A Forrester Wave or Magic Quadrant just published. You sigh in relief and pat yourself on the back for another job accomplished. But if you’re like us, it’s not too long before the question starts to creep in – how do we do better next year?
No matter if you and the analyst author are entirely in sync, or if there are discrepancies in your beliefs, rest is short-lived in AR. Year over year, we have to determine where an analyst agrees with us and where we have differences – and then plan our strategy accordingly.
When you and an analyst don’t see eye-to-eye
It’s unlikely you and an analyst see your category’s landscape exactly the same. While it’s always nice to get credit from analysts for things that you think you’re great at, it’s a little frustrating if you don’t get credit for the other things.
From our experience, we’ve found that vendors typically encounter three scenarios with analysts:
They feel something is more important than the analyst does.
The analyst thinks something is more important than the vendors do.
Both the analyst and vendors think it’s important, but vendors think they do it better than the analyst thinks they do it.
So what is your strategy for forward momentum in each of these situations? How do you close the gap between what you believe and what the analyst sees?
Reconcile the differences with Spotlight’s Positioning Model
When our clients reach impasses like this with a key analyst, we use a positioning model to think through the similarities and differences between what we believe and what the analyst believes.
Depending on where things land, we recommend that our clients may need to adjust their messaging, their interaction type, their tonality, their spokesperson and even their resource material. Making these strategic adjustments can help them win the conversation moving forward.
Promote – If the analyst weighs a category extremely high, and you perform strongly in that category, you need to promote your features and expertise. If your capabilities fall in this quadrant emphasize and play to your strengths.
Convince – If one of your strong capabilities is undervalued in the analyst’s mind, you need to provide evidence that the market values this capability. If your capabilities fall in this quadrant, convince the analyst that this problem has primacy and your capability is solving an important client need.
Roadmap – If the analyst highly weights a capability, but your features are still in development or they have been backlogged, you need to show momentum and progress of those features. If your capabilities fall in this quadrant you need to develop and communicate your roadmap to show how investments are being made.
Ignore – If the analyst sees a category as table stakes and your capability is also weak comparatively, you need to acknowledge the deficiency, but don’t emphasize it. If your capabilities fall in this quadrant, you need to quickly move on from this and focus on mind-melding with the analyst on other areas. Time with an analyst is incredibly valuable, and you need to make sure you are focusing on the right things.
As you can see, this model helps reconcile the analyst’s view of the world and what they value compared to a vendor’s offerings. Knowing how the analyst views the world mapped to your strengths, will help you identify what your engagement strategy should be for the next evaluation report.