‘Lucky’ AR Hacks from AR Pros
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! May you have a lucky day today!
To help bring on the luck, we asked a few AR pros to share some tips and tricks of the trade. And unlike those stingy leprechauns who tend to hoard their pots of gold, this AR community is very happy to share the wealth!
May these pointers, recommendations, apps and more enhance your productivity, and give you new ideas and inspiration. We hope these pearls of wisdom from others in the field can be your gems and gold at the end of the rainbow!
Question: Can you share a “lucky” AR hack, productivity-booster or other tip for improving AR results?
Analyst relations professionals are often so busy planning, scheduling and managing inquiries that finding the time to do analyst inquiries without spokespeople is challenging. But doing inquiries without a spokesperson — with just yourself — is a critically important tool for establishing and building a relationship with that analyst. It allows you to better know the analyst, it helps the analyst to better understand you, and it allows the AR person to establish themselves in the eyes of the analyst, beyond being just the gatekeeper of the inquiry or briefing.
For the analyst, an inquiry like this can feel lower-key, and so they are often more comfortable sharing insights on the market, competitors or your own company. They may also share how certain spokespeople are doing and steps you might need to take to help them improve.
Like so many things in life, these types of inquiries need to be done regularly; one a year is not going to make much of an impact. My experience is that the top AR people regularly do inquiries like this to better understand the analyst as a person, what their interests are and how they view the industry that they are covering.
My pot of gold is a list of happy referenceable customers. Analysts need and want customer stories. If an analyst is planning research, offer a few customers from your list. Your customers can help their research. For bonus gold pieces, share a few details about how your customer uses the product/offering and a bit about their buying and customer journeys.
I highly recommend the following:
- AI Notetaker by Fathom — It’s an app, which is connected to Zoom. It will transcribe calls and let you highlight parts as you go. I like it because I’m more of a reader — I can read through the notes quickly to pick out the salient features.
- Amazing Marvin — I use that as my “task list.” I keep all my to do’s in there, separated by project, and I can connect it to my calendar. It also gamifies my to-do list, giving me a virtual high five, which I like, considering I spend most of my time alone.
- ARInsights’ custom briefing books (wanted to give a shout-out to those!) — I have added a few custom fields, such as date/time/time zone of call, goal of call/participants/relationship/our take — which help me keep my execs up to date quickly and easily, with all the relevant briefing information in one place. Also, when we have multiple interactions with the same analyst, I simply add the old calls and “aha moments” into the relationship field and add the new date/time/goal/any new research — again, keeping everything in one place and reminding the execs what’s happened previously with this analyst.
- The Bendy Show podcast (a somewhat shameless plug). This is THE analyst relations podcast. Beth Torrie and I share AR best practices, and interview AR and AR-related professionals.
First and foremost, analysts are people. Your spokespeople and executives are people. Connect on a human level and focus on building long-lasting and meaningful relationships with your stakeholders. It will pay dividends.
Relationships are at the center of AR — relationships with analysts, relationships with the account managers who can advocate for you within analysts’ research firms, relationships with your AR team and with stakeholders. But for me, some of the most vital are the relationships I nurture with my executive spokespeople. I’ve found greater success in achieving AR goals that align to the organization’s priorities when truly partnering with the executives of those business units. A strong alliance with the executive spokespeople motivates them to give a little more time to analysts which, in turn, pays it forward into the relationship with the analysts. Win-win.
Templates, templates, templates! I found that having and sticking to various templates for recaps, briefs, and even research kickoffs and other emails is helpful not only for me, but also for my internal partners, giving them a familiar format. Using templates is a real productivity booster, and it gives me hours back in my week.
When I practiced AR, we made it a best practice to conduct 15-minute prep calls with potential customer references, as part of each vendor evaluation we participated in. We’d remind the Gartner MQ references, in particular, to please allow their reviews to be posted (anonymously, as they all are) to the Gartner Peer Insights site. We’d also use the calls to review questions that we anticipated our customers being asked, to get a read on how they might respond. By having these prep sessions, we actually caught a couple references that we decided not to submit, because of concerns that came up on the calls. Of course, we worked to address those areas outside the evaluation process – and for the evaluation itself, we could put our best foot forward.