[GUEST POST] Book Review: Schaffer’s guide to analyst relations transformation

Robin Schaffer (LinkedIn, @robinjs19)’s new book, Analysts on Analyst Relations: The SageCircle Guide, weaves the verbatim recommendations of dozens of veteran analysts into a powerful argument for AR teams to test out leading-edge AR activities, far beyond what passes for regular  AR best practice. Schaffer is a long-time AR leader: She and I are part of the Analyst Observatory at the University of Edinburgh, and Robin is US lead for Kea Company, whose SageCircle service published the book. The IIAR just nominated her agency, Schaffer AR, among the five best in the world: That award is an astonishing accomplishment because her firm is only months old.

Robin Schaffer’s new book, Analysts on Analyst Relations, from SageCircle

Given her experience and success, it’s no surprise that Schaffer has written a unique and educational book. It gives you a look into the world of analyst relations from the perspective of experienced analysts. Her book provides an insight into how companies can effectively use analysts to drive their business forward.

Duncan Chapple

Answering top analyst questions about your business can be a daunting task. This book shares insights not only from Schaffer, but also two successful AR book authors on how to shift analysts’ perceptions and use analysts to advance your business: AR grandfather Efrem Mallach, whose third edition of Win Them Over features an introduction by the IIAR’s Ludovic Leforrestier, and Kea Company CEO Sven Litke, my co-author of Influencer Relations: Insights on Analyst Value.

There are six ideas that I found especially engaging in the book. Whether you are new to AR or an experienced professional, you’ll learn:

  1. AR is not primarily about making analysts happy. Kevin Lucas, Forrester’s analyst serving AR professionals, notes how this point is strongly made in the introduction by Efrem Mallach.
  2. Influence differs between analysts. Schaffer shares a key secret: focus is needed in transforming a few top analysts into champions of your firm. This insight-packed guide shows how to create a clear alignment with your key analysts’ interests and biases, to end up with a loyal advocate. You may not be able to target all key analysts, so focus on credible analysts who are open-minded and ready to engage.
  3. Analysts are not the only influencers. Analysts are consumers and producers of thought leadership. However, Schaffer points out other B2B influencers such as academics, bloggers, customers and journalists. If you watch closely, you can see which influencers your analysts listen to and which influencers amplify your analysts. Aim at the thought leaders and you also shift their followers.
  4. Win-win relationships do not pay to play. Analysts have a complicated relationship with vendors, even though both should educate their shared customers to make the best choices. Since pay-to-play analyst firms quickly discredit themselves, Schaffer recommends a focus on analysts who want win-win relationships.
  5. Analysts want to be heard and seen. Vendors seem to be only after one thing: positive mentions. Analysts are frustrated by vendors who don’t want to understand or support their workflow. Influencing analysts involves helping meet their goals. That means putting yourself in their shoes and aligning your language and relationship to their mindset.
  6. Trust is the key to great relationships. At times, many analysts feel ignored, manipulated, or misled. Influential analysts want to serve multiple stakeholders: buyers, users, regulators, investors, etc. If you cannot be relied upon to provide trustworthy information, the analysts will distrust you. You will either burn your bridges immediately or after the analyst burns their relationship with a client who refutes what you told the analyst.

Analysts on Analyst Relations captures insights and sage advice shared by analysts, unusually providing an easy-to-read book that is informative and fun, with a genuine, supportive and encouraging tone. It is perfect for professionals who have just embarked on their careers in analyst relations, although everyone interested in analyst advocacy will benefit.

This short book aims to show how understanding analysts’ perspectives on AR can help both generate advocacy and gain insights. If you’re looking for an easy way to learn about why analysts say what they do about your company, then this book is for you.

The best way to help vendors meet analysts’ needs is to help them understand how analysts think about the analyst relations process. As a low-cost purchase, it has the potential to reach a much bigger audience than buying expensive AR advisory from Gartner and Forrester. Uniquely, this book is built from the insights of analysts with years of experience, curated by AR veterans who know what top analysts need from vendors.

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