Analyst Relations

INFLUENCE
THE INFLUENCERS

Analyst relations is an integral part of corporate marketing, communications and strategy

What is Analyst Relations?

Analyst relations (AR) is an important and continual marketing and communications activity – whereby technology vendors seek to educate and influence the industry analysts who cover their markets. Through AR, companies convey what they do, how they do it, their unique value propositions and their customer successes to analysts. The goal is for those analysts to then write and speak, both accurately and positively, about the companies: increasing awareness for vendors and their solutions, and influencing potential buyers.

Dedicated analyst relations professionals are at the helm of AR efforts – researching relevant analysts; coordinating inquiries, briefings and vendor-evaluation activities; and conducting regular outreach to keep target analysts, at firms such as Gartner, Forrester, IDC and many more, up-to-date.

AR isn’t a one-way street, though. It involves a knowledge-exchange between companies and the analysts that follow them, and is beneficial for both parties. Beyond report coverage and inclusion on analyst “short lists,” vendors often look to analysts for competitive intelligence, market information, product roadmap feedback, messaging guidance and more. Analysts, in turn, depend on vendors to supply timely product and strategy information, and customer examples and contacts – so the analysts can identify and assess market trends, write detailed research reports, and accurately inform their clients (typically end-users/technology buyers).

Effective AR programs align with corporate strategies and goals. Technology can help to streamline, automate and track multiple aspects of analyst relations.

Why Manage AR?

Analysts are considered unbiased and authoritative experts on the markets they cover. They conduct and publish research, speak at industry events, provide quotes to journalists, and take calls from buyers – often hundreds of calls per week. And when analysts are talking about your market and your type of technology, you want them to be talking about, and recommending, you.

Your customers and prospects look to industry influencers when building their technology stacks.

92% of B2B buyers say analyst reviews and reports impact their purchases; nearly half (48%) consider analyst reports “very important.”

84% of B2B tech buyers say industry analyst reports are the TOP driver in their purchase decisions (for 83%, it’s private consultations with an analyst).

For many companies, inclusion – and specific positioning – in a major analyst report, such as a Gartner Magic Quadrant or Forrester Wave, is an important barometer of corporate success, and validation of their approach and vision. These reports drive both sales inquiries and sales, and companies often license them (along with other analyst research) for lead generation.

How to Manage AR?

Effective AR management combines people, process and technology. It requires sustained and strategic planning, concerted outreach, and tracking and monitoring results.

The AR job description is an intensive one. Talented AR pros prove their worth – and their increasing value to their companies – every day: mapping out and executing engagement strategies, juggling tasks and deadlines, responding to analyst queries, project-managing their company’s responses to market evaluations, and much more. They must build and foster relationships with key analysts by understanding analysts’ needs and research agendas, personalizing their communications and consistently adding value.

And it’s not just analysts whom AR pros must manage relationships with, but also internal company executives and subject matter experts, who are a key part of the knowledge exchange. AR involves extracting information from, and conveying analyst insights to, these experts as well.

Where should you get started? There’s a vast universe of analysts and analyst firms – from large, global firms that cover many types of technologies to more focused and niche consultancies. For companies, the first step in “influencing the influencers” is identifying (and then staying abreast of) which analysts are both most relevant and most influential to their businesses.

Technology can significantly aid this process. ARchitect, for example, has a searchable database of 8246* analysts from1484* firms. You can see who’s writing about what – and of the group that’s relevant to your business, who’s most influential, via influencer scores.

ARchitect also lets you put analysts into relevant groupings; contact them at the individual and group level; get a consolidated view of your analyst interactions, history and feedback; and even see how you’re moving the needle, in terms of analyst perception. You can create a dedicated portal and content destination for your analysts (and track engagement there), manage scheduling at analyst events, prepare executives with “analyst briefing books” and much more.

Managing AR and scaling your program is much easier with an end-to-end platform such as ARchitect – for organizing, planning, coordinating, tracking and measuring analyst relationships.

How to Measure AR?

Of course, it’s important to gauge the success of your AR program. Companies look to do this in a variety of ways:

Report inclusions and placement

AR pros track total report inclusions, types of research inclusions (e.g., Magic Quadrant, trend piece, analyst blog article, etc.), and how their company fared in evaluations.

Share of Voice

Looking across the analyst coverage for your market, you can use technology to see how much buzz your company generates, compared to competitors.

Sentiment analysis

It’s a good practice for AR professionals to record analyst sentiment following each interaction. Some companies also conduct periodic “analyst perception” surveys. Measuring changes in the analyst feedback your company has received over time is quite valuable.

Analyst interactions

Some companies report on AR by measuring the volume and/or quality of analyst interactions.

Impact on deals

Linking the cumulative effect of your analyst outreach to customer wins is the “holy grail” for AR. This type of visibility isn’t always, or even often, possible; still, it’s important to document this information when you get it. Some companies instruct sales reps to ask, during customer-win interviews, whether an analyst impacted the deal.

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