How do analysts influence B2B technology purchases?

Industry analysts are market experts and influencers who play a crucial role in B2B technology purchasing decisions.  There are a number of ways in which they influence these decisions including recommendations by creating vendor shortlists, producing influential reports, contribute to bespoke projects and vendor or customer engagements and are authoritative independent voices in industry events and in the media.

Let’s tackle each of these areas in turn.

Analyst need to have a detailed understanding of the sectors they cover.  Only in doing this can they regard themselves as independent and authoritative voices. Aside from their core function of understanding technology solutions and their benefits, analysts make recommendations in vendor shortlists for clients looking to invest in specific technologies.  Vendors need to have robust and effective marketing plans including analyst relations strategies, to ensure analysts have a complete understanding of the value they provide with their solutions.

Although the role of analysts has changed in recent years, their major research published each year is still regarded as important. Reports such as the Gartner Magic Quadrants and Ovum Decision Matrix, generate media interest. They also becoming important promotional tools. Vendors in the much-vaunted upper righthand quadrant – an indication that they are market leaders, waste little time in promoting positive ratings in these reports.

Major reports are covered by interested industry watchers and trade media. For example, the profiles and company positions on the Gartner Integrated Revenue and Customer Management (IRCM) Magic Quadrant will be closely followed by all the telecoms software vendors covered, and by the service providers who purchase those IRCM solutions.

There are a number of other areas where analysts play an influential role in the technology market. Other research such as paid for commissioned reports, influences technology decisions by generating collateral used by in-house sales and marketing teams to target prospective customers.

The process of commissioning this research enables more analyst engagement. It ensures clients have direct access to established analysts who produce the vendor shortlists mentioned earlier. In some paid research projects and consulting engagements, the use of inbound inquiry calls is a powerful tool to engage with analyst.

Inquiry calls enable companies more time to speak directly with these analysts, produce detailed analysis of solutions, and of business strategy and product roadmaps. Crucially in some cases, it allows the analyst access to customer insight where a vendor’s solution is deployed. This insight of product implementation and its benefits, is part of what the analyst needs to make an informed decision when creating the vendor shortlists for prospects.

The modern role of analyst influence in the technology sector also extends to speaking engagements at industry events and analyst conferences. These events, such as Gartner Symposium and TM Forum Live or Mobile World Congress are costly to participate and attend, but still attract significant numbers of C-level attendees and generate media coverage.

Sometimes overlooked but just as important is that industry analyst research is also used by equity analysts, as a basis for their recommendations to the financial community. When technology purchase decisions are made, industry analysts are very often one of the first groups of influencers who are consulted.  In addition, they provide trade and business journalists with insight and media quotes in articles and news stories.

In conclusion, analysts play a significant role in the process of technology purchasing. From information gathering and vendor identification through to vendor assessment and selection, analysts play an influential role in the final decision made by customers. Those tasked with creating an effective marketing strategy place technology analysts as a priority audience. Those bypassing analyst influence do so at their peril, running the risk of handing an opportunity for thought leadership and greater brand awareness and business growth to competitors.

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