Wednesday, January 4, 2012

How to Maximize Briefings with ACG Research

I have been in the industry analyst business long enough that I forget not every vendor fully understands our role and how to talk to us. There are general guidelines that make our lives easier and in turn the vendors’ lives easier. This advice is for vendors who are not currently customers.

First and most importantly, ACG wants to hear from you. Scheduling a briefing is simple; just send our analysts an e-mail us letting us know you’d like to talk to us. If we do not cover your product, we will let you know – we do not want to waste your time or our time on unproductive briefings. For us, productivity is measured in gathering data about the market and in finding new clients. So if you want to have continued conversations with us, we need to have something to show for it. We typically offer some free advice and information during the briefings as a good will gesture, but do not count on it. If your only goal is to get free consulting, we will eventually stop taking your calls.

What information do we want? We need to know how well your product is selling, by geography, vertical and/or application. We want to understand your positioning, market messages, differentiation and high-level architectural details. Additionally, getting customer references helps us validate everything.

During the briefing we are looking for specific information about your company, details you are allowed to share. If you cannot share the info, just let us know that you cannot share that level of detail. We do understand; you do not have to give the long-winded explanation. However, I would like know as much as you are allowed to share. If I ask about DSLAM shipments by theater and you cannot tell me directly, but can say that DSLAMs are a little heavier than the group average in APAC, that at least gives me some direction so I can do my job.

I and many analysts have been in your shoes, so I understand your issues and motivations. I know that you want us to say positive things about your company in our reports, to the press, Wall Street analysts and to customers. To do so, we need a reciprocal exchange of information.

My final bit of advice is to not treat us like adversaries. Yes, we will publish things that upset you and your boss — every company that we cover that has probably disagreed with us at some point. We are not out to make your life difficult, but instead call it like we see it. If you do not like our numbers, analysis or opinion, then engage us in a dialog. We will gladly share and debate our methodology and assumptions. And if we need correcting, what better source than you.

For more about consultants/analysts, read 10 Things the Top Consultants Do.



David Dines
ddines@acgresearch.net
www.acgresearch.net

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