Industry analysts are market experts who play a highly influential role in b2b technology purchasing decisions. If you work in technology communications, agency-side or client-side, showing value from your b2b analyst relations (AR) programme will be one of the priorities. So, here are 9 top tips for managing analyst relationships and getting the best results from your AR budget.
1. Focus on the Relationship
At the top of any AR manager’s plan should be the aim of achieving long-term and positive relationships that benefit both clients and analysts. As with any business relationship, it’s important to keep in mind what the analyst’s needs ar and how to foster and nurture the relationship over time. Positive relationships with contacts who are initially negative can also be developed over time.
2. Know your Audience: Understand their Research Areas
Analysts are in the business of understanding technology markets, vendors and their customers. They are paid to do this and provide independent viewpoints. The most influential analysts are feted by technology companies and invited to strategy and messaging sessions and to speak at company events. So it pays to do your research and fully understand the practice areas key analysts are focused on and how their expertise, experience can positively influence and add-to your efforts to build credibility for your products and services.
3. Remember, Analysts aren’t Journalists
Journalists are interested in stories for their readership and they have to produce new content each day, week or month. Analysts may want to see the same press releases and be invited for briefings at industry events such as Mobile World Congress. However, the information they focus on and how they use it is entirely different. Analysts are focused on long-term trends, technology strategy and product roadmaps. They may publish a report in which your company is included many months after your spokesperson has briefed them. A positive outcome is not reflected in column inches of media coverage but in the vendor recommendations that analysts provide in consulting engagements.
4. Plan Ahead: Very Far Ahead!
Analysts are business people as well as researchers. They need to plan their time carefully to fulfil client demands as well as meet new vendors. When planning a briefing event, give analysts plenty of notice. A media briefing can be organised a day before but an analyst will want to have the meeting in the diary many weeks in advance. It’s not too early to start booking analyst briefings for a busy industry event two months in advance.
5. Be Open in Briefings
You can be more open with analysts than with journalists. Customer wins that haven’t been publicly announced can be referenced in one-on-one analyst meetings, so long as it’s made clear the information is confidential, even if included in a presentation. The analyst isn’t interested in the headline news, but in the underlying reasons for technology purchases and how the technology implementation is progressing.
6. Paying Analysts doesn’t Mean Better Coverage
This misconception is still out there and sometimes it’s worth reiterating this point to executives and salespeople who don’t understand what analysts do. A commercial agreement with an analyst firm may get you easier access to your target analysts. But it won’t get you better coverage—this will be determined, among other factors, by how successful your client’s strategy is, how many customers the client has won, how well the analyst understands the vendor’s business and so on.
7. Get Up to Speed on Process
IDC, Forrester and Ovum, among others, have clearly laid out processes for completing major research projects. If you don’t follow these rules, you run the risk of being omitted from an important Magic Quadrant, Decision Matrix or Wave. There are also rules to follow for getting media releases approved if your company has been mentioned in an analyst report, or for setting up briefings by completing specific vendor briefing forms.
8. Maintain Analyst Contact Databases
An analyst database is only as good as the contacts in it. Keep up to date on analyst moves and company acquisitions. Joining an organisation such as the Institute of Industry Analyst Relationswill help you keep on top of the latest developments in the analyst world.
9. Quality, Not Quantity, is What Counts
Use targeted strategies, including segmenting your target analysts into tiers (top tier, second tier and so on), when drawing up target lists. If resources are tight, focusing on too many targets will inevitably mean that you’ll end up not giving important analysts enough time or regular briefing opportunities. Focusing on fewer analysts helps create more detailed briefings and in-depth discussions about specific topics that are important to your client’s business.
Following these tips will help with building an analyst relations program that can have a positive impact on your communication efforts with your target audiences. Fostering relationships with key analysts can further refine and amplify your client’s business model strategy, product roadmap and overall approach to market.
At TechComms, we help our clients maximise their analyst outreach programs. As part of our b2b analyst relations services we’d like to help you build relationships with analysts and influencers that matter to your business. Contact us on + 44 (0) 203 322 8928.