Improving AR Productivity and Measuring Results with AR Software
Founded in 2004, SugarCRM provides an award-winning, AI-driven customer relationship management (CRM) platform. Sugar serves thousands of companies across 120+ countries – helping organizations get a clear picture of each customer to improve and better predict business performance.
Its analyst relations (AR) program is a busy one! As Sugar has made acquisitions and expanded its product portfolio in recent years — moving from sales force automation to marketing automation and customer service offerings as well — it’s important to keep industry analysts well-informed and up-to-date on the full platform. In addition to regularly briefing relevant analysts and influencers, Sugar also engages with them to get input on M&A opportunities, trends, positioning and more.
At Sugar, AR goals include accelerating sales, increasing brand awareness, extending its reach among the analyst community and positioning the company as a market leader.
That’s a lot to accomplish for a single-person team! When Sarita Kincaid joined SugarCRM in the fall of 2020 as senior director of analyst relations, she also helped to launch Sugar’s formal AR program. Augmented by a couple part-time contractors, Sarita is responsible for Sugar’s AR activities — from identifying relevant and strategic analysts, to coordinating briefings and inquiries, to managing market evaluations, to reporting on results and more. She also spearheads marketing activities that intersect with AR (such as developing landing pages, blog posts and social content for Sugar’s analyst webinars).
Given all the activity, it’s not surprising that lack of bandwidth represents a primary challenge for Sugar’s AR program. Sarita sought a solution that would expedite day-to-day analyst relations activities, free up some of her time, and make it quick and easy to report on results.
Sarita turned to AR productivity software ARchitect from ARInsights.
“I use ARchitect like it’s another person on my team,” Sarita said. “I consider ARchitect — not just the great people at ARInsights, but the platform itself — to be a partner. ARchitect is like my AR operations team. And it’s been serving us very well!”
As a power user of ARchitect since 2008, Sarita should know. She had previously used ARchitect in her AR jobs at Cisco, Huawei and Oracle. As the platform has evolved and expanded over the years, so has Sarita’s use of it. And now, in her first role as a single-person AR team, she relies on certain software functionality more than ever.
In particular, Sarita uses ARchitect to:
- Research and track analysts, using the searchable database of 8,000+ analysts and other B2B influencers.
- Conduct analyst outreach, with the ability to view consolidated relationship (email + meeting) histories.
- Track interactions with analysts — including what’s transpired, what’s coming up, and what/who’s involved.
- Create projects and track the status, to ensure milestones are being met.
- Monitor analyst coverage of the company across product lines (in analyst research inclusions, blog posts, quotes in the media and tweets), as well as coverage of competitors and important industry trends.
- Track and report on coverage, including trends in the type and tone of inclusions (positive, neutral, etc.).
- Report on analyst perceptions of Sugar, including changes over time, using ARchitect to tag and assign analyst perceptions/sentiment to each interaction.
- Assess share of voice, seeing how Sugar’s coverage in a given market stacks up against key competitors.
Real-time reporting has been especially valuable to SugarCRM’s program.
“ARchitect is our go-to tool and system-of-record,” Sarita said. “We use it not only for updating interactions and keeping an eye on our analysts’ activities, but also as a powerful tool that measures activities and simplifies reporting. This is also key for tracking areas of program opportunity; you must be able to measure what you want to improve.”
And with insights from rapidly generated ARchitect reports, Sarita is able to enhance the AR program – refining it and making course-corrections if necessary.
“I use the reports as the basis for conversations with our leadership team,” Sarita said. “I can show them the answers to questions like ‘What topics are we spending time talking about with analysts?’ ‘Are we talking about the right things?’ ‘Are our analyst discussions aligned with corporate goals and initiatives?’ ‘Are we working with analysts across target geographies?’ And then, importantly, I’m also able to see what’s working – correlating activities with outcomes.”
Sarita notes other benefits of Sugar’s ARchitect use, including the ability to:
- Find new, relevant analysts to engage with.
- Unearth research reports where Sugar should have a presence in the future.
- Demonstrate AR’s value to business leaders, to support conversations about program expansion. At Sugar, Sarita also measures and demonstrates how AR touches the business – documenting the program’s impact on leads, pipeline and revenue – and tying this data to relevant projects housed in ARchitect.