As a former research director of the Strategic Service Management Practice at the Aberdeen Group I wanted to share with our blog followers some insight for companies interested in building a successful industry analyst relations program.
It’s interesting that that so many place such a high value on influencing this group of influencers but get many of the basics wrong. These may seem basic but in fact, of the hundred or so of these that I participated in at Aberdeen, probably less than 10% stood out as effective.
When correctly engaged analysts can play a major role in the course of bringing a product or solution to the market. Analysts can help technology companies better understand complex markets, avoid costly mistakes, pinpoint competitive threats and evolve offerings to better match buyer’s requirements. In myexperience these are five “must consider” components for the all-important analyst briefing:
1. Understand the importance: Treat the briefing like a million-dollar sales call. Act as if you’re dealing with your biggest prospect throughout every phase of the briefing.
2. Over-prepare: In addition to a polished, on-point presentation, it vital to ensure the right people are present for the briefing. The presentation should deliver a specific, tailored message to the analyst. Testing the proper technology, especially if conducting a remote briefing, is highly suggested. Web conferences are great but it never hurts to have a packaged version of the presentation available to email, just in case.
3. Be interactive: Build in question breaks, so you allow opportunities to engage the analyst in discussion. This also prevents analysts from multi-tasking and forces them to focus on your presentation.
4. Be honest: Most analysts are trained to see past the vendor pitch. Genuine dialogue is appreciated by the analyst. Installations that do not go as planned are okay; analysts understand that no installation is perfect.
5. Follow-up: Ensure action items resulting from the briefing are handled in a timely and effective manner. Provide a list of customer references to the analyst, because they will ask for them. But don’t stop there. Analysts appreciate hearing about new product launches, significant customer wins, or if a product or solution is gaining traction. Providing analysts with a steady stream of news releases on relevant topics can help your company keep this important group of influencers in the know, and can spark valuable conversations.
Analysts have much to offer technology companies, but it is up to the company to have a presentation that is rehearsed, researched and anchored with customer experience if they want to capture analyst mindshare.