I have worked in tech B2B marketing my entire career, and have specialised in Analyst Relations (AR) over the last fifteen years, developing relationships with tech industry analysts across the globe – whilst at an agency and in-house. One thing has remained consistent over the years; even after all this time AR is still considered a dark art and one that (grudgingly) needs to happen between vendors and the various analyst houses.
When I have posed this ‘issue’ to analysts, they have been flabbergasted as to why vendors view AR in such a negative way when it is such an essential part of the buying cycle. After all, it is the prospects and clients that work with analysts to find out the right vendors to purchase from and seek guidance on RFPs that they send out.
What is AR all about?
AR is not just about working with analysts on an annual basis to be a leader in the Magic Quadrant, PEAK Matrix, or Wave. According to Wikipedia, AR helps vendors better position themselves in their GTM strategies, messaging and sales engagement. It’s about advising end users on their technology related strategy, tracking vendors and their capabilities in comparison to the market and future-proofing their business.
As a Communication Manager, what’s in it for you?
Some say that you can’t have a relationship with an analyst, and in fact the phrase ‘analyst relations’ is an oxymoron, but I have to disagree. Analysts provide an opportunity for vendors and their C-suite to share their mission, vision and future strategies and be provided with counsel, insights and an opportunity to grow their business (through reports that are bought by prospects and clients for IT purchasing decisions). Analysts can review your marketing plans, helping you differentiate from your competitors and shape your future strategy.
It’s proven by analysts themselves that they can help decrease the sales cycle, making recommendations to customers and advising them on who’s who in the market. You want your business to be included in those conversations. The more time you are exposed to analysts, the more you are kept front of mind in comparison to your competitors. By having a direct impact on the sales cycle, not only are you driving the sales pipeline but you're also increasing revenues back into the business.
Don’t get me wrong, engaging in and fully leveraging analyst relations can be a significant proportion of a marketing budget and I have spent days developing business cases over the last decade and a half attempting to build a global, EMEA or even a European strategy. Trying to explain how a global company requires a local analyst programme, proving its local roots (and understanding of buying behaviour), can be challenging. What helps is explaining that, if our clients buy locally, we need to adopt the same approach in our activity with key influencers – keeping the buyer’s journey front and centre.
Nowadays AR isn’t just for the big IT vendors, but for those companies that are savvy enough to see how they can, not only be included in influential reports, but also utilise these reports as part of sales engagements. Venture capitalist and private investors read these reports and engage with analysts to see what potential unicorns they should be investing in.
Interested in learning more?
Analyst relations is no longer the dark art it used to be, but like many other activities in marketing, it needs nurturing and a long-term focus for success. If you would like to know more about how your company can grow its pipeline and future growth strategy, then why not pop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call: +44 (0) 208 819 3170.