Things You Just Shouldn’t Do In Industry Analysis

Date Published: December 18, 2020
Or I could just as easily title this, “Why They Won’t Respect You In The Morning.” I am talking about the ways in which analysts and/or a firm will weaken their standing in the eyes of potential customers in the hopes of making a sale. You would think that people would figure out the downside to being too eager to please but the fact that prospective buyers still make certain requests tells me that some folks haven’t.
Forget the notion that the customer is always right or that you have to sell out in order to win business. I have seen far too many companies adopt seriously unprofessional tactics when dealing with analyst firms. And unless you and or your firm stop following their lead then the profession will continue to suffer.

Practices to Avoid:

You don’t have to spend an hour on the phone with that company that wants to interview several firms under the guise that they doing due diligence when all they really want is free consulting. 

Agreeing to give prospects a free hour of analyst time if the lead hasn’t been properly vetted.  Sales reps should understand that analyst time is valuable and will only be given to situations that warrant it. Instead, train them better.

Giving away products at serious discounts to prove something to a prospective client. There are excerpts, older reports and other ways to educate a prospective client.  Selling the product short sends a weak message.

Giving away your numbers so that a company can evaluate them and see if you are worth buying.  

Other Don’ts:

Giving away your forecasts to a company looking to add credibility to their PowerPoint deck who lack budget despite their promise to make sure you get credit.

Don’t take extended briefings or offer feedback to companies that have budgets available for PR agencies or your competitors but never anything for your reports.

Sign your name to vendor press release quotes that they write for you.

Accept and publish profiles that the vendor provided you.  By all means solicit their feedback for accuracy but do your own stuff.

Rely upon start-ups going on their fifth year “help you” with your research in return for a copy of your report.


Don’t give PR agency clients a free report in exchange for setting up a spin job briefing.

The ilumatech Empowerment Plan:
Feeling better now? A bit more confident? Good. But in order to enforce some standards I think it is important to consider the following:
Establish yourself and your firm as someone that companies HAVE TO deal with. If you are not a top tier firm or a rock star analyst then work on being a player who knows what’s going on and be the one that the reporters and trade web sites quote frequently. Be seen in all the right places, participate in the important conversations taking place in the market and spend your time associating with people who can advance your prospects.
Next, be sure to have good data. I know that sounds rather obvious but if more people published quality analysis then there would be far fewer hacks in the market and all of the bad practices I mentioned above would fail to survive. And once you get yourself to a place (if you didn’t do it already) where your analysis is first rate then make sure that everyone in the industry who matters sees it.
If you are going to take briefings, make sure you come prepared to ask tough questions and push back on spin. Be the analyst or firm that doesn’t roll over. Ask the companies to prove what they say. And tell them what you think then and there. Publish your impressions about the meeting afterwards. The PR department and expensive outside agency won’t necessarily like it, but so what? It isn’t your job to act like an extension of their marketing department. And, if you showed up correct, showed you know the market and offered good feedback then the senior people on the company side might just be impressed enough with you to want to buy you. But on your terms, not theirs.
If you are going to do a call with a prospect who wants to test your knowledge, know when it’s time for you to stop talking and tell them that you have given them what you can give them and turn it over to the sales dept. If you are Mr./Ms/ Nice Guy/Gal, bring someone to the call with the designated power to redirect the conversation to the company’s interest in buying. Furthermore, if you can’t explain within 15 minutes what makes you and your report worth buying then you probably never will. In that instance cutting the call off won’t likely change anything since you either couldn’t communicate your value proposition or the person looking for free time wasn’t likely to buy anything anyway.
And there are several other way in which an individual or small firm can establish credibility and respect in the market through excellence in research, analysis, relationship management and communications. And yes, saying no can go a long way as well.