IIAR> Analyst Relations (AR) roles pyramid

The AR job description

Authors: Ludovic Leforestier (@lludovic, LinkedIn) and Trish Valladeres (LinkedIn)

Analyst Relations is a wide-ranging, challenging role, with a remit which touches on many different parts of an enterprise. Because AR touches on different aspects of the organisation ranging from product marketing to engineering, it encompasses a wide range of tasks and continues to evolve to include more. Compared to PR, AR campaigns span across several months and managing multiple campaigns at once is common. Whether you are starting an analyst relations program for your organization or on-boarding onto an established AR team, AR can seem daunting at first but a career in analyst relations can be very rewarding due to its value proposition in the eyes’ of internal stakeholders.

Below we outline what the role can require, how much it can pay, how roles within the AR function change as they increase in seniority, and break down AR’s objectives. 

Senior AR professionals are expected to have deep relationships with as many as 50 analysts and have  intimate knowledge of analyst firms’ commercial aspects. It’s also expected at all levels to hold an IIAR> certification.

Qualities and requirements

The number of AR role levels vary by company and rarely span across the 5 we are presenting here including vice presidents, directors, senior managers, managers, and juniors. The responsibilities and requirements for each role vary and are broken down further in the Job Responsibilities by Levels section. The general qualities required of a good AR professional at any level are the following:

  • Good communication skills – Building relationships depends on the ability to communicate well
  • Project management skills – Measurement is key to success in AR and keeping track of your performance against strict KPIs requires real skill and dedication
  • Multi-taskers – Multiple reports, meetings and requirements are all in a day’s work
  • Thrive in collaboration settings – AR professionals  need the support and cooperation of other functions within the business to succeed
  • Skilled presenter – Briefings are a fact of life, and you need to nail them
  • Normally have a corporate communications or marketing background – It helps to understand a fast-moving, results-driven culture
  • Degree in a marketing or technology field
  • 3-5 years of experience with a technology vendor
  • Managerial experience (with direct reports, an agency, etc.)

Tasks and responsibilities 

Tasks and responsibilities for AR professionals will also depend on level of seniority but the following chart will help to highlight the different categories of activities and the responsibilities associated with each. In general, you and your team should be able to use the following chart as a framework to outline your program’s goals and tasks. 

Audience engagementAR operationsStrategyOpinionSalesMarketing
RESPONSIBILITIESIdentify key analysts and influencersDeliver briefings, campaigns and eventsMonitor research and communicate insightsCommunicate analyst research and quotesLeverage analysts in deals and provide insight to help with language used with the customerManage GTM tactics such as commissioned research and webinars
Create and deliver an engagement planRespond to analysts’ requests for informationAlign long-term schedule to key analyst needsAlert teams to shifts in analyst sentimentWork closely with sales to create collateral to boost early prospect interactionsIdentify when to buy reprint rights and secure budget
Author and send regular newslettersCompile/write newsletters & own analyst eventsDevelop actions plans to improve market landscape positioningExplain market landscape scoresGain leads from analysts advising on enterprise purchasing decisionsAdjust marketing messages to align with prevailing analyst market view
Inspired by: The Analyst Relations Job Description | Analyst Relations Software by ARInsights.

Reporting structure

AR is a transversal function by nature, typically interlocking with a wide range of stakeholders including the C-suite, corporate development, product engineering, investor relations and of course marketing and communications. Each company has its own idiosyncrasies but AR generally is at its best when reporting or at least working extremely closely with Product Marketing and Competitive/Market Intelligence teams.

Advanced AR functions tend to report to strategy or product (22% of IIAR> Salary Survey Respondents) though most AR practitioners sit within the marketing department (51%) and 26% are part of a broader communications department.

Compensation and distribution

The value associated with analyst relations translates to your value in terms of compensation at your organisation. In a recent survey we conducted, there were a few interesting findings on recent AR compensation trends:

  • AR salaries have increased significantly over the last decade: according to the IIAR> salary survey, more than 50% of salaries are more than $175K – in 2010, it was less than 5%
  • Roles are becoming more diverse geographically, following the pandemic and the sharp rise in US West Coast salary demands – more than half AR roles are now advertised with a global remit
  • US Salaries are 30% higher at the top end and 50% higher at the low end than other world regions
  • Despite their remit and reach, AR teams tend to be compact – most have fewer than 5 members
  • Experience is more important to salary than qualifications
IIAR> Analyst Relations (AR) roles pyramid
The IIAR> Analyst Relations (AR) roles pyramid

Job responsibilities by levels

To simplify the job responsibilities of AR professionals, we’ve highlighted below the key functions expected at each level. While this does not cover every aspect of the analyst relations role, it should help to identify the activities that are expected of you at each experience level. 

Some of the boundaries between levels can appear artificial as this is a composite description that includes input from many recent job postings and AR leads at several large vendors including EY, Oracle and Amazon. For example, companies with in-house AR professionals sometimes make distinctions between Directors and Senior Directors while others don’t have clear boundaries between Managers and Senior Managers.

In other roles containing an AR element, responsibilities can also vary. Agency teams have business development and client management responsibilities whilst advisor relations can sometimes be a mixed role with analyst relations and almost always has a sales component and targets. In the below descriptions, we will be mostly focusing on responsibilities of in-house AR professionals.

VPs

  • Set the strategy for how the company engages with industry analysts
  • Defines and owns resources requirement –headcount and overall budget
  • Sets goals and metrics for progress against those AR goals 

Directors / Senior Directors

  • Team management (Senior Directors only in some companies)
  • Owns, sets and leads an analyst influencer relations strategy and programme for a coverage area
  • Builds and manages relationships with key executives and top 10-20 analysts during key engagements
  • Broaden visibility of the company, its strategy, and core products
  • Be an advocate for influencers and for the AR team internally 
  • Identify and coach executive spokespeople
  • Develop a spokesperson AR training
  • Own analyst summits
  • Define and own the peer reviews strategy
  • Work with marketing and PR to leverage analysts 
  • Establish analyst perception audits and all other AR measurements 

Senior Managers

  • Identify and tier relevant analysts, market luminaries audiences
  • Build and maintain relationships with the community of analysts and influencers and act as a single point of contact for this audience
  • Plan an AR programme and execute engagement plans
  • Deliver a consistent communication cadence with external audiences
  • Develop a calendar of activities for stakeholders
  • Provide guidance to executives based on analysts and research insights, for instance provide Product Management with strategic consultation on products and services
  • Identify and drive participation in evaluations, manage and execute landmark evaluations RFI’s
  • Compile and disseminate relevant information and customer references to analysts
  • Manage internal inquiries and research requests
  • Manage AR and company events 
  • Lead, organise, follow-up, share insights and recommend actions from briefings and inquiries
  • Read, digest, summarise and disseminate research coverage and trends internally via newsletters and blogs 
  • Partner with the field sales and GTM organisation, assisting in driving deals with analyst support
  • Collaborate with Product Marketing and Corporate Marketing to deliver content and programmes to drive lead generation

Managers

  • Drive engagement plans with influencers including planning campaigns, scheduling briefings, creating briefing documents and circulating briefing recaps 
  • Manage buddy programmes
  • Support analyst summit logistics
  • Track and report coverage & interactions inc. notes
  • Maintain analyst database for reporting and measurement
  • Administer analyst perception audits
  • Track, report and disseminate analyst & influencer research coverage and social media commentary internally via blogs and newsletter

Entry-level

  • Maintain an analyst database, ensuring that all activities and interactions are uploaded 
  • Produce internal communications to promote positive analyst rankings and reports 
  • Support analyst events with internal and external partners 

AR objectives

  • Ensure fair representation and coverage
  • Broaden awareness and visibility 
  • Create a lasting positive perception
  • Position executives as thought leaders with key influencers
  • Boost brand awareness and visibility, support revenue growth 
  • Support product marketing and other stakeholders with analysts insights
  • Influence outcomes such as research 
  • Leverage analyst advisory to drive innovation and strategy
  • Positioning for successful selling
  • Contribute to sales enablement

AR skills

  • Excellent writing skills
  • Superior verbal communication and presentation abilities
  • Be a master at building and leveraging relationships with stakeholders and external audiences
  • Deep product & industry understanding, ability to articulate / evangelise company and solutions
  • Organised and attentive to detail
  • Project management and planning, detail orientation
  • General marketing and demand generation knowledge
  • Negotiation and commercial relationship management
  • Influencing and persuasion
  • Responsive and customer-service attitude
  • Event management
  • Reference customer management
  • Crisis management
  • Subject-matter, industry and product/service line knowledge
  • Capability to understand contextualize complex concepts (make analyst insights relevant to vendor market, goals, services etc)
  • Proficiency with IT/office tools, web and social media tools 

AR role requirement

  • IIAR> Certification
  • Used to work in matrix requirements, handle stakeholders at all levels
  • Self-motivated 
  • Comfortable operating in complex, matrix environment remotely
  • Good general knowledge of the IT industry
  • Understand cultural differences, region / country specifics
  • Analyst or product marketing/management background a plus
  • Travel required 20%+ of the time