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Getting Started with Analyst Relations

on Tuesday, 21 January 2014. Posted in Analyst Relations

Series with practical advice for dealing with analysts (Part 2 of 4)

9SecretsAnalystsThe question "Which analysts are relevant to your business?" of course can not be answered in general. In order to assess the importance of an analyst for your business first you need to be clear about what you want to achieve with your analyst Relations program.

If, for example, the rapid generation of analysts quotes for your marketing and PR is your main goal, other analysts will be important to you, as if you are aiming for an entry in popular reports such as the Gartner Magic Quadrant.

The importance of a single analyst to you derives from what you expect of him or what you want to achieve together with him. By their very nature, different facets are used to assess the importance of an analyst to you. Examples for these facets are the visibility of the analysts in the press, their expertise in certain subjects or their relations with specific customer segments. We will post a more detailled blog post on the issue of evaluating analysts in the near future.

2. Create a Network and Evaluate Analysts Individually.

In general, you can divide analysts into two camps based on their different business models. There are two models that can be clearly distinct, even if you might find many mixed forms in the market.

On the one hand, there are technology research-oriented analyst firms such as for example Gartner and Forrester. These companies create and market these independent studies and reports in form of subscriptions. They advise companies and organizations on buying the right products and services.

On the other hand, there are customer research-oriented analyst firms whose business model essentially is to advise IT companies in marketing their solutions and services. These companies typically create more or less independent reviews of products and services on behalf of the supplier, which are then used in marketing and sales.

Both camps as well as the corresponding hybrids can offer various advantages and disadvantages for you. Therefore, you should create a tableau with relevant analysts to match the objectives of your analyst relations program. Then observe and listen to these analysts continuously and develop a short- and medium-term plan on how to build a relationship with these analysts.

3. Plan for the Long-Term.

Analyst relations are less of a faster sprint than a marathon. You may like to expect short-term and concrete successes, but no miracles.

Depending on the weighting of the individual objectives of your analyst relations program you can expect concrete results for a short-term or in the long-run. For example, choosing the right analysts will allow you to harvest warm and welcoming analyst quotes for your marketing or PR work. On the other hand, it is typically a process that takes several months, if not years, for example, to get into a Gartner Magic Quadrant or a Forrester Wave.

If you have someone who promises to take you within months into these reports, you may safely become skeptical. Despite of all the rumors, you cannot buy into these reports. You need to build a long-term and trusting communication with analysts. Than you can have an entry into the major reports without spending a cent with the analyst firm.

Trust us, we have done this many times. Your analyst relations program should include short-term and long-term measures and objectives.

4. Invest Sensibly and at the Correct Point.

The misconception persists that a high visibility among analysts and their benevolent and positive reception is linked directly to the size of the corresponding budget for their services. This relationship is simply wrong for most analyst firms.

Of course, the bandwidth of analyst firms is large, and accordingly, the subject is also treated differently. However, the technology research-oriented analyst firms in particular will avoid any link of budgets and evaluations, because this would compromise their central business model of providing independent evaluations to IT buyers.

For costumer research-oriented analyst firms the biggest revenue streams come from IT vendors. So it is clear that here, you can buy at the least coverage. However, they still maintain the idea of independence. In addition, the better ones will also maintain a good reputation for the IT buyer audience. Here the correct selection of the provider is also critical to achieve the desired effect.

In summary, a certain budget for the purchase of analyst services simplifies the efforts in principle, but it will certainly not be a prerequisite for successful analyst relations. Even without taking paid services from analysts, you can still maintain great relationships and get valuable feedback and support for your business – if you have an interesting story to tell.

Significantly more important than a budget for purchasing analysts services is therefore to gain access to a wide network of analysts, to address them in the appropriate manner, and to inspire them with your story and thinking. If you want to invest, here is where you should allocate your funds. Leveraging expert knowledge for analyst relations will help you avoid mistakes and move forward faster. An investment in analysts' services is, if at all, only useful if you have established your analyst relations program, are well prepared and have gained some experience in dealing with analysts.

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