on Monday December 10, 2018

Analyst Relations can be Most Helpful for Winning Enterprise Customers

It is all about value, that is why it works not only for big corporates Who is this marketing channel for?

As Wikipedia has it, “analyst relations is a corporate strategy and a marketing activity in which corporations communicate with ITC industry analysts … who work for independent research and consulting firms”. We have nothing against this definition except for one thing – you do not need to be a billion dollar corporation to forge successful relations with analysts, be it the 1st tier research firms such as Gartner and Forrester or over a thousand of 2nd and 3rd tier consulting agencies. We have successfully done analyst relations for both big corporates and smaller guys. For example, in 2017 we helped Targetprocess, a young company with 103 employees, to get into Gartner’s Magic Quadrant, which proves that this channel is not only for big corporates.

Who are analysts?

When planning your communication strategy for fostering analyst relations, it is important to understand who analysts ARE and who they are NOT.

    They are not:
  • The channel where you absolutely must spend tens of thousands of dollars to get into the game
  • Pay-to-play advertisers of your product
    They are:
  • Independent researchers and validators of technology products and services
  • Massive consumers of information on topics and companies related to their sphere of interest
  • People who have a deeper understanding of your company’s market than even you have
  • Experts whom risk-averse Fortune 1000 enterprises and other corporations pay to get advice on what technology products to choose and what technology vendors to trust
  • Experts who work on and regularly publish objective and authoritative reports resulting from thorough analysis of a certain market or niche
Because of the last two points Analyst Relations become indispensable for technology vendors and service providers willing to extend their market share at the enterprise market.
How to get on the analysts’ radar

If you believe your product or service can be valuable for more enterprise-grade customers than currently served by you, we would recommend to start with:

  • Identifying the Buyer Persona’s i.e. what kind of people make buying decisions in companies you target: what are their roles, business goals, pains and aspirations
  • Research what kind of analytical reports they are most likely to read and find useful when evaluating different technologies and vendors for their organization. Start with “big two” websites: Gartner and Forrester Research.
  • After filtering out the reports and publications which would be most valuable for your Buyer Persona’s, write down the authors of these reports to see which analysts are the influencers in your market niche and advise your Buyer Persona’s on the right vendors and technologies to buy.

Once you have your list, you need to get on their radar. As we already mentioned, analysts are information consumers. Are you present in the relevant media? Will analysts see your website when googling on the topic? If you excel in SEO and PR, the task of getting on the radar can be considered half done.

The most important thing, however, is your offering: to what degree your product or service meets the latest market trends and demands. If you are confident that it does it better than your competitors’ (no matter how established they are), but you have not been featured in analyst reports yet, do not wait to be found by analysts, take the first step and contact the analysts from your list of the most relevant authors. Begin with a short message mentioning who you are and how you can be helpful for their job (remember, the analyst’s primary job is to gain a rock solid understanding of the market and to share this understanding with their clients or your Buyer Persona’s). If information on your product and meeting your company’s executives adds to this understanding, the analyst will contact back and suggest an unpaid vendor briefing.

We will not go deep into the briefing topic here – we will share what we have learned from our analyst briefings with both Forrester and Gartner in a separate post. Just remember that for your first briefing, analysts will expect you to make a quick introduction on your company’s standing today, future vision/strategy, and overall product overview demonstrating why you think you are different and what value clients get from you that they can’t get elsewhere. It is also a good idea to send a presentation in advance and be ready to provide examples of good use cases where your product or service solves problems of your clients which cannot be solved by competitors.

Now it is time to move to the next part of the story – how to stay on the radar of the analysts whom you have already successfully briefed.

Staying on the radar

Getting noticed is important, but absolutely not enough if you want the analysts to keep your product in their short list when they consult your potential enterprise customers. It goes without saying you have to respond to briefing requests, but also make sure you check all points in the list below:

  • Follow and study new research publications, presentations and webinars from the analysts on your list
  • Reach out when you feel your industry insights (for example, you may see patterns in your customer requests) testify to new market trends
  • Reach out if you believe your business news (change in the business model, or a partnership, merger, or acquisition) or product news are in line with the topics covered by the analysts or that they respond to new market trends not covered yet by the analysts
  • Consider becoming a client of the analyst firm (see more information about this below)
  • In any case propose briefings to relevant analysts and remember that communicating with the industry analyst is a two-way process – not only you provide valuable information on your product and industry to the analyst, but the analyst, being a true expert in your market, can provide you with invaluable insights for your positioning, go-to-market strategy and product development
  • Another thing to remember: different analyst agencies can have different naming for product categories. Respect that while you communicate with the analysts
  • Be ready to provide access to your company’s executives and arrange interviews with clients
  • Analyst firms often conduct surveys – do not neglect them
  • Follow the analysts in professional social media networks in order to understand their agenda and needs better
  • Quote them in your blog and on your website
To summarize, successful analyst relations depend on the value your offering provides to the market and the value you can provide as a source of information about the offering and the market niche for the analyst. Providing value here means truly deepening the analysts’ understanding of your market niche and helping them become more valuable to their clients (i.e. your Buyer Persona’s).
How much does this cost?

Short answer – it depends on your objectives. Good news is that a lot is possible for free, for example, no credible analyst firm will ever accept payments for including you into their analyst reports. While inclusion into a report relevant for your potential customers can become the best industry recognition possible and have a serious impact on your business.

Our marketing agency can help you build authentic Analyst Relations. As a result, we can help you get featured in the reports and publications trusted by your potential customers and investors.

If, additionally, you can afford a client subscription from an analyst firm, this opens up more opportunities, for example:

  • You get access to the reports published by this analyst firm (the scope of accessible research depends on the subscription level)
  • Analysts can carry out the analysis of your end-user pain points and related communications
  • Analysts can help with product roadmap planning and gap analysis
  • Analysts can review your RFP responses, marketing materials
  • Analysts can act as 3rd-party reference to increase credibility
  • Analysts may be available for exclusive webinars on industry trends

Depending on the subscription level, analysts can also help with product marketing and management, for example:

  • Competitive positioning
  • Pricing strategy
  • Go-to-market strategy
  • Unique and powerful content marketing solutions
  • Executive-level coaching
  • Contract review

Just to give you an idea:

  • Gartner’s subscriptions start from 45K USD per year
  • Forrester’s subscriptions start from 36K USD per year

For this investment to pay off, you will need to allocate sufficient time to regularly work with analysts on the above-mentioned initiatives and activities. Our marketing agency will be happy to do it on your behalf and to represent you in a professional manner.

Get in touch to discuss your needs and objectives.

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