IIAR Best Practice Paper: AR Maturity Model, Peggy O’Neil

Here’s a little quizz on how mature is your analyst relation practice. Ready to be surprised?

 

  1. How often are you surprised by an important analyst report impacting your company?

    1. All the time, my life sucks.

    2. Every now and then my morning is ruined.

    3. Not often, sometimes a peripheral analyst will write something unexpected without checking in.

    4. It would be unusual, as my analysts know I’m a maniac about draft review and I’m pestering them all the time about coverage anyway.

    5. Seldom, as I have good visibility into their research agendas, and in fact I suggested the last two report topics for my key analysts.

  1. How often do you interact with your key analysts?

    1. Never – don’t even know who these clowns are.

    2. Maybe once or twice a year, when there’s major news for my company. I have to remind them who I am.

    3. A few times a year. I still have to remind them who I am.

    4. Monthly at least. I usually see them at a conference, via inquiry, consulting, or a briefing.

    5. Last week. We had dinner when he was in town to see a competitor and I peeled him away.

  1. What best describes analyst impact on sales and your ability to enable sales?

    1. Huh?

    2. Can’t take care of sales, AR is a PR problem not a sales problem.

    3. AR ensures sales know of the major reports they can use with prospects. AR helps with the occasional deal when the field squawks.

    4. AR conducts a regular win-loss survey so we know which analysts are influencing deals. AR is also a part of internal sales training curriculum.

    5. Analysts pull us into deals and we review our big deals with them. Analysts speak at sales kickoff and review our sales training materials. AR gets invited to club!

  1. Which scenario best describes how you work with your spokespeople?

    1. I don’t have any dedicated spokespeople I go to regularly for analysts and usually it’s too late to engage a spokesperson anyway.

    2. I can usually find someone in marketing if I beg a lot.

    3. Product marketing and product management are good about helping me but they don’t set future policy or decide investments, so sometimes they can’t speak as authoritatively as I’d like.

    4. I can usually get the general manager of the BU to engage with analysts as needed.

    5. I love all my spokespeople. They do what I tell them to do. My CEO and his direct reports set a great example for engaging with analysts, and everyone on down takes their cues accordingly.

  1. How are analysts and AR perceived by your organization?

    1. Analysts are a pain. AR is viewed as broken or non-existent.

    2. Analysts are mysterious, they often resemble reporters, but sometimes act like business consultants, not sure how to work with them. AR? Oh they’re nice meeting planners.

    3. Analysts are a valuable marketing channel we need to exploit better. AR has seems to spend a lot of time complaining about how they need help internally.

    4. Analysts can be very helpful if you know how to work them properly. AR bugs me all the time for stuff they need, they’re pretty proactive.

    5. Analysts are part of the company ecosystem akin to partners, customers, employees, and shareholders, a powerful stakeholder. AR is a pervasive force that somehow has inserted its tentacles into sales, support, marketing, R&D, IR, and corporate strategy. I pay attention when they ask me for something.

So how did you do? Lots of A answers means you have no AR program and don’t see any value in AR. A preponderance of B answers indicates that your AR program tends to treat analysts like journalists. C answers are a symptom of a young AR program that still needs to do lots of internal education and is starved for resources or support. D answers mean you’re doing above average AR, getting more than your fair share of analyst mindshare. E answers means your company really supports the AR function and AR is a competitive differentiator for your organization.

The maturity of an analyst relations program isn’t dependent on age, budget or headcount, although they can all impact performance to varying degrees. I just published an IIAR Best Practice Paper: AR Maturity Model (link for IIAR members) that outlines a maturity model for analyst relations programs that may help AR practitioners educate internal stakeholders about what is possible and how far away it is.

I created it for my personal use several years ago when I was a consultant so I could educate prospects and clients about the AR function. Now that I no longer have to worry about selling AR to third parties, I decided to make it available to IIAR members. Take a look and see if it can help educate your stakeholders.

Peggy O’Neill (@pegoneill, LinkedIn) is a former IIAR Board member and Senior Director of Analyst Relations at Informatica. She has successfully used this model to get more budget and lower expectations.

See also the other IIAR Best Practices Papers here.

IIAR Best Practice Paper: AR Maturity Model, Peggy O’Neil

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