technology analyst 101 for startups - why

At Gartner, I spent a fair bit of time with startups. Many of whom didn't know what to do with analysts. Now that I'm other side of the table, here's a 101 on tech analysts for startups.

Tech Analyst 101 for Startups

Part One - introduction to analysts / what they do

Part Two - why you want to talk to them / what they can do for you

Part Three - how to engage with them / what you should do with them

Part Four - wrapup / tl;dr and tips from analysts

Part Two - Why

Remember that their customers are users, makers, investors. If they work with your (potential) customer, your (potential) competition, or your (potential) investors—chances are you should be talking to that analyst because.. 

What analysts can do for you indirectly:

  • Users: Tell them you exist and are worth looking at for project X.
    • Customers will ask analysts about you, your product, your potential, your competition, etc.
  • Makers: Tell them you exist and are worth buying for product gap Y.
    • Big vendors will ask analysts about you, your product, your team, your potential, your competition, etc.
  • Investors: Tell them you exist and are worth investing in for thesis Z.
    • Investors will ask analysts to gut check your pitch, during due diligence, and to verify your product-market-fit. 

What analysts can do for you directly:

  • Marketing: Message development, testing, and segmentation—
    • Are we using the right words? Does the story make sense? Are we actually articulating value? Are we saying anything compelling? 
    • How do we create the end user, influencer, and buyer versions of the message?
    • Will this work with a foreign audience? Will this work with partner of type Y? Will this work with investor of type Z?
  • Product: Roadmap and strategy—
    • Is this the right strategy for getting into market X in front of buyer Y competing against vendor Z?
    • Is this the right roadmap? Should certain features get prioritized over others for customers of type X? Or for differentiation amongst 5 known competitors?
    • What aren’t we thinking about? What are we missing? Where will we get steamrolled by incumbents or competitors?
  • Business Development: Strategy and tactics—
    • Should we work with partners? What kind? Which specific ones?
    • What’s the best model to go to market with partners? What should partner agreements and contracts look like? How do we keep from getting screwed and/or sued?
    • What do we have to do to enable and support partners? 
  • Sales: Pricing and packaging—
    • Is the product packaged in a way that makes sense and matches how end users consume this kind of thing?
    • Does the pricing make sense? Is it too low? Too high? How does it compare to all the other vendors in the field?
    • What will the objections be? Who’s the real buyer? Who are the influencers? Who are the likely champions? 

Next, how you should engage with analysts.