I recently caught up with an old friend who has been a solo practitioner analyst for decades. He was venting as only an analyst can about how too many analyst relations programs only deign to work with large traditional firms such as Gartner, IDC, etc. Boutique analyst firms and solo practitioners are frequently shunned by vendors who, while they might need to prioritize Gartner because of their unquestioned end user influence, have not reserved any bandwidth to work with the smaller outfits.Continue Reading →
Guest posts by analyst relations professionals
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Related AR pros guest posts
- [GUEST POST] Ode to the Solo Practitioners and Boutique Analyst Firms
- [GUEST POST] Book Review: Schaffer’s guide to analyst relations transformation
- [GUEST POST] It’s a Great Time to be in Analyst Relations by Peggy O’Neill
- [GUEST POST] Gartner Announces pilot to handle mergers & acquisitions updates for Magic Quadrants
- [GUEST POST] Influencer relations so much more than going from an A to I
- [GUEST POST] How Analyst Relations Impacts Strategy
- [GUEST POST] Hsu: AR must bet bigger on fewer analysts
- [GUEST POST] Does Israel have more cool vendors than China?
- Trio of analyst departures at Gartner underlines why backup strategy is so important
- Effective Measurement: ARe we there yet?
If you’re an analyst relations professional in the know, you keep on eye on one of the most popular online gathering places for our tribe – the Institute of Industry Analyst Relations website and LinkedIn Group.
If so, then you’re probably like me, raising an eyebrow these days at the sheer volume of analyst relations job postings that have come through in 2020 so far. Nearly 60 jobs have been posted at IIAR’s job section on the its website (they appear earlier on the IIAR< Member365 extranet) when in previous years it’s normally a fraction of that.Continue Reading →
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.Continue Reading →
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? Continue Reading →
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. Continue Reading →
Can other vendors copy Israeli firms’ exceptional success in earning Gartner, Inc.’s Cool Vendor designation? Maybe not. Their success reflects both Israel’s unique start-up ecosystem and those start-ups’ ability to leverage Gartner’s experienced account management in Israel.
The numbers of Cool Vendors in Israel continue to rise. At the recent Cool and Hot Vendor Forum, Suwen Chen’s presentation showed, using data from Gartner, Inc., that there were more Cool Vendors in Israel than, for example, in China and the UK added together. The gap is widening: It has grown from 15 Cool Vendors in 2012 to 33 last year and 35 in 2016. The count could be even higher if we account for the many Cool Vendors originally founded, funded and staffed in Israel which have moved headquarters to the USA, such as Loom Systems. Twenty firms founded in Israel have gained the designation so far this year. More will probably be added in the rounds of Cool Vendors later this month and in September. Continue Reading →
Gartner has been forced to delay a Magic Quadrant report for at least six months due to the mass departure of pivotal analysts covering the enterprise data center space.
The delay followed news that analysts Dave Russell and Pushan Rinnen were leaving to join vendors. The duo were the mainstays of the Gartner team covering data backup. Their counterpart in the EMEA region, Robert Rhame, is also moving on.
Their timing was remarkable: Gartner was due to kick off research for its 2018 Magic Quadrant for Data Center Backup and Recovery Solutions last week. With all three authors choosing to leave Gartner, the firm had no credible option but to delay the start of the report: this is now on ice until 2019. Continue Reading →
Effective measurement has become a bit of a challenge for AR practitioners, as stakeholders are demanding more tangible, immediate results that can easily be linked to business outcomes. With smaller teams and tighter budgets, AR professionals are under immense pressure to justify investment and prove overall value.
As such, the IIAR’s recent webinar on measurement and amplification, led by Oracle’s Gerry Van Zandt (LinkedIn, @gerryvz), couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve included below my key takeaways from the webcast as well as Gerry’s advice for anyone looking for help or inspiration around efficient AR measurement.
A major hurdle that I keep seeing, especially in organisations that don’t yet have mature AR programmes, is the inability to set AR-relevant objectives. Too many organisations still try and measure AR in the same way as PR and get massively frustrated by the meatier up-front investment and absence of immediate results. Continue Reading →
A few months ago, I joined IIAR’s webinar focused on the IIAR Analyst Relations Professional and Team of the Year 2017. Every year, the IIAR awards analyst relations (AR) professionals and teams based on the results of an annual survey shared with the global industry analyst community. The survey gathers the analysts’ collective insight on AR professionals and their performance, and then the IIAR contrasts it with results from the previous year, based on level of responsiveness, relationship and results (also known as the IIAR’s Three R’s of AR). Continue Reading →
I’m the most hated person at my company today.
Informatica is holding its customer conference in a few weeks and we’re running around like chickens with our heads cut off to prepare for it. I just blasted out the most obnoxious email to colleagues who are preparing speeches for Informatica World, forcefully reminding them that any references to analyst research requires permission. I got a lot of eye rolling in response, but luckily no serious push back. Continue Reading →
The final speaker agenda is being nailed down, and the Global Mobile Awards judges have now announced their shortlist. However, there’s no resting on your laurels when it comes to Mobile World Congress (MWC) Barcelona outreach. Next on the action list is the extremely important task of your analyst outreach strategy.
Industry analysts play a crucial role in the marketing sales cycle and supplier selection.
Findings from CCgroup’s own Catalyst Insights reveal that when it comes to shortlisting vendors for an RFP, B2B tech buyers place analyst due diligence and reports in their top three most valued sources of content. Continue Reading →
On September 7th, the CCgroup AR team joined IIAR’s latest webinar on Gartner methodologies with by David Black (LinkedIn), MVP Methodologies & Content Engagement at Gartner and moderated by Ludovic Leforestier (@lludovic, LinkedIn), from the IIAR Board.
David spoke about the firm’s research methodology behind reports such as Magic Quadrants and Critical Capabilities.
The AR community has always been tuned in to Gartner’s research calendars, with “Every season is Magic Quadrant season” being the mantra shared by many. As such, many AR professionals were keen to learn more from David. Continue Reading →
IDC is usually one of the better analyst houses I encounter. They usually show tight co-ordination amongst their end-user practices, and reach out and access their client and subscriber database across over 10,000 IT decision-maker professionals (and counting). So, in mid-2017, what’s changed at IDC? And how are they handling organisational change since their change of ownership, earlier this year? These were just some of the questions posed by Industry Analyst Relations professionals at a recent IIAR webinar and networking session with…
Dan Timberlake (UK&I MD, VP Sales, EMEA), Tom Meyer (GVP Research EMEA, @tomtxt), and Mathew Heath (EMEA Marketing Director, himself the brains behind the always-entertaining @IDC_EMEA account).
Continue Reading →
Launching an industry analyst relations (AR) program takes elaborate research and planning. Unlike simpler functions that a technology or service provider can delegate or outsource with minimal involvement, AR requires the continuous participation of stakeholders from a broad cross-section of the business––from corporate strategy to business-unit marketing, through to delivery and finance. Simplifying the creation of a new AR program requires defining its anchor points––the guiding forces necessary to give a direction to it and keep it on track.
Let’s take a look at three essential anchor points, which can serve as the compass of your organization’s AR program: Continue Reading →
Summer is upon us and though that means wet weather for Caroline Dennington in the UK and heatwaves and wildfires for Caroline’s writing partner Phil Nash, analyst relations (AR) professionals around the globe are getting ready for another busy event season with the industry influencers.
InfoSec and Forrester Forum have already taken place in London and once again, Gartner Security & Risk Management Summit in Washington, exceeded all expectations attracting a huge delegate audience and of course, hundreds of analysts!
With Symposium, IDC Directions, Catalyst, BlabkHat and numerous other major events such as Sibos and ACAMS on the calendar, how can AR Managers ensure they secure relevant analyst time at these events and importantly, engage their executives and sales personnel in meaningful conversations? Continue Reading →
Receiving a request for information (RFI) from an analyst firm often triggers two reactions among analyst relations (AR) professionals––first, the thrill and gratification of having the business on the radar of a relevant analyst; and second, the anxiety of responding to the RFI with comprehensive and accurate information.
Analyst-firm RFIs are complex beasts. Managed well, they can be a technology/service provider’s (TSPs) gateway to the much-coveted “star” ratings, rankings, and mentions in analyst firms’ research. On the contrary, poorly managed RFIs can end up misinforming analysts, leading them to build an inaccurate analysis of your company.
Responding to RFIs takes a lot of diligence, but the process can be simplified and made more manageable. Here are eight things you can do to ace RFIs and minimise the overwhelm. Continue Reading →
It’s universal––the bittersweet relationship between sales and delivery functions. Industry analyst firms are no exception. The subject of bringing in more business for analyst firms is perhaps the biggest cause of friction between account managers and industry analysts, especially where senior analysts have P&L responsibility.
A typical scenario plays out something like this: analysts, in their capacity as advisors, tend to enjoy greater proximity to technology/service providers and buyers––and assert to know more about business leads for the firm than account managers do. Account managers, on the other hand, tend to disagree and think that analysts aren’t willing to stretch beyond their comfort zones to bring in more dollars…and on the argument continues. Yet, once this friction is transmuted into collaboration, engagements with clients and prospects become richer and more consistent, and untapped business opportunities start to open up. Continue Reading →