It so happens that when I was at Gartner I spent a fair bit of time with startups. Many of whom didn't know what to do with me. Or thought they did and were sorely mistaken. Thus a 101 on tech analysts for startups, finished here. :)
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 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 Four - Wrapup
Analysts are not press.
Analysts serve: end users, vendors, investors.
Analysts provide procurement, product, and investment decision support.
If your customers are other startups or bleeding edge technology companies, analysts are probably useless (unless they’re RedMonk and you care very much about developers).
Otherwise, analysts are used by your customers, acquirers, and investors to understand, evaluate, and position you. Whether you like it or not.
Figure out who the right analysts are that cover what you do and brief them regularly.
The right analysts can help you with strategy, marketing, product, business development, and sales—if you become their customer.
What other analysts (current and former) have to say about it
Roughly presented in the order in which they were received on twitter. :)
Biggest thing is to accept that you need help, and more importantly, where you need help.
- Steve O’Grady (RedMonk) // @sogrady
(1) Have a realistic perspective on what your place is in the ecosystem, competitive landscape. (2) Analysts are not cheerleaders. (3) Analysts there to give constructive criticism so tell you your challenges and deliver a solution (not just saying you suck).
- Vanessa Alvarez (ex-Forrester) // @VanessaAlvarez1
(1) Make sure your talking to the right analyst - everyone's time is wasted if your not talking to the right guy. (2) Show understanding of your limits, no startup is going to solve everything, understand your limits & sell what makes you different. (3) The best thing you can show me is actual product, not powerpoints (but I'm a tech analyst).
- Gunnar Berger (Gartner) // @gunnarwb
Get your story straight. What market are you in, and how are you different there? You probably won't create a market for yourself.
- Jenny Sussin (Gartner) // @JSussin
Don't say, "Oh, you're a woman. We just assumed you weren't technical." Really nothing beginning with "Oh, you're a woman..."
Also, the startup should assume the analyst understands the area they cover. Explaining the basics is a waste of time.
- Lydia Leong (Gartner) // @cloudpundit
Do your homework. Don't waste time brainwashing (doesn't work). Understand that my goal is not trashing you but protecting my clients.
Don't expect that I suggest or recommend slideware to my clients.
- Alessandro Perilli (Gartner) // @a_perilli
Whenever I speak to traditional vendors, they are always interested in partnering/acquiring disruptors. Make [my] list.
I WANT to hear from more startups. Rarely hear innovation coming from "traditional players”. Show me how you solve real probs.
Be prepared, you only have one chance to make the first impression. Have seen some terrible presos from startups.
- Rick Holland (Forrester) // @rickhholland
I have clients (end user & vendor) who tell me they want to hear about you. Some want to partner, etc. Others may participate in a beta.
Use briefings, twitter, email, LinkedIn messages, informal chats via phone, and meet up at an event/conference.
- Heidi Shey (Forrester) // @heidishey
Keep it real. No ass kissing BS.
- Chris Wolf (Gartner) // @cswolf
I loved hearing from founders who were pissed off about the way something worked/cost/etc and how they wanted to fix the problem.
Get the problem space and market failures identified before feature/function or speeds/feeds or at least understand that I could help validate/refute/ adjust the start-ups assumptions on that front.
- Abner Germanow (ex-IDC)// @abnerg
Why should a customer talk to you? Don't play to the analysts ego!
- Matt Eastwood (IDC) // @matteastwood
If you don't understand the value of analysts, find a trusted third party who does and ask them.
- Donnie Berkholz (RedMonk) // @dberkholz
Unfortunately, a lot of people see analysts as an extension of marketing #wrong!
- Floyd Strimling (Platen Report) // @platenreport
Why? Messaging review, collateral review, product strategy, competitive analysis, trends, futures.
- Jonah Kowall (Gartner) // @jkowall
Shed assumptions, reach out and touch someone. (Not all) analysts bite!
- Jarod Greene (Gartner) // @jarodgreene
The more forthcoming you are, the better. If you're just giving us marketing BS, save your breath.
- Wendy Nather (451) // @451wendy
Analysts are usually micro or macro focused. Figure out which type they are. Act on your goals for interacting with them, not theirs.
- Michael Cote (451) // @cote
Don't tell me how you are special for reinventing the wheel. Highlight competitors and what makes you different/worthwhile.
- Trevor Pott // @cakeis_not_alie
Do you have time to keep track of the market? You’re not working hard enough. Hire us.
- Merv Adrian (Gartner) // @merv
Make it a regular conversation instead of a PR pitch at the time of need. Medium has changed. With blogs and twitter, more non traditional avenues are available through the "independent" analysts—easier access to these analysts than the traditional ones. Journalists prefer a quick check with them than the trad path to trad analysts.
- Krishnan Subramanian (ex-analyst) // @krishnan
Don’t be shy. Just reach out and build a relationship with us.
- Ben Kepes (independent) // @benkepes
Be open. Inform with proof points. Do it often.
- Eric Goodness (Gartner) // @EFGoodness
Quick answers to questions don't guarantee inclusion, but slow answers guarantee exclusion.
- Eric Knipp (Gartner) // @erichknipp
From RedMonk: The Startup’s Guide to Working With RedMonk
From Jeremiah Owyang: What an Effective Analyst Briefing is Like
From Chenxi Wang (Forrester): Be A Good Marketer And Win Over Your Analyst In 8 Slides
From Michael Cote (RedMonk, 451): Dealing with industry analysts for startups
Have questions? Need advice? Etc? Feel free to ping me on the twitters: @aneel