The Definitive Guide To Analyst Relations
A comprehensive guide to maximising value from your Analyst Relations investment.
Analyst relations is a significant investment for many businesses but often they don't know how to maximise the two-way relationship. From helping you shape your GTM to including you on a shortlist of vendors, analyst relations can transform your business when done well.
B2B technology analyst relations (AR) is the strategic cultivation and management of relationships with industry analysts. Some of the best known analyst firms are Gartner, Forrester, and IDC. Analysts are independent experts who research and evaluate B2B technology products and services. They publish reports and recommendations that are used by enterprise decision-makers to inform their purchasing decisions. They also provide consultancy to technology and business decision-makers looking for new B2B technology services and solutions.
AR professionals work with analysts to provide them with insights into their company's products and services, and to help them understand the unique value proposition of their company's offerings. AR professionals also work to build relationships with analysts by providing them with valuable content and resources, and by being responsive to their questions and needs.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
What is B2B technology analyst relations?
An Introduction to Analyst Relations: Unlocking the Value for Your Organisation
In the turbulent seas of modern business, you need more than just a robust vessel. You need an experienced navigator who can quickly adapt to changing conditions and even anticipate them. This is where Analyst Relations (AR) come into play, serving as your expert guide, steering your organisation in the right direction amidst the stormy waves of market volatility.
Ready to embark on the AR journey? Let's delve into its essence, importance, and transformative potential.
What Is Analyst Relations?
At its heart, Analyst Relations is about the mutually beneficial relationship between businesses and the leading minds and influencers in their industry. Analysts are the lighthouses in the business world, highlighting critical insights. Renowned analyst firms like Gartner, Forrester, and IDC offer a comprehensive view of market dynamics. Their dialogues with buyers, other vendors, investors, and influencers give them a deep understanding of the markets they support.
But what good is a lighthouse without a ship captain? AR professionals serve in this role, converting this beacon of knowledge into a navigational tool to avoid hidden dangers and discover fresh opportunities.
The Institute of Industry Analyst Relations (IIAR) provides a clear definition of analyst and influencer relations:
"Analyst & influencer relations (AR) professionals engage with industry analysts and other B2B influencers on behalf of technology vendors. They build relationships with the analyst community and drive conversations about vendors and their solutions to gain strategic insights, educate analysts to help them knowledgeably position vendors with their user clients and leverage analyst research and content for marketing purposes and advocacy with technology buyers."
ARInsights further defines it as:
"Analyst Relations (AR) is an important and continual marketing and communications activity – whereby technology vendors seek to educate and influence the industry analysts who cover their markets. Through AR, companies convey what they do, how they do it, their unique value propositions and their customer successes to analysts and other B2B influencers. The goal is for those experts to then write and speak, both accurately and positively, about the companies: increasing awareness for vendors and their solutions, and influencing potential buyers."
In essence, AR is about forging relationships with industry experts to gain insights, educate them about your solutions, and use their research and content for marketing purposes. It's a strategic activity that can significantly influence your organization's positioning in the market, helping you to avoid pitfalls and seize opportunities.
However, the balance in the definitions above is in the favour of using AR as an awareness and influence tool. At Resonance, we firmly advocate for both the Earn and Learn side to analyst relations. The world is getting increasingly more complex to do business in, change happens fast, new threats and opportunities arise with speed. Analysts can help businesses keep their eye on their horizon - they are a true lighthouse to support decision making, positioning, competitor insights, trends, emerging buyer needs. Their data and insight can be leveraged, alongside other critical sources, to make the smartest decisions.
There are four core areas analyst relations can help with:
Leveraging Analysts to Drive Market Perceptions (reputation, credibility)
Leveraging Analysts to Increase Short-List Opportunities (demand generation)
Leveraging Analysts as a Micro-Population of the Market – Provide an outside-in view for strategy and decision-making
Direct Support of Sales
The benefits of B2B technology analyst relations: What is the value of AR?
There are many benefits to building and managing relationships with analysts. Analyst relations helps with:
Increased brand awareness: Analysts are well-respected and influential figures in the B2B technology industry. By building relationships with analysts, companies can increase their brand awareness, visibility and credibility among their target audience.
Better-defined value propositions: In the crowded and competitive B2B technology landscape, companies need a clearly defined value proposition. Analysts help companies understand their target market better and identify their unique selling points. Working with analysts, companies can develop and refine their value propositions, making them more compelling and persuasive to potential customers.
Improved thought leadership: Analysts are constantly looking for new and innovative B2B technology solutions. By working with analysts, companies can share their expertise and insights, and establish themselves as thought leaders in their industry. Businesses can also dive into the minds of the analysts and explore the future with them, giving them the foresight for trends.
More qualified leads: Analysts have a deep understanding of the B2B technology market and their clients' needs. By working with analysts, companies can generate more qualified leads and improve their conversion rates. Analysts also speak to your target buyers, advising them on strategy and technology. By getting in front of the right analysts and providing them with the right information, you can get a warm recommendation.
Enhanced sales and marketing efforts: AR professionals can work with sales and marketing teams to develop and implement strategies that are aligned with the needs of analysts. This can help companies to improve their sales and marketing results.
Product management and product marketing: Analysts can also provide valuable feedback and insights to product management and product marketing teams. Analysts can help companies to understand the needs of their target market and to identify new market opportunities. They can also help companies to validate new product ideas and to develop product roadmaps that are aligned with the needs of the market.
PRCA TV with Claire Williamson, Director, Resonance; Nadia Nizar, Senior Director Corporate Communications at SS&C Blue Prism.
How to use Analyst Relations as part of your ABM strategy
How can I get value from my Analyst Relationships?
Analysts play a significant role in the B2B technology buying process. According to a recent survey by Forrester Research, 75% of B2B technology decision-makers consult with analysts before making a purchase decision
Hear from the analysts themselves:
What are the different types of B2B Technology Analyst Firms?
There are 100s of analyst firms. It’s a daunting task to figure out which analysts are worth your time and investment. The bottom line is, you need to figure out which analysts will support your overarching marketing and business goals. We'll come to selecting analysts shortly.
First, let’s explore the different types of B2B technology analyst firms.
The one-stop shop
Gartner, IDC, Forrester with broad coverage of market categories backed by a an extensive team of analysts. But it doesn’t have to be the biggest ones. They provide reports such as ranking reports, quantitative market shares, qualitative evaluations, and opinion-based analyses of market trends. Outside of the big guns, there’s Omdia, Frost and Sullivan, 451 Research (S&P Global), Everest Group, GigaOm, GlobalData, and HfS Research.
Niche firms zero in on specific sectors, offering razor-sharp insights in their chosen domains. For instance:
Datos Insights / Celent: Banking, Insurance, Investments
Ampere Analysis: Media & Content
Their specialised focus allows for in-depth analysis and tailored guidance.
Local roots, local knowledge
For detailed country-specific data, turn to the local aces. They zoom in on regional nuances, proving invaluable for governmental and public sectors.
Africa Analysis: Africa's pulse
BARC: DACH region's specialist
ITR: Japan's insider
TechMarketView: UK's tech expert.
Dive into niche insights with firms that boast tight-knit tech vendor ties. They don’t just consult—they amplify brand buzz. In the spotlight: ABI Research, Aragon Research, CCS Insight, Constellation Research.
Sourcing advisors all-stars
Cut through the vendor noise with advisors who spotlight the best fits for client needs. Plus, they drop research gems for tech buy-ins. While giants like Gartner and HfS join the fray, don’t miss standouts like Avasant and ISG. Our clients have generated significant lead pipeline via these relationships.
What are the different types of B2B Technology Analysts?
Each individual firm has its own structure for analysts.
At Gartner, the analysts can be split into:
Gartner for IT Leaders (ITL)
Gartner for Marketers (GM)
Gartner for Technology & Service Providers (TSP)
Gartner for Technology Professionals (GTP)
Navigate Business and Marketing Complexity with Strategic Analyst Relations
In today's B2B tech landscape, the power of industry analysts cannot be overlooked. Their influence shapes reputations, directs sales, and guides strategy. Dive into the world of Analyst Relations (AR) and discover its rising significance, Resonance's unique approach, and tips to harness AR's potential.
Discover why over 51% of businesses now see their AR programs as central to their strategies.
“AR's role has transformed. They're steering crucial business conversations and decisions.
“In the midst of information chaos, industry analysts emerge as trusted advisors, influencing buying choices and fostering business growth.” - Claire Williamson, Managing Director & Head of AR, Resonance
How to create an analyst relations strategy
Step 1: Start with "Why"?
Diving into analyst relations? You have to start with asking yourself why you are doing it. Increased awareness, a better understanding of emerging trends, product decisions, understanding your competitors, understanding what makes your prospects buy. There are so many areas a strong analyst relations programme can support across your business Sync with company and marketing objectives. If you're not clear on the "why," don’t start playing the game.
Once you've pinpointed your "why," it's time to sharpen your focus with SMART goals. SMART - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound - ensures that your ambitions aren't just lofty dreams but actionable targets. By framing your objectives within this proven structure, you're not just aiming in the dark; you're setting a precise course for tangible results. Lay down SMART goals and watch your analyst relations strategy move from broad visions to reality.
Step 2: Charting Your AR Course and choose your weapons
After pinpointing your goals, the next step is mapping out the "how." Tackle this by asking:
Which analysts and firms align best with our objectives for both immediate value and long-term results? Remember, AR isn't about quick wins; it's a marathon, not a sprint. Here at Resonance we use the AIIM framework.
Resonance Tip: Focus on a select group of pivotal analysts. Avoid the "shotgun" approach; quality over quantity is key. Find your core circle and build long-term relationships.
Know Your Analysts: It's time for some introspection. Consider:
Past Interactions: Have you reached out before? What was the nature of previous engagement
Perception: What's their view of you?
Insights: What have they written about you, your market, and your competitors?
Reports: Which ones do they pen? And when?
Preferences: How do they prefer to receive information?
This clarity will help you build a profile of the analyst and ensure a smooth journey to secure your relationship.
Step 3: Shape the Perception & Bridge the Knowledge Gaps
You need to make sure you have a clear grasp of how analysts perceive you, it's time to take the reins and steer their understanding in the desired direction.
Delve deep into what they know and more importantly, what they don't. This is where the gold lies. It's about filling these gaps with credible insights and info they'll value. Craft a Persuasive Narrative where there is ground to make: Storytelling is your weapon. Create compelling narratives that highlight your strengths, address misconceptions, and underscore your unique market position.
Step 4: Create Personalised Engagement Plans
Equipped with knowledge about your "inner-circle" analysts and their perspectives, you're primed to sculpt an effective engagement plan. It's akin to piecing together a puzzle; each component, from marketing to content and sales collateral, should click seamlessly into this bigger picture.
Blueprint Your Content: Align your announcements, content, and sales materials to the key themes and criteria your analysts focus on.
Consistent Communication: Establish a rhythm. Your insights should flow consistently, ensuring analysts are always updated and in the loop.
Choose Your Weapon: Engagement Tools at Your Disposal
Inquiries: Deep dives into specific topics.
Briefings: Update them on your latest and greatest.
Document Reviews: Gain their perspective on your materials.
Strategy Days: Collaborate and brainstorm future plans.
Email Communications: Keep the conversation going.
Client Briefings: Showcase your solutions firsthand.
Your engagement campaign is your beacon, guiding your relationship with analysts towards a brighter horizon. So, set sail and steer strategically.
Step 5: Execute with precision and MEASURE.
FREE AR HEALTHCHECK
Have you tested the pulse of your programme recently?
Have you completed a stop-start review?
Are you questioning the value you are receiving from your analyst licence or from the briefings and inquiries you are conducting?
If the answer to any of the above questions is 'Yes', we should talk.
Resonance’s free AR Health Check consists of a 45-minute meeting where we will run through a series of questions on your AR programme. You’ll then receive a written report on gaps and opportunities.
The Different Types of Analyst Engagements
Analysts' insights and perceptions help shape your prospects' buying process, making them an influential force in the industry. As a vendor, engaging with these analysts is not just necessary; it's pivotal to your success.
So, how can you engage with analysts?
Analyst Briefings: Your Time to Shine
Analyst briefings are either one-on-one or small-group meetings where you get to strut your stuff. You share information about your products, services, and markets, introduce new offerings, provide updates, or even seek feedback on market trends and customer needs. Remember, this isn't just a presentation; it's your time to shine.
Analyst Inquiries: Digging for Gold
Analyst inquiries are your golden opportunity to tap into the analysts' expertise. You get to ask questions and gain their professional opinions on topics that matter to you. This engagement helps you understand how analysts perceive your offerings and identify areas of improvement. It's all about digging for gold.
Regular Written Communication: Keep the Dialogue Alive
Keeping analysts in the loop is crucial. Regular updates through written communication, such as customer wins, blogs, news stories, and white papers, ensure they have a clear understanding of your progress and offerings. It's about keeping the dialogue alive.
Strategy Days: Painting the Bigger Picture
Strategy days are events where you invite analysts to immerse themselves in your long-term plans and strategies. These engagements build trust and understanding, aligning analysts with your vision for the future. It's about painting the bigger picture. Most analyst firms run strategy days, which are usually an additional fee. Strategy days are about bringing your inner circle analysts on the journey and getting their perspectives and insights. The key to success is knowing what you want to achieve.
Document Reviews: Seeking Constructive Criticism
Document reviews allow you to get feedback from analysts on your marketing materials, such as white papers, case studies, and product briefs. It's about seeking constructive criticism to improve the quality and effectiveness of your marketing materials.
Analyst Dinners: Breaking Bread Together
Analyst dinners are informal events where you break bread with analysts. These engagements help build personal relationships, fostering a sense of trust and rapport. It's about breaking bread together.
Webinars and Events: Showcasing Your Expertise
Inviting analysts to participate in webinars and events is an excellent way to share your knowledge and expertise. It gives you an opportunity to gain their feedback on your offerings while positioning you as a thought leader. It's about showcasing your expertise.
Analyst-Owned Events: Learning from the Best
Analyst-owned events are tailor-made for analysts. Sponsoring or attending these events gives you a chance to network with analysts and learn about the latest market trends. It's about learning from the best.
These are just some of the ways you can engage with analysts. However, remember that the best engagement strategy depends on your specific goals. Be proactive, helpful, informative, responsive, and respectful in your interactions with analysts.
Top tips for an effective analyst relations programme
Developing an AR strategy can be a daunting task. How and where do you go to develop a programme that aligns with your objectives and provides credible information for your buyers?
At Resonance, we understand how developing and executing an AR programme is complex. Our senior team of AR specialists have developed many programmes aligned to business strategy and goals and we want to use this expertise to help you.
We have taken our years of hands-on knowledge and put together a top tips guide to building an effective AR programme. The purpose of this document is to provide an overview into drafting an AR programme and to help analyst relations managers understand the key components to success.
How to build and manage relationships with analysts
Here are some tips on how to build and manage relationships with analysts from the likes of Gartner, Forrester, IDC:
Identify the right analysts to target: Not all analysts are created equal. It is important to identify the analysts who are most relevant to your business and who have the most influence over your target audience.
Provide them with valuable content and resources: Analysts are constantly looking for new and insightful information. By providing them with valuable content and resources, you can position yourself as a trusted source of information and build relationships with them.
Be responsive to their questions and needs: When analysts contact you, be sure to respond promptly and thoroughly. This shows that you value their time and expertise.
Build trust and rapport: It takes time to build trust and rapport with analysts. However, it is important to make an effort to get to know them on a personal level. This will help you to develop stronger relationships with them.
THE EXPANDING ROLE OF ANALYST RELATIONS IN BUSINESS
AR is no longer confined to just influencing the C-suite; it's the "utility belt" for every business function.
Strategy and decision-making
Sales and marketing alignment
"The work we do with our clients has proved that AR can be the Connective Tissue of Business. It’s not an isolated function. It’s the bridge connecting crucial business islands, from marketing to sales to product development. As the linchpin, AR ensures seamless strategic alignment, paving the way for business success.” - Elena, Analyst Relations Specialist, Resonance
RESONANCE’S IMPACT-DRIVEN APPROACH TO AR
Resonance’s AR programmes are designed to deliver impact. We call it impact-driven AR and monitoring progress is critical to ensuring the right focus is going to the right areas to meet the programme goals. We begin with the business goals and create SMART goals for the analyst relations programme that can be measured. We believe in taking a laser focus on the analysts that will generate the most impact on your goals and use Resonance’s analyst selection toolkit to determine tier 1, 2 and 3 analysts as part of your programme. For the tier one analysts, we make sure we know their every need, their vernacular and ensure we are communicating in the way they need us to. It places the individual analyst at the heart of the programme, which in turn generates better relationships and creates the right influence in your markets.
The below dashboard provides a bird’s eye view on the relationship development with the top ten analysts and the insight-driven element of our AR programmes. During each interaction, we have a scorecard that records the insights either delivered to our client (learn) or insights you have provided the analyst (earn). This is based on Forrester’s mapping of the AR relationship, but we take it further with our 6-point categorisation framework.
Resonance’s 6-point categorisation framework
To explain further: Resonance has researched all the major ranking reports and analysed the criteria for all of them. From here, we have identified the main things analysts are looking for from organisations and we measure earn and learn insights against these categories. By tracking this, we can assess where there are weaknesses in our analyst perception and engagements are and where we are strong and this will guide us towards our goals of being a leader/visionary in ranking reports and in joining the dots between AR, demand generation and sales.
The 6-point categories are as follows.
We align with sales and marketing strategy, including ABM strategy, and ensure the insight reporting is closely aligned to goals here.
As you know, Resonance has expertise that enables us to join activity together to drive Impact-driven AR. We use our experience in demand generation, lead generation, inbound marketing, PR and ABM to provide further insights to you and your stakeholders. This is a real point of difference. Leaning on the AMEC Integrated Evaluation Framework (of which we are a member), Resonance has created a reporting dashboard that helps show the value the programme through impact reporting, rather than just outcome reporting.
Rather than just measuring on analyst interactions, report mentions, sentiment and earn and learn insights, we take the programme a step further and create measurable KPIs that align to the business and go beyond outcomes. As one example, the PEAK Matrix is the perfect opportunity to drive impact from the AR activity in terms of demand and lead generation and using as part of an ABM programme.
How Resonance Enhances Your AR Strategy
Comprehensive Analyst Programs: Shape product propositions, nurture leads, and drive growth.
Expert AR Services: Strategise, build global relations, train for analyst engagements, and more.
Measurement & Insights: Tailored, data-driven reporting with insights to sharpen your competitive edge.
"Resonance's unique blend of PR, Marketing, and Communication expertise made our analyst relations program a success"