Do you have an Analyst Relations program to engage with industry analysts?
Industry analysts, such as Gartner, Forrester, 451 Research and dozens of other firms, are influencers that can’t be overlooked by B2B technology companies. They play a key role to help end users – who could be spending tens, thousands, or millions of dollars – to navigate complex solutions, evaluate products, and understand market trends to make buying decisions and steer their IT strategy in the right direction.
One of the biggest challenges with effective analyst relations (AR) programs is transparency. This transparency is twofold: how you communicate with the analysts, and how you handle AR internally.
1 – Transparency with industry analysts. Having worked with industry analysts for almost two decades with tech vendors ranging from deep-pocketed global vendors to startups, we’ve seen a range of attitudes about industry analysts, from the ‘we-tell-you-write’ attitude which basically overlooks the fact that these are industry professionals that analyze the industry who are not there to simply repeat what they are told.
Transparency is essential to build relationships and to help the analysts understand your company vision, mission, product development strategy, and your plans to execute.
If you’re going to hold industry analysts at arm’s length, give them an overly-polished version of the truth that deliberately omits vital facts about your product, team, or strategy, you will do more harm than good.
2 – Internal transparency. One of the biggest challenges we see around AR programs is internal transparency as analyst contacts, details, briefing notes, deadlines, and actions are siloed, held onto by different people, and are not shared or internally transparent.
This may have evolved from different internal contacts working with various analysts due to history, or because they have a specific vertical or geographical focus. Sometimes it’s because management or an internal company contact is keen to ‘own’ a relationship with a particular analyst or analyst firm.
Whatever the cause, scattered analyst information makes it different to coordinate your AR program, to share consistent messaging, and to keep track of what you’re doing, and what’s next. Lacking structure, such as not having an AR calendar, also means you will frequently find yourself scrambling to meet deadlines or complete questionnaires last-minute.
Some questions to test whether your AR structure needs more transparency:
- Do you know which analysts your company has spoken to, briefed, or completed inquiries?
- Do you have a central internal analyst database?
- Which industry analysts have covered your company historically? What was their analysis?
- Who internally is holding the relationships with specific industry analysts? How are they updating them, communicating with them, and ensuring they have access to the right content and information?
- Do you have a central calendar of analyst activities?
Looking for structure, an AR calendar, a database of analysts relevant to your company, products, and industry? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s talk about how to increase the effectiveness and transparency of your AR program.