the advice, don’t just drop it. Have solid reasons at your next inquiry. Either way, you’re building the relationship. 

So optimize inquiries.  Do them often. Do them well. Use them to extend your knowledge and improve your decisions. Get utmost value out of your analyst investments. Make your organization more effective, more agile, and more successful by using analyst inquiries to harness these important and influential experts.

(If you're a member of the IIAR community, checkout the paper I helped write on the topic:

Let’s talk about how inquiries can help your business: 

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Nice post, enjoyed our collaboration on this IIAR> Best Practice :-)


This is great stuff!!

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