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 and other B2B influencers. The goal is for those experts 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 who 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.
Your customers and prospects look to industry influencers when building their technology stacks.
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.
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.
Effective AR management combines people, process and technology. It requires sustained and strategic planning, concerted outreach, and tracking and monitoring results.
The analyst relations 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 queries from analysts and other influencers, project-managing their company’s responses to market evaluations, and much more (including, nowadays, often managing peer reviews and identifying customer references to support vendor evaluation activities). AR pros must build and foster relationships with key analysts by understanding the analysts’ needs and research agendas, personalizing their communications and consistently adding value.
And it’s not just analysts and other influencers 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 – along with non-analyst influencers who matter as well. For companies, the first step in “influencing the influencers” is identifying (and then staying abreast of) which experts are both most relevant and most influential to their businesses.
Technology can significantly aid this process. ARchitect, for example, has a searchable database of 11096* analysts and other influencers from 1762* 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 and share of voice. You can create a dedicated portal and content destination for your analysts and other influencers (and track engagement there), manage scheduling at analyst events, prepare executives with “analyst briefing books” and much more. In addition, you can track and report on what customers are saying about your business as well to better identify advocates and references.
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 and other influencer relationships.
Of course, it’s important to gauge the success of your AR program. Companies look to do this in a variety of ways:
More and more companies today find it’s not just traditional analysts who are swaying their buyers and prospects. Non-analyst influencers play an important role in the sales cycle too – and are increasingly under the purview of AR professionals.
While the word “influencer” often conjures images of TikTok stars and viral YouTubers, these aren’t the types of influencers who are typically relevant in B2B sales and marketing. Instead, B2B influencers are often industry insiders and executives, technology bloggers and journalists, prominent employees and other experts – who are writing, and engaging on social channels, about your industry and its key players, and who have developed a loyal following.
As with traditional analysts, it’s important for companies to elevate their visibility with these influencers. And when it comes to working with influencers, there’s often a wide spectrum of engagement options, from those who only conduct paid engagements to others (often more credible) who engage with clients and non-clients alike.
AR pros’ engagement tactics and strategies may differ based on whether they’re approaching traditional analysts or non-analyst influencers. Still, engaging both groups successfully requires research; relevant, sustained communications; and a genuine approach to relationship-building.
With our technology, services and specialized expertise, ARInsights is here to help.
See how ARchitect can help you build analyst and influencer relationships.