The 4-Step Recipe for Analyst Relations Success
Do you have a killer go-to recipe all set for the upcoming holidays? If not, you better start thinking about one quick because, at least in the U.S., Thanksgiving is right around the corner!
But more importantly if you’re a B2B marketer, and especially if your company does anything related to the technology space, hopefully you’ve started thinking about your 2019 recipe for success with analysts that cover your space. In case you haven’t I thought I’d share my recipe for success that’s been working pretty well over the last 20 years.
1. Go heavy on the ‘regular communication’
Industry analysts talk to and assess so many vendors and companies on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, that it must make it extremely difficult to really stay attuned to what exactly is going on at any one particular company. What that means is you have to be extremely proactive in reaching out and sharing any and all news about your company as well as your strategic direction, innovation and future plans.
For Act-On, we work with many different analysts such as Forrester, Gartner, SiriusDecisions, Research in Action, and many others. And although we don’t have a huge marketing team we try to make sure that we have meetings with the top analysts at all of these firms once a quarter. This regular communication keeps both our company as well as our point of view in front of them and can help shape some of their perspectives. It also maximizes our chance that they bring us up when prospective customers are asking for advice related to our offering (marketing automation).
2. Throw in a couple spoonfuls of their advice
My point here is that when you’re having regular communication, you have to think about it not as a one-way feed of information but rather a two-way dialog. Because analysts talk with so many different people and do so much research, they are a WEALTH of information. Take the time prior to even setting up the meeting with them to think about what key questions you can ask and get their advice.
In addition, read their research reports and industry analyses. These resources often go into great detail around where analysts see the market going, what customers are expecting, and how different vendors are approaching solving problems in the market. By reading their reports and asking critical questions during briefings, you can become much smarter on how to create successful go-to-market strategies as well as gaining competitive intelligence.
Also, when I say ‘take their advice’, I mean really take and use it. Incorporate analysts’ advice into your product and planning process. Not only can it help you create better products, but it can also help you align better to what they think vendors should be doing. So when the next industry analysis report comes out that covers your space, your chances of being aligned on key points that they grade on will also go up.
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3. Layer in key analyst reports
Purchasing reprint rights to industry analyst reports is definitely an expense. In our industry, it’s not uncommon to have reprint annual licensing fees in the tens of thousands of dollars. I think for any marketing team, those costs can be hard to swallow as it may seem to not directly tie to your lead gen efforts. However, in the best case scenario you will have worked hard to have a strong write-up and position in the report itself, so spending the money to be able to share that with prospective customers is well worth it.
But even if it’s a report that doesn’t specifically cover you, if you think it does a good job at educating your key buyers on strategies, ideas, or what to look for when assessing vendors in your space, then that can be a great report to leverage for top-of-funnel programs.
Ultimately, there’s nothing more credible in helping educate people as they begin to show interest than a third party report from a recognized thought leader in the space. And establishing your credibility is the first step in getting both customers and analysts to believe in what you’re doing.
4. Mix in customer love
In order to do well in analysts reports, you have to have customers who really love your product and your direction. That’s because although analysts do want to hear from you, they also want to hear actual customer perspectives just as as much, if not more.
In picking your references, be sure you connect analysts with customers who are happy about using your product. It obviously takes hard work on your part to both develop a product and provide support that is so valuable to customers they are willing to share their positive story with analysts. But the more of these happy customers who share their story with analysts, the more analysts will believe in your story and direction as a company.
That’s it! That’s Adam’s (no longer) secret recipe for analyst relations success. I hope marketer’s steal this recipe and that it helps drive successful analyst relations for your company in the coming year ahead!