AR Best practices – Institute of Industry Analyst Relations (IIAR) https://analystrelations.org The IIAR is a not-for-profit organisation established to raise awareness of analyst relations and the value of industry analysts, promote best practice amongst analyst relations professionals, enhance communication between analyst firms and vendors, and offer opportunities for AR practitioners to network with their industry peers. Tue, 07 Jul 2020 12:22:29 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 76177372 IIAR> Webinar: Peer Insights Updates https://analystrelations.org/2020/07/07/iiar-webinar-peer-insights-updates/ https://analystrelations.org/2020/07/07/iiar-webinar-peer-insights-updates/#respond Tue, 07 Jul 2020 12:22:26 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=315668

Gartner Peer Insights has recently made changes. Hear from Shannon Wedding (LinkedIn, @shannon_wedding) and Anatoli Olkhovets (LinkedIn, @anatoli_o) on what AR pros need to know about what’s new with Peer Insights.

This webinar will be hosted by Andrew Hsu (@andrew0hsuLinkedIn) / IIAR> Board Member for Events and Simon Jones (@SimonDestrierLinkedIn) / IIAR> Board Member for Membership.

Join us Wednesday 5th August at 0800 PDT / 1000 CDT / 1100 EDT 1600 BST / 1700 CEST for this IIAR> Webinar.

IIAR> Register
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[Guest Post] The New Normal for Analysts https://analystrelations.org/2020/06/23/guest-post-the-new-normal-for-analysts/ https://analystrelations.org/2020/06/23/guest-post-the-new-normal-for-analysts/#comments Tue, 23 Jun 2020 15:37:33 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=315584
Zoë Crichton / CCgroup

Our current working environment has been a challenge for everyone, sector to sector. Workers have been uprooted from usual routines and practices; some have flourished, finding inspiration from their sofas, while others have been stifled by children, pets, and noisy neighbours. Despite this upheaval, we have had to adjust and adapt in the best way possible. Whilst some “norms” have fallen by the wayside, others have been embraced and formulated into a more efficient and enhanced way of working from home.

A recent ARchitect webinar titled “The “New Normal” for Analyst Relations” explored how this shift has posed challenges but also provided an opportunity for the analyst community. One of the most surprising changes has been the addition of video briefings, the unlikely shift to “face-to-face” briefing calls has made them far more personal and interactive. With this enhanced level of interaction, analysts have shown themselves to be more likely to let their guard down and more willing to build more robust and concrete relationships online. This was an unexpected change in the community, from briefings usually held over the phone, with no face-to-face interaction, it was hard to anticipate how the working from home movement would actually change anything. But it has, social distancing measures left a lot of people lonely and craving human contact, so it is not surprising that both analysts and spokespeople are grateful for the opportunity to engage with people outside of their household. Even if that is an interruption of an angry toddler demanding to show you their latest artwork.

Beyond this, the role of the AR professional has levelled-up. They are now, more than ever, becoming the “producers” of calls, having to manage the interaction from all sides. The quality of interactions is increasing as the dependency on video heightens, this is no longer a mere phone call, it is an opportunity to differentiate your relationship, and your company from the competition. Preparation for conversations has become more in-depth, with multiple people from all sides being involved; on the company side, it is now common to have one person acting as the spokesperson and another who controls the slides. All of this being overseen and moderated by the AR professional.

It is not only briefing calls that the Covid-19 pandemic has affected for this community, events across the board have been cancelled or postponed. However, the has seen this as an opportunity rather than a sacrifice and many firms have branched out into online events and webinars. An initiative that went so well it left many surprised at the ease of the move to webcasts. Logistics were thought to pose difficulty for this move to virtualisation, but with travelling to events now out of the questions, analysts no longer need to seek approval from the internal team, meaning they have more control over their calendars and can “attend” more events than before. They also have more freedom and time to focus on their relationship with companies and build stronger foundations.

This progress and embracing of “new norms” during lockdown has been beneficial to all parties but I can’t help but question the longevity of it. As we see easing measures and a return to our “normal” way of life, we will be able to continue these practices, which have proved to be such a hit across the community? The relationships that have been built during this time appear to have a different, more personalised makeup than those that came before, so it would be foolish of us to forget the unity created and return to our “usual” practices.  

By Zoë Crichton / Junior Account Executive, CCgroup (LinkedIn)

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IIAR> Best Practice Call: AR Measurement https://analystrelations.org/2020/06/17/iiar-best-practice-ar-measurement/ https://analystrelations.org/2020/06/17/iiar-best-practice-ar-measurement/#respond Wed, 17 Jun 2020 14:49:00 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=315491 ’s new series on best practice will focus on a topic that should be close to the heart of every AR professional: AR Measurement.]]>

The next Best Practice paper in the IIAR>’s new series on best practice will focus on a topic that should be close to the heart of every AR professional: AR Measurement.

Often thought to be the Holy Grail of AR, how can a vendor (cost-) effectively track the true RoI of engagement with industry analysts? Is it about recommendations and proving influence over deals? Perhaps you are tracking touchpoints, endorsements, the number of Magic Quadrants in which a vendor is included, or even the number of times your favorite analyst tweets about your brand. Or perhaps you focus on softer factors such as analyst sentiment?

We’ll take a deep dive into this evergreen topic in an interactive IIAR> session co-hosted by Nadia Nizar (@nadianizar, LinkedIn), at Resonance and IIAR> Board member Simon Jones (@SimonDestrier, LinkedIn). This is the first step in the production of a new IIAR> white paper on successful measurement strategies.

We invite you to join us and share your views: We are gathering opinions on effective AR measurement from IIAR> members, so make sure your views are heard! We want to listen to different voices and encourage a healthy debate. Also – join us and chime in if you’re interested in learning more about AR measurement – we’d like to understand your priorities.

This call will be held under the Chatham House Rule, which is designed to increase openness of discussion. It means anyone who joins is free to use information from the discussion, but is not allowed to reveal who made any comment.

We will also be launching a questionnaire on the topic. If you’d like to be quoted in the IIAR> Best Practice Paper, this is the perfect place to share your views.

Join us on Wednesday 24th June at 0800 PDT / 1000 CDT / 1100 EDT 1600 BST / 1700 CEST for this IIAR> open forum discussion. Come ready to express your opinions – and remember, webcams on!

IIAR> Register
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[GUEST POST] The 7 Ups of Building Credibility Through Analyst Relations https://analystrelations.org/2020/02/13/guest-post-the-7-ups-of-building-credibility-through-analyst-relations/ https://analystrelations.org/2020/02/13/guest-post-the-7-ups-of-building-credibility-through-analyst-relations/#respond Thu, 13 Feb 2020 16:16:00 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=313712 By Andrew Lochart (LinkedIn, @andrewlochart) and reposted from lochart.com with his permission.

I’ve been leading B2B tech product marketing teams for more than 20 years and I’ve seen how easy it is to fall into what I call the “content trap”. We’re constantly creating new content to fuel our campaigns, to keep things fresh and interesting for our audiences. We try new messaging, new content types, new offers. It can be fun and exciting.

But it’s a trap because in our haste to create new content, we do the easy thing – start writing about how our product or service is newer, better, different. That kind of content might help generate awareness amongst buyers, but it fails at generating something much more important: Credibility.

The Lack of Credibility

In B2B tech, the buyers are smart people, technical, and skeptical of being marketed to. They know that the next white paper or infographic my team creates is self-serving, and worthy of their skepticism.

There are two sources of credibility available to marketers – customers and industry analysts. Your buyers listen to what their peers are saying about your and your competitors’ solutions, and they pay attention to what the relevant analysts are saying. How to be great at customer references is a discussion for another time. Today, I want to address analyst relations.

I constantly drive my teams to set aside the time required to make sure that the industry analysts have a thorough understanding of our solutions. It’s hard work. It can take months to help an analyst really “get it”, compared with how easy it is to just sit down and start writing a new blog post yourself.

Whatever your level of experience in working with analysts, I’d like to offer you some tips that I hope will accelerate your becoming a black belt at analyst relations (AR). I call these tips, “The 7 Ups”.

1. Face Up

We marketers have to face up to the fact that we have a serious credibility problem. Here’s the crux of the matter: all of the content that we create that consists of us saying nice things about our product lack credibility. There’s simply so much reason why a company could be tempted to lie or exaggerate. I’m not suggesting that marketers stop creating white papers and data sheets. But I am saying they can’t rely solely on them. We have to face up the fact that we need customer references, and we need analyst coverage. We need unbiased perspectives.

As I write this (November 2019), a good example is how one company, Illumio, devotes a lot of their home page real estate to their analyst coverage instead of their home-grown content.

2. Brush Up

In order to be successful at analyst relations, you need to brush up on the analysts, who they are, what they do, what they expect from you. You’ll find analyst profiles on their firms’ websites, but don’t forget to check their LinkedIn profiles too.

The first and most important thing to brush up on is this: which analysts do your buyers actually listen to? Devoting time to educating the wrong analysts, analysts who don’t actually influence buyer’s purchasing decisions, is a waste of time. It’s so easy to simply assume that you need to engage with just the big firms, like IDC, Forrester, and Gartner, and miss the fact that your buyers might value the insights of one of the smaller firms.

I’ve worked with some CEOs and CMOs who think that analyst relations consists of responding once a year to Gartner’s Magic Quadrant survey. That’s not analyst relations. I’ve worked with some very smart people who think that the four quadrants in a Magic Quadrant are: Leader, Fail, Fail, and Fail. That’s a fundamental misunderstanding of the report.

Have you ever read one of the longer analyst reports, like a Forrester Wave, from cover to cover? I know a lot of marketers who never have. It’s so tempting to flip to page three and look at where the dots are in the chart and ignore everything else. But you need to brush up on what the analysts are really saying, and what their reports are really about, what they’re intended to explain, all of it.

3. Team Up

If your company has a dedicated analyst relations manager, make sure they become your new best friend. I’ve seen firsthand how powerful it can be to have great teamwork between product marketing and analyst relations.

Your analyst relations manager has a strategic role to play, and will develop and drive the game plan for which analysts to work with and how often. They’ll maintain a calendar of your planned product announcements, industry conferences, and analyst report publication dates, and they’ll make sure to get you in front of the right analyst at the right time. That’s when you spring into action, with the messaging and positioning, the slide deck, speaking as the subject matter expert.

Develop a true partnership with your AR manager. You should be talking with each constantly. Don’t be shy about asking your AR manager questions. Have you just read a research report about your product category authored by an analyst you haven’t heard of before? Ask AR about that, and make sure they know of the new analyst too, so they can assess whether or not you need to start meeting with them. Conversely, ask your AR manager to come to you whenever they think they’ve found research that could be relevant to you, so you can read it and decide if the report really touches upon your category.

4. Measure Up

Next, you and your AR partner need to decide how you will define and measure success. Analyst relations is not just sitting around talking to analysts. Like any other aspect of marketing, it can and should be measured, and tracked over time, so you can assess your progress, and demonstrate value. (And you will be challenged to demonstrate value by senior executives!)

If you’re just getting started, you can keep things simple. Spend your time making sure you know which analysts matter, and developing your messaging; you can go back and build a sophisticated tracking system later. If your company has an AR manager, they’ll already know what to track.

The most basic metrics you’ll probably want to start with are cadence (how often are you speaking with an analyst), perception (does the analyst view you favorably or not?), and outcome (are you being included in their reports and how do you rank against your competitors?)

Each of these metrics can have several sub-metrics – it can get very detailed! If you’re interested in developing a more complete and sophisticated approach to measuring your AR efforts, there are resources out there like this webinar from Spotlight.

5. Beef Up

So now you’re working on the analyst deck in advance of a briefing. You may be tempted to use the customer presentation that you created for Sales to use. Do not. There is no bigger mistake. That sales deck almost certainly contains marketing hype and fluff, and you can’t bring that to an analyst meeting.

You have to really beef up the content of the analyst presentation. You need to eliminate the hype. You need to have tangible proof points to back up your assertions about your product’s capabilities and differentiators, and why customers value them. Examples of “beefier” content include customer case studies with quantifiable success metrics, customer research findings that analyst firms may not have access to, and statistics you’ve collected about your customers and product that are not publicly available.

Remember, you’re speaking with an analyst, not a sales prospect, and the analyst knows more about your product category than you do.

6. Show Up

As I’ve already said, analyst relations isn’t a once-a-year activity. It needs to be something that you and your AR manager think about daily. Once you find the key analysts for your product category, you should probably be speaking with them three or four times a year.

“Nothing great is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me you desire a fig, I will answer that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.” – Epictetus

Unlike some aspects of marketing that are completely under your control, and where you can see results in days, analyst relations doesn’t work that way. It takes time to brush up on the analysts, and book meetings with them. Most importantly, it takes time to establish a relationship with them, one where they trust the information you provide, and see value in it.

Remember that analysts track dozens of vendors in your category, and handle inquiry calls from hundreds of clients, so they’re not going to have total recall of what your offering does after just one meeting. It’s been my experience that it can take three or four meetings before the analyst really gets it. You just have to keep meeting with them so that your story sinks in.

It’s called analyst relations for a reason – the key is to build a relationship with the analyst. If you treat it as an occasional, transactional thing, you’ll fail at building that relationship and your AR efforts will suffer.

I know you’re busy – tons of content to create, sales enablement, product launches and so on – but when your AR manager asks you to take an analyst briefing, the correct answer is always “yes”. Your partner in AR will give you an “analyst interaction prep” document with logistics (date, time, location, etc.) and a refresher on the analyst (their sentiment about your product) and what the goals of the briefing are. If you’re at a small company and don’t have an AR manager, be sure to do this prep work yourself. This Spotlight webinar shows you what you need. (Skip ahead to 19:10).

7. Shut Up

I’ve saved the most important tip for last: shut up. I know how excited you are to brief the analyst on your announcement. You have just thirty minutes and so much information you want to convey. It can be very tempting to just jump in and start telling your story.

I beg you, do not do this.

There are two big problems with this. The first is that you can’t build a relationship if you do all the talking. The analyst won’t say anything, but inside, they’ll be rolling their eyes, wondering why you’re talking at them instead of with them.

“One of the best ways to persuade others is with your ears.” – Dean Rusk

More importantly, you’re hurting your company if you do all the talking. Yes, you obviously know more about your new product than the analyst, and nominally, the reason for the briefing is so you can tell the analyst about it. But your product is the only thing that you know more about. The analyst knows more about the product category, your competitors, the buyers, and emerging trends. If you do all the talking, you are squandering a chance to learn important insights.

Ask uncomfortable questions. Ask questions that will surface what the analyst sees as your weaknesses. Ask…

  • If the analyst agrees with the hypothesis that underpins your product roadmap
  • Do they agree on the size of the market opportunity?
  • Do they think your offering is truly differentiated?
  • Will their clients find real value in your value proposition?
  • What is their input on your product roadmap and vision?
  • What do they think about the way you’ve segmented the market?
  • What do they think your sweet spot should be,
  • What do they think your biggest weakness is?
  • What one change do they think you should make (GTM, product roadmap sequencing, packaging, pricing, etc.)

To Sum Up

I’ll sum up by asking all of you to take at least one action today that will improve your skills at analyst relations and that will make your product more successful.

  1. Face Up: emphasize customers and analysts in your content strategy
  2. Brush Up: read a Magic Quadrant cover to cover
  3. Team Up: take your AR manager out for coffee
  4. Measure Up: set measurable goals
  5. Beef Up: create b.s.-free presentations just for analysts
  6. Show Up: book an analyst meeting now
  7. Shut Up: listen, learn, and build relationships
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[GUEST POST] Influencer relations so much more than going from an A to I https://analystrelations.org/2020/01/06/guest-post-influencer-relations-so-much-more-than-going-from-an-a-to-i/ https://analystrelations.org/2020/01/06/guest-post-influencer-relations-so-much-more-than-going-from-an-a-to-i/#respond Mon, 06 Jan 2020 16:16:00 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=313116
Marc Duke profile picture

I’ve been in AR for a long long time, so long that when I started (working at Text 100 representing Microsoft in Europe – yup I am showing my age!) reaching out to industry analysts while at a PR agency most of the analysts I spoke to thought I had called the wrong department. Almost 20 years later (yikes!) and AR is cool again, especially if it is part of your influencer relations strategy.

You missed that trend? Let me explain, today everyone is an influencer (wasn’t that always the case?) and if you work in marketing you need to reach out to them to ensure you can influence their thinking and in turn they will influence your customer, or if you are an agency practioner your clients’ customer.

The advent of all things social – twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram etc… means we have digital platforms that enable us to assess and measure the reach, influence and impact of influencers. So followers, likes, shares, retweets all count. On the one hand this makes our jobs a lot easier – if you use a solution like ARchitect – the data is provided with the lists of analysts you are targeting as part of your core AR program. So far so good. 

Over the last couple of years I have become increasingly involved in Influencer Marketing and not just in renaming the ‘A’ in AR with an ‘I’ so people think it is more strategic! Part of my work has involved gaining a deeper understanding of all of the stakeholders that impact purchasing decisions and in the process looking at some of the technology out there to identify and track influencers in addition to the traditional PR tools such as Meltwater or  Muck Rack there are a number of interesting things I have found:

  1. No one tool fits the bill – hardly surprising as different companies will have different stakeholders so it’s a little naïve to think that one solution can work for influencers that function very differently to one another
  2. Careful what you measure – those involved in social media marketing (as an AR professional I think it’s OK to admit this is part of your role!) will often warn about vanity metrics, but when it comes to influence it’s tricky to get real data on the one thing you are really after the extent to which an influencer impacts purchasing decisions
  3. B2B Influencers v Consumer Influencers the difference is real – whilst technology is seen as a great leveller there is still, in my view a real difference between running influencer relations campaigns for a consumer brand and undertaking one for a B2B brand. Recently I looked at solutions from two new UK start-ups CORQ and Buzzoole and whilst both were really impressive their design is very much with the consumer brand in mind (not that that is problem). The only true B2B tool I could find was from an outfit called NarrativeWorx
  4. Tactics, timings and pay for play – there is also a clear distinction between B2B and B2C tactics the latter makes for a much larger pool of pay to play influencers, whereas B2B influencers are usually more interested in long term relationships than just soley cash payment. There is also a hard line between pay to play influencer MARKETING (partner marketing) and proper conversation-driven influencer RELATIONS (pure influencer relations).

This got me thinking on the consumer side of things the main objectives of an influencer campaign is simply endorsement of some degree or another as this will in turn create awareness, either build or strengthen a brand and ultimately drive sales. The extent to which consumer led influencers are as influential as they seem has always been subject to debate.  On the Business to business front whilst endorsement is sought after and prized that is not the full picture with some influencers such as analysts and industry acolytes the conversations away from the glare of social media are as valuable as a name check in a tweet or reference in a blog post.

There are a number of other considerations when comparing B2B v Consumer Influencer relations

The purchasing decision making process – while there is no question that the process of influence is becoming more fragmented and at times more tricky to map when considering the impact of social platforms, there is always going to more  complexity when an organisation is considering buying products or services that require approval or endorsement from several people. The DMU (decision making unit) might communicate digitally rather than in person but the need to identify who influences the people who are involved in deciding what products/services will be purchased is just as crucial. 

The nature of influence – when looking at consumer influencers they tend to act as power users but this is not always the case in b2b. For example a celebrity that endorses a make-up product will use the product; however an industry analyst is unlikely to be a power user of a disk array solution rather they are able to advise why a particular vendor’s solution should be chosen over another.

Influence and revenue – influencers impact revenue otherwise we wouldn’t invest valuable time and budget on connecting with them. There is a big difference between the impact of influencers and revenue when comparing consumer influencers to b2b. The thinking being a consumer influencer will have an almost immediate impact on revenue while the effect of a b2b influencer is likely to be a lot slower due to length of purchasing cycle of business products and services and the fact that often expenditure is classed as capex so is only done periodically.

There are other differences but one thing is for certain influencer marketing whether consumer or b2b is becoming an increasingly important part of marketing and is something all AR professionals need to keep a watchful eye out for. 

Marc Duke (@marcduke, LinkedIn) is an independent consultant currently helping  Criteo with its Influencer Relations Program and Destrier Communications with its AR programs and is also Community Manager of the TLA Createch Working Group.

Other guest posts from analyst relations professionals

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[GUEST POST] 20 mistakes analyst relations teams are making by Mark Peters / ESG (part 2) https://analystrelations.org/2019/12/20/guest-post-20-mistakes-analyst-relations-teams-are-making-by-mark-peters-esg-part-2/ https://analystrelations.org/2019/12/20/guest-post-20-mistakes-analyst-relations-teams-are-making-by-mark-peters-esg-part-2/#respond Fri, 20 Dec 2019 16:16:00 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=312090

If you read part 1 of my blog post ’20 mistakes analyst relations teams are making’ you will hopefully have learnt a few things. Including the fact that I am not shy when it comes to sharing my thoughts! So here we go with part 2 of my list of don’ts, pitfalls, and worst practices when it comes to working with industry analysts.

  1. Following on from my tip not to focus on just one or two analyst firms, don’t treat the analyst community as a homogeneous ecosystem. Our differences abound. Some firms tend to employ very dry, almost academically analytical people. Others are less analytical, more engaging. So, don’t ignore the importance of defining what you want from a particular analyst interaction. For example, are you looking for an objective, outside critic to give you unvarnished, ugly truth? Are you looking for a reassuring partner? Lots of analysts can play both roles, but you have to help them understand what you need. Once in a while, your most curmudgeonly and cynical critic can also be your most inspiring partner.
  2. On a related note, don’t assume we all do the same things the same way (in terms of either free advice or paid projects). Even within one firm, each analyst will have his or her own style when collaborating with you.
  3. Don’t forget to double check whom from the analyst side and whom from your side will be on a given call. Calls that take place with the wrong people are a waste of everyone’s time. If you plan to have a very technical product-development engineer representing your end, then you’ll probably want a more technical person on the analyst’s end (at ESG, our lab analysts are known for keeping pace with even the nerdiest infrastructure architects and technology evangelists.) But if your goal is to figure out how to translate extremely technical value statements into compelling, plain-English marketing messages, then request an analyst that’s focused in that manner.
  4. It is a really bad idea for you to conduct briefings with us at the last minute. Your lack of prep work sends a poor message to us. But more importantly, if you wait until three weeks before a product launch to get in touch with us, then there will be no time left for us to help you make your launch better! Every message will already be baked on your side, warts and all. That’s not a situation conducive to making us feel engaged with your company and its goals. I recall many occasions when it’s happened to me, and afterward, I found it harder to feel invested in helping those clients craft their launch strategies the next time around—because I knew, yet again, there’d be no time left for them to act on any of my suggestions. Basically, if you don’t want to consider the analyst’s feedback, you might as well just send a deck.
  5. Don’t assume we have set opinions on everything, even on matters involving a single company. We are always morphing and expanding our knowledge of the markets we cover and the clients we serve. Don’t assume influencers cannot be influenced! You have more power of persuasion over us than you might know. We’ll have no issues becoming avid fans of you and your company if it’s warranted.
  6. Which brings me to this point: don’t ignore us. You aren’t the only ones having calls with us. Members of the IT press call us for commentary, too. When journalists are asking us for a quote, your ongoing efforts to ensure your company remains “front-of-mind” in our consciousness will pay off. Basically, just keep in mind that we talk to a lot more people affiliated with your industry than you do—reporters, end-users, channel partners, your direct competitors, major investors, other analysts, and beyond.
  7. On a day-to-day basis in your own role, don’t be just a gatekeeper. In other words, don’t limit yourself to being the forwarder of emails between outside analysts and your company’s in-house subject matter experts. Over the years, I’ve seen AR people overly indulge in “bottlenecking” behavior, presumably because it gave them a feeling of control over the company’s analyst relationships. If you do that, you are not adding value you are actually reducing value for all parties. We are a catalyst for your company’s success. Keeping the relevant analysts “locked in an AR drawer”, away from your marketing and engineering colleagues, isn’t helpful.
  8. Don’t let your company’s marketing-campaign people pitch anyone (i.e., juicy prospects and lucrative customers whose continued business is important) without doing a dry run with an analyst first. We are your brutally honest friend who will tell you about your halitosis and thus save you from embarrassment when it really counts!
  9. It works the other way, too. Don’t forget that people across your industry, not to mention your biggest customers, are regularly telling us far more then they’d ever dare reveal to you directly.
  10. Here we could have something about not using a slide deck with you that features market stats from competing analyst houses… Is that an issue? I’d have thought so but I’m not an analyst…
  11. We have entered a time in which the classic “annual big launch” is fading away. More often, IT vendors—including the company you may represent—are releasing steady drip-drips of enhanced product features and functions throughout the year. This IT industry-wide shift is making it harder for product marketing teams to garner traction and attention for their new and improved solutions.In such a climate, if you treat your analyst community as a check-box item, then you’ll do nothing more than check a box. You can do better than that. We are not all the same—learn that, and work optimally within that reality.These days, it’s more important than ever for you to refine and optimize your analyst interactions. As with any relationship, honesty is the best policy. Candor leads to trust, and trust leads ultimately to success — for you and us.

Mark Peters (LinkedIn, @englishmdp) is a Practice Director & Senior Analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), with three decades of IT industry experience – the first two spent in myriad commercial management roles for vendors on each side of the Atlantic the last decade looking in on the vendors and at the market for ESG. ESG is an IT analyst, research, validation, and strategy firm that provides market intelligence and actionable insight to the global IT community. ESG helps clients achieve business results through a comprehensive portfolio of research and advisory services, consulting, and custom content solutions.

This post first appeared on A3 Communications, reposted with their kind permission.

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[GUEST POST] 20 mistakes analyst relations teams are making by Mark Peters / ESG (part 1) https://analystrelations.org/2019/12/19/guest-post-20-mistakes-analyst-relations-teams-are-making-by-mark-peters-esg-part-1/ https://analystrelations.org/2019/12/19/guest-post-20-mistakes-analyst-relations-teams-are-making-by-mark-peters-esg-part-1/#respond Thu, 19 Dec 2019 16:16:00 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=312087 Mark Peters / ESG: 20 mistakes analyst relations teams are making

Good news: With improvements, everyone will see better results
I’m going to make an assertion that will seem unnecessarily provocative. After working for a decade as an IT industry analyst—including interacting regularly with analysts from other firms — I am confident in saying that many, indeed perhaps most, analyst relations teams are sub-optimizing their relationships and, by extension, their companies’ relationships with the analysts covering them.

I mainly work with teams that manage industry analyst relations specifically—that is, AR teams. But good chunks of the advice I’m about to share could apply (with some tweaking) to anyone managing relationships between their company and outside influencers such as journalists, investment analysts, or other third-party pundits who need information about features, roadmaps, or strategies.Big companies have full-time AR, PR, and IR teams, but even small startups usually have someone on staff doing similar work, even if it’s just one part of their role. There are a lot of you out there. So here we go.

THE PITFALLS — SOME OBVIOUS, SOME NOT

Articles and blogs filled with tips on working with analysts are commonplace. A3 Communications asked me to examine the topic from a different angle. Rather than concentrating on best practices, I’ve been asked to share what I feel are the don’ts, pitfalls, and worst practices.
It boils down to how we jointly communicate—particularly in briefings where you and your colleagues tell us stuff, and in inquiries where you and your colleagues ask us stuff. (I’m not focusing on the subsequent tactical interactions related to developing papers, videos, etc.)

Here are the “no-nos,” in no particular order:

  1. Don’t concentrate all your energy on discussing your written materials and PowerPoint slides. What matters most to us is the conversation that we have with you. To put it another way, present heaps of content to us only if you want to avoid a real discussion with us!
  2. Don’t waste time teaching us about well-known realities of IT today. We are well aware that data is growing….IT budgets are constrained….virtualization is efficient….and the cloud is popular!
  3. Don’t give us the customer-pitch version of your message. We want a more richly textured, comprehensive, in-depth elucidation of your company’s essence, differentiation, business plan, and vision for the future. Your five-minute elevator pitch to prospects has its raison d’etre, but that pitch is not meant primarily for an analyst audience.
  4. In a similar vein, don’t make and present just one deck! You wouldn’t present one generic slide deck to all of your company’s own widely varied customers and prospects (would you!?), so why have just one for all analysts and analyst firms?
  5. This is an obvious point, but don’t be boring. We see countless slide decks … so, so many, many slide decks. You want your message to stand out from the crowd.
  6. Here’s a not-so-secret secret. Nearly all analysts love to talk. But, they also love to help. It’s good for business all around! So, don’t just talk at us instead, ask us lots of questions. Use our loquacious tendencies to your advantage. You’ll get some level of insight during practically any analyst conversation—even when no formal subscriber relationship is in place between your organization and ours, and we’re just informally chatting. A good analyst, even one “coming in blind” to an introductory meeting with an unknown startup, will have a few interesting, helpful words of wisdom. And I guarantee you, he or she will be eager to share (or, minimally, unable to stop themselves from so doing!).
  7. In general, don’t assume we exist solely to provide feedback on your new strategy, or that we live to write briefs about your great new product. We have more to offer. We know what other vendors in your market are doing and can, therefore, play devil’s advocate. Additionally, once we feel safe placing our trust in you, we can give you candid feedback about the individuals in your own organization whom we believe are taking/optimizing/benefitting from our advice (and, conversely, who’s ignoring it).
  8. Don’t assume we need to be treated as precious VIPs. You don’t have to wine and dine us. Remember, if your company has a subscription with our firm, we’ll be happy to get on the phone with you any time. Don’t wait until your big show in Vegas, Frankfurt, or Singapore is just around the corner. To be honest, we’d rather have a truly good phone call with you than be shipped off every three weeks to one city or another’s expo center, stuck inside conference rooms for three days. We certainly don’t mind free food and nice hotels, but we (mostly!) like helping you even more.
  9. Don’t forget: No one can remember everything they hear, or review huge PPT decks while absorbing everything. So, don’t take a “full-strength-firehose” approach with us. Put thought into what you want our top two or three discussions and/or takeaways to be.
  10. You can pick and choose what questions to ask of the different analysts you engage, but don’t neglect to get a smorgasbord of input. There’s more than one analyst firm out there. Talk to a range of us. Leverage our variety.

This is it for part 1. Yes, there are more don’ts I’m planning to share. Watch this space for part 2….

Mark Peters (LinkedIn, @englishmdp) is a Practice Director & Senior Analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), with three decades of IT industry experience – the first two spent in myriad commercial management roles for vendors on each side of the Atlantic the last decade looking in on the vendors and at the market for ESG. ESG is an IT analyst, research, validation, and strategy firm that provides market intelligence and actionable insight to the global IT community. ESG helps clients achieve business results through a comprehensive portfolio of research and advisory services, consulting, and custom content solutions.

This post first appeared on A3 Communications, reposted with their kind permission.

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Gartner Symposium / ITxpo 2019: key takeaways for AR professionals https://analystrelations.org/2019/11/19/gartner-symposium-itxpo-2019-key-takeaways-for-ar-professionals/ https://analystrelations.org/2019/11/19/gartner-symposium-itxpo-2019-key-takeaways-for-ar-professionals/#comments Tue, 19 Nov 2019 16:16:00 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=312060
Gartner Symposium
The IIAR> was at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2019 in Barcelona

This year’s Gartner Symposium in Barcelona had a couple of updates for AR professionals in store. And the analysts on stage shared new ideas and new perspectives to the already known tech story.

Gartner Keynote: The Aristotelian Concept of the Golden Mean applied to Technology and Business

This year’s opening keynote on Monday Morning developed further the concept of “Continuous Next” which was presented at Gartner Symposium last year. This year, Ed Gabrys (LinkedIn, @edgabrys), Senior Director Analyst at Gartner introduced the picture of turns that businesses are facing in the era of ever-changing realities and increasing speed. It is all about anticipating these twists, knowing how to take them, and winning in them. Disruption becomes opportunity, not a wipe out.

Geopolitics, regulatory requirements, economic and environmental conditions and downturns trigger the turns, as does fierce competition and the arrival of digital giants to shake up traditional marketplaces.

In my view, the most interesting idea that Gartner presented in the keynote was that of Technology Equilibrium, dubbed TechQ. According to Gartner, the dichotomy of traditional and digital business no longer exists. It is all about finding the right mix of traditional and digital business practice. The sweet spot, or TechQ, is different for every company. But ever organization should get as close as possible to its own Golden Mean. The further away, the more likely of getting disrupted.

AR Forum: New AR Role in the works

Gartner invited AR professionals to an update on its research and business. Gartner reported that MQs and critical capabilities will be updated more regularly, and is streamlining the data collection and evaluation process, which will result in reduced time and efforts for vendors. Furthermore, Gartner will undertake interim updates to Magic Quadrants, to reflect major updates such as a Merger or Acquisition. Updates will only apply to providers positioned in the Magic Quadrant. However, the dots will not move, the MQ graphic will remain unchanged.

Last year, Gartner introduced the new role-based subscription model, intended to better serve different roles within a company, around product management, product marketing, general manager and emerging tech CEO. In the past year, Gartner account representatives have been aggressively pushing the new research formats and updated contracts. This year, Gartner talked about a new AR-specific role and seat.

What does the new model mean for AR professionals?

Does this mean only limited access to research? How can AR pros then serve internal stakeholders in different roles? These remain open questions. Gartner is open for feedback to help define the new research service for AR professionals. The IIAR recommends contacting your account rep to share feedback.

The role based model sounds promising at first. It promises more focus on specific needs and best practices, peer benchmarks and access to a variety of working and benchmark tools and frameworks that can help in refining programs and achieving success. The flipside is the confinement to one specific role. For example, if you buy into the product manager role, you don’t get access to the industry-specific research. If you would like to develop an industry-specific product, you will need additional budget to access to the industries seat.  If you buy into the Emerging Tech CEO role, you will not get access to product management, nor industries.  

Events like Symposium allow access to all presentations and analyst insights, no matter which role or seat you bought into. Also, you have access to analysts in one-on-one meetings, although it is increasingly difficult get the one-on-ones with top tier analysts on your wish list: Some were booked out weeks in advance.

Finally, thanks to all the AR pros who turned up to the IIAR AR Café Anja and myself organised at Gartner Symposium in Barcelona 2019 -it was a great conversation!

Previous posts on Gartner

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IIAR AR Café at Gartner Symposium in Barcelona 2019 https://analystrelations.org/2019/10/29/iiar-meet-up-at-gartner-symposium-in-barcelona-2019/ https://analystrelations.org/2019/10/29/iiar-meet-up-at-gartner-symposium-in-barcelona-2019/#respond Tue, 29 Oct 2019 10:21:49 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=311682 Join us…

at our IIAR get-together at this year’s Gartner Symposium 2019 in Barcelona, hosted by Yvonne Kaupp (@YveKauppLinkedIn), IIAR Board Member (Chapter Liaison) and Senior Manager Global Analyst Relations and Market Strategy at Retarus and Anja Steinmann (@AnjaSteinmann, LinkedIn), IIAR UK Chapter Co-lead and Global Analyst and Consultant Relations Manager at BT.

We’d love to connect with our fellow IIAR members and Analyst Relations Professionals for drinks & discussions around AR related hot topics and to recap on the Symposium sessions.

When: Tuesday, November 5th 2019
Time: 18:00 CET
Venue: Hilton Bar – Hilton Diagonal Mar Barcelona Hotel, Carrer del Taulat, 262-264, 08019 Barcelona, Spain

For registration, please fill in the form below.

[contact-form]]]>
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IIAR> Webinar: Future Shock: The Coming State of Analyst Relations https://analystrelations.org/2019/10/24/iiar-webinar-future-shock-the-coming-state-of-analyst-relations/ https://analystrelations.org/2019/10/24/iiar-webinar-future-shock-the-coming-state-of-analyst-relations/#respond Thu, 24 Oct 2019 15:16:30 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=311544
Gerry van Zandt and Ludovic Leforestier - IIAR

The IIAR> will soon release a new and long-awaited white paper that provides fresh insights and information into how the field of Analyst Relations will evolve and change over the coming 5-10 years.  To mark the debut of this white paper, IIAR will host a webinar on the 5th December2019 at 0800 PST / 1000 EST / 1600 GMT to outline some of its key findings, and to discuss important considerations that will be relevant to everyone working in the Analyst Relations field.

Authored by Oracle AR Director Gerry Van Zandt (LinkedIn@gerryvz) and Criteo Global Influencer Relations Director Ludovic Leforestier (@lludovicLinkedIn) at Criteo (LinkedIn@lludovic), the paper takes a quick look backward to review how Analyst Relations has evolved to its current point over the past 30+ years.  

More importantly, the paper gathers and analyzes the impact of current trends and activities in the industry to help inform AR leaders as to what will be important in the coming years, and key considerations and strategic actions they should pursue to stay on top of their craft in the future.  Quotes and observations from AR practitioners worldwide are used throughout to reinforce and provoke new thinking on salient points.

The paper ends with actionable advice for all AR pros as to how analyst firms, analyst research, analyst research consumers, and the analyst role itself is and will change, and how AR needs to adapt to stay relevant and “on top” of these changes. 

Key topics that will be discussed on the webinar include:  

  • How major analyst industry changes are driving evolution and at the same time, broadening the scope of Analyst Relations
  • The impact of crowdsourced research both on customer influence, and on traditional syndicated research
  • The evolving role of AR measurement, and how it contributes to making the AR field more strategic and impactful
  • How to magnify and scale AR beyond the largest firms and their “quadrant” style evaluations

The event will be recorded for IIAR members unable to join due to work commitments. 

Date:  Thursday 5th December 2019

Time:  4:00 PM GMT / 5:00 PM CET / 8:00 AM PST / 11:00 AM EST

To register your interest (please note – current IIAR members only), click HERE and plan to join us for an engaging discussion!

If you are not an IIAR member, but are an IAR professional and interested in attending, please contact us (info@analystrelations.org).  Kindly note that all registrations by non-IIAR members are subject to IIAR approval.

Related posts:

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IIAR> Discussion Group: working with Gartner https://analystrelations.org/2019/10/16/iiar-discussion-group-working-with-gartner/ https://analystrelations.org/2019/10/16/iiar-discussion-group-working-with-gartner/#respond Wed, 16 Oct 2019 20:11:37 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=311447 As the largest analyst firm, everyone in analyst relations is impacted by their relationship with Gartner. From contract negotiations to account management to research coverage, our AR programs are greatly impacted by Gartner’s offerings, communications.

Because it is a forever-changing entity, this discussion will focus on how we all make the most of our Gartner relationships. Let’s come together as AR peers to discuss common challenges, working relationship ideas, and share experiences with Gartner.

Please send us the questions and topics you’d like to discuss to Deepak prior to the webinar using the form below.

Attending IIAR Events is free and restricted to AR professionals active members of the IIAR.

This discussion will be under Chatham House Rule moderated by two IIAR Board Members: Andrew Hsu, IIAR board member (@andrew0hsu, LinkedIn) and Aniruddho Mukherjee (@aniruddhoLinkedIn).

Date: 14th November 2019

Time: 1600pm GMT / 1700pm CET / 0700 PDT / 1100 EDT

Location: webinar > REGISTER

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The IIAR Tragic Quadrant 2018 https://analystrelations.org/2019/10/11/the-iiar-tragic-quadrant-2018/ https://analystrelations.org/2019/10/11/the-iiar-tragic-quadrant-2018/#comments Fri, 11 Oct 2019 17:49:36 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=311306 Fashionably late but always on point and by popular request here’s the IIAR Tragic Quadrant 2018, a representation of how Analyst Relations Professionals (AR Pros) have rated analyst firms in the 2018 survey we ran for the Analyst and Firm of the Year 2018.

For new readers here, the Tragic Quadrant is of course a pun on the infamous GartnerMagic Quadrant’. We do not pretend this as an exhaustive analysis -nor is it a completely serious piece of research (the “Tragic” moniker is there as a reminiscence it should be taken with a pinch of salt). Nonetheless it is based on data and, as opposed to the Gartner Magic Quadrant, there are no magical and secretive weightings. As such, it is a good indication going back several years of the changes afoot in the industry analyst landscape and the judgement analyst relations professionals cast on industry research firms. And it provides actionable insights AR pros can use, something other surveys in this field often lack.

The ‘AOTY‘ survey allowed us to collect data on AR pros’ preferred industry analysis firms, which we group in three composite indicators:

  • Impact as plotted on the Y axis is a relative position of firms based on how AR pros view their ‘Impact’ on purchase decision and moreover on the ecosystem at large. This also relates to their perceived credibility and capability to provide an objective opinion.
  • Relevance on the X axis is the relative position of analyst firms as seen by AR for relevance in their own ecosystems, including capability to cover the market, technologies and geography. It also covers the depth of expertise of analysts.
  • Interaction is the size each bubble, translating how it is easy to do business with each firm according to AR pros. The smaller the bubble, the harder it is to work with the firm. This is also a relative rating.

Without further ado, here is the 2018 IIAR Tragic Quadrant, presenting some big surprises this year as you can see from below.

IIAR Tragic Quadrant 2018 v04
The IIAR> Tragic Quadrant 2018

My comments on these results… but your guess is as good as mine.

On relevance (horizontal axis), it seems it pays for firms to be specialised or focussed on a specific expertise area accorded to AR pros, something that should be put in perspective by the fact those very specialised firms attracted less nominations. The larger firms are relevant by virtues of coverage and space, Forrester being on the left of Gartner having de-focussed from IT is probably the counter example.

Impact presents a more curious picture, with 451 clearly also benefiting from having a laser-focus on its enterprise audience for instance. It’s worth noting that this is a survey of AR professionals and not an actual measure of impact on sales or otherwise.

The most revealing dimension is the ease to do business with, where AR pros rate the leading industry analysis firm, Gartner, much lower for ease to do business with. We’re seeing a net regression there this year, maybe as Gartner is its increased domination on the market to impose rigid practices and T&C’s? Everest is perplexing as their size should make them more amenable. We would caution firms to watch this indicator as we said last year:

Analyst firms might also use this tool to monitor the ‘transactional tax’ that they impose on analyst relations professionals. If they raise the ‘interaction barrier’ too high (e.g. make it too difficult for analyst relations professionals to interact with them) while not providing sufficient coverage and showing impact, this could affect their vendor information source. They may be left with only a partial view of the market (raising exhaustivity and fairness issues). Finally, their vendor revenues might suffer too.

Neil Pollock, The IIAR Tragic Quadrant for 2017

Also worthy of a mention, is besides the ‘historic’ firms 451 Research, ESG, Everest Group, Forrester, Gartner, HfS Research, IDC, Kuppinger Cole & Partner, NelsonHall, Ovum and the well publicised ZK Research, we find relatively new firms:

Bottom line

Analyst relations professionals should watch closely the ecosystem and balance their efforts towards firms that are relevant in their space, have more impact on the goals they pursue (see the AR SOSM model) and arbitrage budgets to deliver better value for money, avoid friction and un-necessary ‘transactional taxes.’

By Ludovic Leforestier (LinkedIn@lludovic).

Related posts:

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[GUEST POST] Do’s And Don’ts For Analyst Interactions by Chase Cunningham / Forrester https://analystrelations.org/2019/10/08/guest-post-dos-and-donts-for-analyst-interactions-by-chase-cunningham-forrester/ https://analystrelations.org/2019/10/08/guest-post-dos-and-donts-for-analyst-interactions-by-chase-cunningham-forrester/#respond Tue, 08 Oct 2019 10:51:06 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=311225
Chase Cunningham, Principal Analyst, Forrester

Having just been through an onslaught of work related to the Forrester Wave™ evaluation on Zero Trust eXtended ecosystem platform providers, I think that it’s worthwhile to put some guidance out there that might help folks as they interact with analysts (well, me, mainly, but maybe it will help with others, as well). And a disclaimer: I don’t actively work with folks at other analyst firms, so take my humble advice here with a grain of salt; every analyst is a bit different, and each firm has its own way of doing things.

Do’s:

  1. Have a specific set of slides for the briefing. Focus on the way you solve whatever problem you solve. I want to know how your specific solution helps the end user be more secure.
  2. Move quickly through the company stuff. Yes, I want to know about your company and the super awesome folks that work there, but in truth, I am most focused on how your solution does what it does. Introduce the folks and the pertinent facts about the company in less than two slides and move on.
  3. Keep a cadence. If you really want to engage and work with an analyst, then you have to keep the pace up. If you brief me once a year, expect a once-a-year interaction. Some of us do a few hundred of these during the year; we get saturated with all of the interactions with those groups that do keep a regular cadence, and that means that if you don’t keep up, it’s likely something important gets lost in the mix.
  4. Any company can do a briefing (with me, at least). There is a big market out there and many different ways to address the problems we face; if you have a better mousetrap, please brief me. It doesn’t cost you a thing but time (but please see point No. 1 here before doing the briefing).
  5. Set yourself up for success. If you don’t have folks that know the analyst interaction game, hire some or get in with an agency. The value that both of us get from this interaction comes from everyone being on point, and the skills needed to do this right can’t be overstated. Honestly, if you don’t have the specific experience and talent on staff, GET IT. And in my opinion, and from what others tell me, PR is different from AR. Don’t confuse the two.
  6. Do your research. We have specific coverage areas, and we publish research along those lines of coverage. It’s best you know what those areas are, and the best way to do that is to do your own research on the analysts you want to interact with. Do your homework, and know what the analyst cares about.

Don’ts:

  1. Just jump on a briefing and wing it. Don’t do that. It’s a waste of an opportunity for both of us, and to be frank, it makes me doubt how well things run at the company when something like a briefing isn’t handled professionally.
  2. Go nuclear. If your company is in on a Wave or some other evaluation and things don’t go your way, don’t take the nuclear option. Analysis is not personal, and we do months and months of analysis on a variety of items to come to that final evaluation point. If you go nuclear, it won’t work out the way you want, I promise you. If you have facts or something that is specific enough to possibly influence a change, then great, work through the proper channels and be professional, and let’s see where it goes.
  3. Confuse an investor deck with an analyst briefing. Investors look at the company and all the ins and outs of whether or not that potential investment might be worth it for them. They have specific criteria they are looking for; it’s different from what I or most other analysts I know are looking for. I have no money, seriously. So don’t try and brief me with an investor deck; I won’t invest (and technically, that would be illegal anyway, and I don’t look good in an orange jumpsuit), and most of the stuff an investor is looking for is way out of the vector of what I care about.
  4. Bash the competition or say you have none. If your approach to justifying the validity of your solution is based mostly on how crappy the rest of the market is and you spend your time just bashing the competition, that isn’t a good way to go about it. Sure, point out flaws in other solutions and discuss how you do things better. But don’t spend either of our time talking about how terrible everything else is. And no matter what, you have competition in some way. You may have the best mousetrap, sure, but somehow, someway, you have a competitor, period.

The last thing that I think is worth being aware of is that the purpose of the evaluative reports we do is to help our end users know more about what solutions might help them solve their problems. For me, I don’t do research on vendor solutions with the idea that my end goal is to rank them based on how nifty their technology is. I feel a sense of duty to make sure I spend time separating the use cases and details of those solutions based on their ability to help solve a problem. I honestly couldn’t care less about who comes out on top; it’s all about the benefit of that solution to those folks that are going to use it at the end of the day.

First posted on the 7th October 2019 by Dr. Chase Cunningham / Principal Analyst, Forrester (LinkedIn, @CynjaChaseC, bio) on his blog, reposted with his permission.

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10 things analysts want most https://analystrelations.org/2019/07/23/10-things-analysts-want-most/ https://analystrelations.org/2019/07/23/10-things-analysts-want-most/#comments Tue, 23 Jul 2019 16:34:44 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=308048 AR Professional Of The Year 2019 survey. Regular briefingsTargeted coverageOpen discussion about company strengths and weaknessesSending the deck ahead of the briefing so there’s time to come up with in depth questionsWell organised AR events that encourage conversation not mere presentationsSupport for research […]]]> Here are the top ten best practices we un-earthed during the IIAR> AR Professional Of The Year 2019 survey.

  1. Regular briefings
  2. Targeted coverage
  3. Open discussion about company strengths and weaknesses
  4. Sending the deck ahead of the briefing so there’s time to come up with in depth questions
  5. Well organised AR events that encourage conversation not mere presentations
  6. Support for research interviews, being pragmatic during Evaluative Research. 
  7. When AR helps to get the right people on the table for f2f meetings and when AR gives feedback  about what kind of information is the most valuable for its organization
  8. Pro-actively flagging developments in coverage areas
  9. Knowing the kind of material/projects my company works on. 
  10. Sharing data under NDA
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IIAR Webinar: Introducing CCS Insight – and how they make sense of the connected world https://analystrelations.org/2019/04/03/iiar-webinar-introducing-ccs-insight-and-how-they-make-sense-of-the-connected-world/ https://analystrelations.org/2019/04/03/iiar-webinar-introducing-ccs-insight-and-how-they-make-sense-of-the-connected-world/#respond Wed, 03 Apr 2019 15:55:32 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=290815 CCS Insights LogoCCS Insight is a longstanding research firm headquartered in the UK, but with reach and clients into wider EMEA, the Americas and Asia Pac. This specialist technology market intelligence and advisory firm provides tailored, decision-ready solutions to their client base to help them ‘make sense of the connected world’.

This April 17th, we invite two of CCS Insight’s finest, VP of Research Martin Garner (Blog, @martin_garner, LinkedIn), and Principal Analyst for Digital Workplace Angela Ashenden (LinkedIn, @aashenden), to give us an overview of the firm’s research and advisory services and practice areas, and touch on their upcoming 2020 Predictions, a must-not-miss annual event in the diary for their clients.

We will also discuss some of the best ways to:

  • Engage in analyst time or consultancy time with CCS Insight
  • How Angela and Martin prefer to be reached out to prior to major industry events 
  • Some commercial initiatives the CCS Insight team has come up with, and how to engage with them from a business development perspective

Hosted by IIAR Board Member Suzannah Archibald (LinkedIn, @suzannah_a), the event will also be recorded for IIAR members unable to join due to work commitments. But please don’t miss it, as we think it’ll be a good one!

Date: Wednesday, 17th April 2019

Time: 1100am-1200 EDT / 1600-1700 BST

To register your interest (please note – Current IIAR members only)  https://zoom.us/meeting/register/5ca1950adb347e73c5b9141539e44ee6 -OR- info@analystrelations.org if not a current Member but you are an IAR professional, subject to IIAR approval.

 

Find the IIAR on social media – Institute of Industry Analyst Relations on Facebook; LinkedIn page, our website and blog or via our brand new Member365 portal (secure login needed – for current IIAR members only)

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IIAR Discussion Group on Scaling AR on April 18th https://analystrelations.org/2019/03/28/iiar-discussion-group-on-scaling-ar-on-april-18th/ https://analystrelations.org/2019/03/28/iiar-discussion-group-on-scaling-ar-on-april-18th/#comments Thu, 28 Mar 2019 15:13:01 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=289451 The analyst landscape is changing fast and new voices are joining the conversation with impact over potential buyers. Whilst Tier 1 analyst firms generally retain their position in the area of direct buying recommendations, the picture is different when it comes to other sources influencing the buyer journey.
For instance, boutique firms are claiming their share of the influencer space, particularly in regional markets.
They might however not have the same business models or abide by the same rules of engagement than traditional analyst research firms (see the IIAR Best Practice Paper: The 7+7+7 Golden Rules of Engagement).

Scaling analyst relations however poses multiple challenges, starting with prioritisation, bandwidth and content.
We are hosting an IIAR> Best Practice call on the 18 April 2019 at 1600-1700 BST / 1100-1200 EDT / 0800-0900 PDT to discuss and explore the subject of Scaling AR.
Join the IIAR for a one-hour Discussion Group, where we’ll ask and debate these topics, and more.
The discussion will be co-hosted by Katie Webb (LinkedIn@katiewebb) of Oracle and Ludovic Leforestier (@lludovicLinkedIn) at Criteo.

It’s free for all IIAR members. Register online here for the IIAR> Discussion Group > https://zoom.us/meeting/register/e5e0c0766eaca779d746f627e8486654

We look forward to your participation.

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[GUEST POST] How Analyst Relations Impacts Strategy  https://analystrelations.org/2018/10/17/guest-post-how-analyst-relations-impacts-strategy/ https://analystrelations.org/2018/10/17/guest-post-how-analyst-relations-impacts-strategy/#comments Wed, 17 Oct 2018 15:34:17 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=250446

Analyst relations seems straightforward enough – as a tech vendor, you relate key milestones and elements of strategy to those industry analysts who you think will have the greatest reach to your target market. Right? In my opinion though, the best analyst relations professionals also flip that model. With just as much vigour and interest, they ensure that the leaders in the company are not only aware of overall market trends and emerging technologies that could impact short term AND long term revenues, but they also consider how best to respond to market indicators. How do you do THAT? It’s like inserting yourself into the C-Suite, or as part of the Office of the CEO or Strategy team. How do you get senior executive leaders to listen? And more importantly, to take action based on the market trends you bring them?

Your company executives get a lot of emails – news briefings, competitor milestones, aggregated industry headlines, but I guarantee none of it comes with a specific, targeted recommendation to take a specific action. That’s where you as the analyst relations professional comes in. You have access to all kinds of expensive, peer reviewed, extremely relevant research that you can not only summarize but also use to impact your organization via a customized recommendation.

Make It Easy

The largest research investment at my company is with Gartner. Per the license agreement, I can summarize any research note and even include up to five sentences as an excerpt. I post ten of the most relevant research notes to the Gartner Business Associates (GBA) portal so that others at my company can stay up to date on emerging trends. The GBA is a Gartner product that enables anyone in my company’s domain to access limited research on Gartner’s site.  Sending full research notes to executives is outside the bounds of the Agreement and honestly, most are too busy to actually read them anyway. And if even if they do read an entire research note (they don’t), so what? What are they going to do differently because of it? Unless they sit around and ruminate on all possibilities of the impact or implications of that research, nothing will change. Through working in enterprise technology sales for the better part of fifteen years, I realized that ‘buyers want to be led’ – – you gotta make taking the next step clear, and you MUST make it easy – thoughtless almost. But natural. The same can be said for Analyst Relations. Just go ahead and tell your executive what action he/she should take because of this latest research. To be more politically correct, consider doing it in the form of a question. For instance, if a new research note is extolling the miraculous impact that RPA or artificial intelligence is going to have on tech vendor offerings, you can summarize the key points of the note and then finish with ‘Action Needed’ and then the question “How are we planning for automation technologies in our offerings?” and “What impact will automation have on our customer pricing options over the term of the contract?” My senior leaders liked this so much that one of them recommended that all the executive team actually be required to answer these questions.

What to Focus On

Some of the research that Analyst Relations regularly summarizes are the following:

  • Gartner IT Key Metric Data – Updated in Q4 every year, I ensure our pricing team is aware of any dollar/ metric data that is relevant to our line of business
  • Gartner Cool Vendors series – There are 21 reports in this series already for 2018. While the company I work for doesn’t qualify as an emerging vendor, we do make targeted acquisitions and my review of this research helps us stay aware of possible acquisition targets
  • Forrester WAVE, Gartner Magic Quadrants, ISG Provider Lens – This is the reason analyst relations exists at my company. So, like you I present the outcome and the action plan in place to move our positioning.
  • Forecast Data – This summary of trends goes to the CFO and team for market sizing and planning purposes
  • Any research note that corresponds to our market areas – best practices, market updates, competitive data are all mined for the most salient points and summarized
  • Competitive research – unfortunately we do not have a formal competitive intelligence (CI) team, but it really is important to know how you are doing relative to your primary competitors. I plan to pick up this responsibility for my company in the coming months.

Quarterly ‘Roadshows’

Once a quarter, I recommend asking for time with the executive teams and with the Sales teams to provide an industry update. It’s important for these teams to maintain some element of an ‘outside in’ perspective rather than the daily grind of dealing with what’s come up right in front of them. It’s difficult to make time to be strategic and I see it as our responsibility to help them carve out time to consider what effects the emerging trends will have on our business, and how we will prepare for it. It’s helpful too to understand how they “consume” research – would they prefer a nice long note to sink their teeth into via the Gartner Business Associates portal, maybe read in electronic format on their Kindle? Or do they prefer summaries printed on paper that they can tote around? There is also the option of a license that would allow them to create their own relationships with key analyst vendors as well.  Many executives read the key findings and recommendations only, and others prefer to talk through their questions via the Inquiry service.

Full Circle

The payoff for all of this is that once they associate YOU with important things they should know, they’ll be more apt to support analyst relations in briefings, customer references, and any data requests you may be working on from an analyst firm. The better data you have for the analysts, the better you can do in a major competitive market analysis. Remember, you get delegated to the level you sound like, so step up and have those strategic, thought-leadership oriented conversations with your executive team. And let me know how it goes!!

This element of strategy is related to the discussion in the AR Compass; read more about that here.

By Jodie Ohr / Director of Analyst Relations and Market Insights at CompuCom (LinkedIn, @OhrHeard)

 

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[GUEST POST] How Analyst & Advisory Relations translates to Business https://analystrelations.org/2018/09/07/guest-post-how-analyst-advisory-relations-translates-to-business/ https://analystrelations.org/2018/09/07/guest-post-how-analyst-advisory-relations-translates-to-business/#respond Fri, 07 Sep 2018 11:12:42 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=245480 Christian Holscher (IIAR website)When even hyper-successful companies like AWS invest in dedicated analyst and advisor relations management although they seem to dominate their markets anyway, it suggests they realize much more value in AR than ‘only’ to position high in an industry report. 

Even small innovative businesses seek to engage regularly with the likes of Gartner, Forrester, IDC or with boutique analyst firms, although they may be far from making it ‘onto’ a flagship MQ or Wave or Marketscape report. Why do they prioritise time and money to AR?

Because it pays unique dividends that are harder to achieve otherwise.

This article aims to explain AR results in the context of the business functions that it supports and based on years of hands-on experience.

Quick (incomplete) intro to Analyst and Advisor Relations

I’ve worked in analyst and advisor relations management in medium and large organisations, and I’ve played a broad spectrum of AR instruments. It is a fascinating professional discipline with deep and direct reach right into the entrepreneurial centers of even super large organisations.

  1. It means personal connections right to the people who effectively strategize about portfolio, partnerships and investments, or who actually shape the critical tactical programs of the company, or who work on that unique “must-win“ deal. AR is in touch, understands their diverse needs and challenges and often connects the dots between separate issues that even key players didn’t realise. AR helps by bringing independent and trustworthy external insights to these key players where and when it is specifically needed to get ahead.
  2. At the same time AR also helps by carefully positioning the companies most relevant topics with industry leading analysts and advisors, so that its capabilities and ambitions are adequately understood when the most influential market reports are written and when potential new customers seek strategic advice from sourcing consultants.

From these two perspectives alone you can see that the AR role can be extremely impactful, when companies allow it a bit of breathing space. But how effectively does it translate to business?

Let me take you through 3 examples how analyst and advisor relations management can achieve what type and dimension of business results.

The report-to-business impact

When I took over the management of a specific Gartner MQ in one of the companies smaller portfolio branches, the company had already qualified onto the report and was placed as a close-to-niche challenger. I was assigned to manage the submission for the following year. That year our placement advanced straight to the Leaders box. In response, early heads up information from customers about planned larger investment and the number of invites to such RFIs grew tripple digits. Now that was remarkable.

After that I managed with the portfolio team to improve the MQ placement another four years in a row, overtaking big names in the industry and making it right to the top placement within the Leaders box. I taught sales how to use these placements with prospects beyond simply sending them a copy mentioning the success, and instead showed them a way that would take the conversation to an entirely different level, open a more strategic perspective and thus give sales a much better understanding of the customers challenges and broader ambitions. During this time the business of the portfolio branch grew 5x, attracting new top brands as customers and – equally important – attract new key talent as well.

The insight-to-innovation impact

Since top report placements do not come from once-a-year engagements with an analyst house but rather build on a continuous and well-dosed alterocentric exchange, there’s a lot of value that AR collects along the way. Insight about the market and trends, technology, new business models, management challenges, etc. Using this insight for and with the people who run the most critical projects and programs throughout the organisation directly supports their results and amplifies their value for the company.

This is probably the most fascinating part of the AR work because it is so excitingly diverse and it challenges and builds the AR manager’s business acumen every day in so many ways.

During the time when I intensified a more continuous exchange with leading industry analysts and sourcing advisors for my portfolio teams, the insight that we gained from these interactions significantly supported the teams ability to advance product and portfolio strategy. It helped by challenging us with doubts, it reaffirmed unusual observations, it put things into wider perspective, and we were asked questions in a way that was just that bit harder to answer, etc. During this time the teams – from engineer to VP – felt encouraged to build on the companies actual strengths and to follow their very own vision to develop true hard-to-copy USPs. Countable result: It won TMforum awards around digital business innovation 3 years in a row.

The resource-to-revenue impact

A dedicated team of AR professionals working with top sourcing advisors can lead to additional opportunities that are beyond even the best sensors of a companies sales teams. It will also be able to leverage insights that are more effective support for both, the sales team as well as the customer, by avoiding costly and frustrating bid efforts based on wrong expectations and instead direct the resources to the right matches early on.

An AR manager can make this happen very effectively and efficiently. The value of the additional business will outweigh their salary cost by far. Although this is certainly depending on the industry and type of products and services, however, in telecommunications and IT services a ratio of double to tripple digit multipliers is a good indicator to size the net value.

Conclusion

Companies with a modern understanding of continuous business improvement are investing in AR for all the above reasons and more. Counting the value of AR just by the number of top placements or analyst quotes does not do it justice at all. The true value is in the countable effect on the people and the programmes supported.

AR is their lean and effective managed interface into insights from top analysts who’s reputation is built on true independence, often proven over a decade or more. In effect AR support amplifies the value of these companies’ best strategic and tactical initiatives and the value of their best people.

I hope these high level explanations and examples will help qualify the value of this exciting type of role for your own business as well – or inspire you to extend how you can leverage the possibilities even further.

Comments more than welcome.

 

This post was originally posted by Christian Holscher (@HolscherCLinkedIn), independent AR advisor and consultant on LinkedIn

 

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The role of a good AR: does it change during a crisis? https://analystrelations.org/2018/08/31/the-role-of-a-good-ar-does-it-change-during-a-crisis/ https://analystrelations.org/2018/08/31/the-role-of-a-good-ar-does-it-change-during-a-crisis/#respond Fri, 31 Aug 2018 11:12:41 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=245479 Analyst relations nightmares (IIAR)Although crisis situations can at times feel out-of-the-blue, AR nightmares can usually be solved by adhering to a simple to follow maxim: it’s all about communicating what you can, when you can.

However, in an escalating crisis of epic proportions, it’s important to ensure that you, as an Analyst & Influencer Relations specialist, tend to your priority analyst relationships first and foremost.

Here are three simple tips for how to survive your first crisis as an AR professional working within an escalating crisis, or in a PR nightmare scenario where you’re asked to give advice on how to inform the analyst community. It can be anything from a briefing which has gone off the rails to an issue in a local market that mushrooms into a global performance or critical security flaw.

No matter the issue, there are ways as guardians of the relationships our Vendors have with Industry Analysts, that can be replicated across most B2B technology and marketing companies.

3. Communicate wisely

This is a personal view, but I think many other members of the IIAR (and the wider Analyst & Influencer Relations) community would agree with me, but largely our role is increasingly about “relationship management”. But often, and this may not be all of the time, but you are duty-bound to wait to externally relay details on a crisis until your team has all of the facts.

Don’t be premature and send out a statement to the analysts that track your company that is premature, hasty or that may give out damaging or misleading information.

Agree in advance with your team what you can, and cannot, say. And make sure that you have approval for what you do say.

Ensure that you don’t operate a ‘walled garden’ strategy to PR, AR, and Comms. Know what you can communicate, and ensure the rest of your wider Comms and strategic comms teams are all in unison about what it is you are disclosing externally.

2. Work closely with your IR team

If you work as an AR for a large, publicly traded company, a Mega-IT Vendor or a nimbler one that’s about to IPO, it doesn’t really matter really: but you should be transparent with your colleagues that you are preparing to issue an announcement publicly.

Work with your Investor Relations (IR) team closely in times of crisis. Ensure they are completely ‘au fait’ with what is at stake, and what the company proposes to tell analysts, management consultants and wider industry influencers.

It’s critical to ensure you have complete unity, but at the same time, only reveal what you are prepared to say. And especially wait until you have all the facts.

A typical holding response might be…

“This is a developing situation, and we will come back to you in the next 2-3 days when we have more information”

Our developers are working on the issue and expect to have live services up-and-running in as soon as…”

We are aware of this performance related issue, and are taking steps to address it”

By all means, say what your IR team is willing for you to disclose but do not feel under duress to reveal more than you are prepared to.

1. Ensure you have Board-level commitment to communicate

This is true of any time when you are engaging with the industry analyst community, but it goes without saying: ensure you know, and that the Board is fully aware, that you are preparing to say something to the analyst community.

It’s of no use after the fact to go back after the fact to analysts, consultants and partners, to note that you were not authorised to give that information in writing, the same way you can’t stop a journalist from writing something potentially damaging about your brand.

As a member of the MarComms organisation, you are often charged with being the “mouthpiece” of your organisation.

But do ensure you are permitted to communicate a message: one that conveys understanding, calm, and transparency. By all means, make your CxO team available for urgent requests, but analysts should understand that they may be very busy during times of crisis, so have a company FAQ prepared on what you have agreed you can communicate externally.

It’s interesting, but often the best analyst and media “relations” develops out of a crisis. Responsiveness is a key tenet of our profession, and we would do well to remember it.

If an analyst has requested a briefing or interaction and you know this thorny issue may rear its head, agree with your C-suite and spokesperson well in advance what you agree to cover off, during a preparation call.

That way you avoid doing damage to your ongoing AR and influencer relationships, and that you continue to enjoy a good camaraderie and sense of fair-play with your key analysts!

 

Suzannah Archibald (LinkedIn, @suzannah_a) is Head of Analyst Relations at CCgroup and is based in London and part-time in beautiful Porthleven, Cornwall UK. She is also a new-Board Elect responsible for Operations & Membership with the IIAR as of 2018/2019. 

 

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[GUEST POST] Hsu: AR must bet bigger on fewer analysts https://analystrelations.org/2018/07/19/guest-post-hsu-ar-must-bet-bigger-on-fewer-analysts/ https://analystrelations.org/2018/07/19/guest-post-hsu-ar-must-bet-bigger-on-fewer-analysts/#respond Thu, 19 Jul 2018 13:14:21 +0000 https://analystrelations.org/?p=238976 Andrew Hsu‘s (LinkedIn) views on AR prioritization are handy. In a recent presentation, he stressed the role of prioritisation in helping us to think about AR, be more refined than our instincts can allow and to help us justify the choices we made when we allocated limited Analyst Relations resources.
Andrew’s starting point is the need to make smart, big bets. Rather than randomly allocating effort without focussing on influence, we want to focus our energy on a smaller number of analysts and, I think it’s implied, to boost the impact of the analysts we prioritize.
The common-sense of AR is problematic. We focus on the people we know, the ones who are cynical about our brand and the ones with whom we do the most business. Instead, Andrew says that we need to focus on both our business goals and the attributes of the analysts. He hits the nail on the head when he says that AR people are often ‘doing God’s work’ – merely serving the analysts. Instead, we need to focus on the timely needs of the business.
AR programs often have a handful of different goals, from lead generation and sales support through to shaping opinion and helping the firm to improve its offer. The IIAR has integrated these very powerfully with the IIAR AR Compass, which are outlined in this blog post and a useful SlideShare presentation.

Analysts, similarly, have different attributes and goals: they might focus on our audience, they might we well-ranked, be famous, be at an appropriate point in their career cycle, vary significantly in their in-depth knowledge of the market, or very unusual amplification for their views in the market, especially since each firm’s organic distribution is so different. It seems to be that using the AR Compass will greatly help firms to structure their goals in a way that makes them easier to evaluate.

Like-mindedness matters. It makes it enjoyable for speakers, especially for new representatives: that is is important.

Often, in Hsu’s opinion, the top wish of firms is to differentiate itself in the market. Sometimes there are specific challenges where the market is sceptical about your firm. In that case, firms might be looking for prominent opinion-shapers who are highly ranked and whose ideas are well distributed: they might not need to be hugely knowledgeable.
That sort of consideration has to be the starting point: we discover the analysts and our goals, we tier them using our key priorities; then we allocate them to action plans.

The outcome is a strong advocacy of service-level approaches. Top tier analysts have to be the most impactful on our business objective: Hsu suggests that around half of the AR team’s time should go on those people, and both client access and budget can be heavily-weighted. On the other hand, as close to nothing as possible should be spent on the lowest tier. This heavy weighting is, as Hsu admits, a big bet.
Hsu’s application strategy is deeply entwined with its advantages: it forces AR people to elicit goals; it allows people to check their current work; it will enable you to sell the focussed approach.
The advantages of this approach are clear: it gives AR people more job security and produces more business value if we are using analyst insight better, and we are ensuring that buyers are getting the best insight from the crucial analysts we have prioritized.

Of course, there are real challenges: if a tier two analyst has an unreasonably large request, then we have to say no. That is especially tricky, I would say, for those AR people who are ‘going God’s work’. And, of course, this still requires using intelligence from our salespeople and the account director at the analyst firm.

What does money buy? AR has a discretionary budget that is often used too much to purchase services that allow short inquiry calls, however often we need to spend differently to get deep, time. That means not only budgeting for strategic advisory sessions, but planning to make the most of them as a way to shape the analysts’ approaches to markets. Similarly, market intelligence budgets have to be valuable both ways: let’s get the insight, but let’s also allocate that on the insightful analysts who influence our business goals.

 

By Duncan Chapple (@duncanchapple, LinkedIn, blog), Managing Partner at Kea

 

 

IIAR Best Practice Paper on tiering

 

Other AR Best Practice posts

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