Developing brand awareness within the defined target media is a given for savvy organizations today. But what about applying that same effort within the analyst community? This oft-overlooked segment of influencers could hold the power to make or break your next deal. According to the Knowledge Capital Group, cultivating analyst relationships provides the following three primary benefits:
1. Influencing Sales
While an analyst firm is not likely to recommend or advocate for a particular technology solution, they may include your organization on a short list of companies or give an honest, informed assessment of your offering to interested prospects.
2. Providing Validation and Advice
Analysts are paid to deliver expert advice—it is, after all, their raison d’etre. However, scheduling a briefing tends to generate discussion, which translates to free advice. From offering advice on presentation structure and content to thoughts on positioning and messaging, analysts can lend validation to your organization’s vision and strategy.
3. Providing Intelligence
Want to know what your competition is working on? Analysts are one of the great, untapped resources of competitive intelligence because they are also talking with your competition. Of course, this is a catch 22. The same information you share can also be shared with your competition–so be cautious not to share your secret sauce.
Maximize the Interaction
When you’ve successfully secured a briefing with an influential industry analyst firm, the next step is ensuring your spokespeople are prepared to make the best use of everyone’s time. Typically, analysts will request a slide deck 48 hours in advance of the briefing that clearly defines your organization’s value proposition. Most briefings will be 30 minutes to one hour in length, and proper preparation will result in a lively discussion.
With this timeframe in mind, it is crucial to use restraint when developing your presentation—both in the number of slides and the number of words on each slide. Whenever possible, go with graphics versus text. You want the analysts focused on what you are saying, rather than reading your presentation.
Be Prepared for the Pitch
While an analyst briefing provides an opportunity for an organization to pitch their services, it also is expected that the analyst firm will do the same. Budget five minutes in the discussion for their salesperson to explain their offerings. There is no expectation that an organization briefing with an analyst will engage in a paid relationship, but it is polite to hear them out.
Once the relationship has been established, it is beneficial to keep the analysts informed of any relevant company or service updates. Because analysts lack the equivalent of an editorial calendar, it is helpful to find out what their research agenda looks like going forward—and if your organization may fit into any of the upcoming research topics.