Archive | Guest posts – AR

[GUEST POST] Why AR comes before PR. Just look in the dictionary.

By Ian Gotts / Founder and CEO, Elements.cloud (LinkedIn, @iangotts).

You’re an innovative and growing software vendor, I get that. You’ve got a fab new product that’s going drive dramatic benefits for enterprise customers, I get that.You’ve even got a blog to push out great customer stories now and then, I get that too.

But how do you accelerate growth without piling on expensive sales guys? And how do you make it easier for the large corporates to find you and get comfortable placing big orders with you?

ANSWER: You create relationships with the analyst community. And here’s why. Continue Reading →

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[GUEST POST] Managing RFIs: 8 Best Practices for Analyst Relations Professionals

By Rishi Ghai (LinkedIn@rishi_ghai) Analyst Relations, Corporate Communications, and Digital Marketing / Cyient. 

Receiving a request for information (RFI) from an analyst firm often triggers two reactions among analyst relations (AR) professionals––first, the thrill and gratification of having the business on the radar of a relevant analyst; and second, the anxiety of responding to the RFI with comprehensive and accurate information.

Analyst-firm RFIs are complex beasts. Managed well, they can be a technology/service provider’s (TSPs) gateway to the much-coveted “star” ratings, rankings, and mentions in analyst firms’ research. On the contrary, poorly managed RFIs can end up misinforming analysts, leading them to build an inaccurate analysis of your company.

Responding to RFIs takes a lot of diligence, but the process can be simplified and made more manageable. Here are eight things you can do to ace RFIs and minimise the overwhelm. Continue Reading →

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So, You Did Well in an Industry Analyst Report… How Do You Get the Word Out?

By Vicki Jenkins/ Nelson Hall (LinkedIn@VickiJ_NH)
This is the fifth in a series of blogs for AR professionals containing tips and pointers on how to optimize the relationship between AR and industry analysts. Here I take a look at promoting your organization’s inclusion in an analyst report. Vicki Jenkins / NelsonHall

Often times, before committing to participating in an industry analyst report, subject matter experts will say to their AR colleagues, ‘What happened with the last report we participated in? What did we get out of it?’ In many organizations, it’s not realistic to send the report to the marketing team simply asking them to leverage it, as they have many other commitments and deliverables and might not understand the value of the report and how to make best use of it internally or externally.

Based on my background as both an AR professional and an industry analyst, I and NelsonHall colleagues have put together guidelines for planning promotional campaigns to communicate positioning in analyst reports, using NelsonHall’s (vendor) Evaluation & Assessment Tool (NEAT) reports as an example. NEAT reports help strategic sourcing managers to evaluate outsourcing vendors, and consists of a two-axis model: assessing vendors against their ability “to deliver immediate benefits” to clients and their ability “to meet clients’ future requirements”.

Plan for promotional rights

When participating in industry analyst reports, it is important to secure budgetary funds for promotional rights (or ‘reprint rights’ in old terminology).  If your organization does well, the rights will be needed to promote your organization’s position in the report. In the case of NelsonHall’s NEAT, promotional rights allow vendors to use the NEAT graphs, supported by quotes from NelsonHall analysts, as part of their service marketing initiatives (e.g. in marketing collateral, press releases, news articles, social media, websites, etc.). NelsonHall also delivers a bespoke report containing a summary analysis of the vendor’s capabilities within the specific service type (including financials, strategic direction, and strengths), plus the latest market analysis summary for the service in question.

NelsonHall and most other industry analyst firms have guidelines on how the reports can be used and have a review process regarding their usage.

Promote your positioning internally to support external campaigns

Promotional rights of analyst reports typically allow promotion for an agreed upon timeframe. The extent to which a vendor is able to leverage the promotional rights depends on being able to communicate their positioning effectively within their organization, and to encourage usage.

In reaching out to colleagues across the business, explain the significance of your positioning as well as the potential benefits to your organization. Make sure the personnel that participated in the report preparation, briefing, and securing of client references are made aware of the analyst firm positioning of your organization.

Make it as easy as possible for colleagues to leverage promotional rights by, for example:

  • Getting approved analyst quotes
  • Preparing slides for internal departments to use externally. Usage examples include sales presentations and inclusion by solutioning employees in proposal responses
  • Developing brief articles (or simply bullet lists) based on the report

NelsonHall recommends vendors share their NEAT positioning with the departments listed below and provide direction on how it can be leveraged:

  • Marketing/Social Media:
    • Develop some one- or two-line quotes or facts about positioning to be used as tweets
    • Share a link to a news release about your positioning, to be posted on LinkedIn, Facebook or other social media used by your company
    • Place an article about your positioning in client and employee newsletters
    • Seek opportunities to include your positioning in marketing brochures, marketing campaigns, annual reports, and if applicable earnings scripts
    • Develop an e-mail marketing campaign about your positioning.
  • Web Team:
    • Explain the significance of your positioning and ensure the NEAT graph(s) have strong website real estate for the full duration of the promotional rights(in my time as an AR professional, I once paid for reprint rights for a year, only for the web team to remove the relevant collateral from the website after a month! I had to remind the team of the value of the reprint rights in order to get the web post reinstated)
    • Ensure the NEAT graph is accompanied by key benefits and include a quote as well
    • Provide a link to the NEAT report.
  • Public Relations:
    • Draft a news release
    • Provide the NEAT graph(s)
    • Ensure the news release is shared with key global media contacts as well as trade media, and local media where the company has contacts and a presence.

Following these simple guidelines can help AR to ensure that their business gets the most mileage from their participation and positioning in an industry analyst report such as NelsonHall’s NEAT series.

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[GUEST POST] 7 Ways to Grow Analyst Firm Business: A How-to-Collaborate Guide for Industry Analysts and Account Managers

TW - 7 Ways to Grow Analyst Firm Business - Collaboration Between Industry Analysts & Account ManagersBy Rishi Ghai (LinkedIn@rishi_ghai)

It’s universal––the bittersweet relationship between sales and delivery functions. Industry analyst firms are no exception. The subject of bringing in more business for analyst firms is perhaps the biggest cause of friction between account managers and industry analysts, especially where senior analysts have P&L responsibility.

A typical scenario plays out something like this: analysts, in their capacity as advisors, tend to enjoy greater proximity to technology/service providers and buyers––and assert to know more about business leads for the firm than account managers do. Account managers, on the other hand, tend to disagree and think that analysts aren’t willing to stretch beyond their comfort zones to bring in more dollars…and on the argument continues. Yet, once this friction is transmuted into collaboration, engagements with clients and prospects become richer and more consistent, and untapped business opportunities start to open up. Continue Reading →

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Analyst Briefings: The Delicate Business of Client References

By Vicki Jenkins/ Nelson Hall (LinkedIn@VickiJ_NH) 
This is the fourth in a series of blogs for AR professionals containing tips and pointers on how to optimize the relationship Vicki Jenkins / NelsonHallbetween AR and industry analysts. Here I take a look at using client references and case studies in the briefing process.

Quite often, participating in an analyst report requires providing client references as part of the briefing process, and in the area of outsourcing these can be rather difficult to secure. It is important to develop relationships with your sales and client services teams and to let them know about upcoming analyst reports that will require references so they can assist you without it being a fire drill. Knowing that references are required well in advance also enables your colleagues to select references appropriately, and avoid overusing certain clients where they are handling multiple requests for the client’s time. Continue Reading →

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[Guest Post] Analyst Briefings: Preparing for Success

By Vicki Jenkins/ Nelson Hall (LinkedIn@VickiJ_NH) Vicki Jenkins / NelsonHall

This is the third in a series of blogs for AR professionals containing tips and pointers on how to optimize the relationship between AR and industry analysts. Here I take a more detailed look at preparing for analyst briefings.

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[GUEST POST] Successful Analyst Relations Requires Grown Ups

By Peggy O’Neill  (@pegoneillLinkedIn) from Informatica. 

A fellow AR manager called recently to weep on my shoulder. She wanted a sanity check about setting internal expectations on what analyst relations could or could not do as her executives were making demands she considered outlandish. She sought my unvarnished opinion about the requests involved in case they were possible and she needed to step up her game.

I listened in disbelief to what her execs were asking for, probed for more details, and I’m sad to report that at the end of the conversation we concluded it was time for her to leave her company as she was working at an outfit where the culture and expectations were antithetical to a successful analyst relations program. Continue Reading →

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