Managing relationships with your IT Industry Analysts is not unlike salespeople managing their customer relationships. Therefore it is surprising that so many AR teams do not employ a CRM-style system tailored to analysts. An Analyst Relationship Manager (ARM) system can greatly improve group collaboration and efficiency while maintaining a corporate history of analyst interactions. A survey of AR teams can turn up processes that use spreadsheets, small databases, paper files, or modified sales contact systems. Record keeping and group collaboration may take the form of shared file spaces and extended email threads. These piecemeal attempts generally do not translate into efficient use of time and team members are inclined to bypass activities seen as busy work.AR teams, like all parts of the organization, are not static. As team members come and go they can often take the analyst relationships with them. Without an accessible history new members must research the analyst perceptions, determine their briefing history, find information on events and activities, and solicit executive involvement. This can translate into a lot of work before the actual relationship building can begin.
An integrated ARM can assist both the current and the new team members by providing an organized approach to record keeping and a constant maintenance of the corporate memory.
A good ARM has several characteristics:
A database of analysts that maintains contact information; areas of coverage; biographies and analyst background information; links to publications, research, and quotes; and a repository for private and personal added information.
A method for categorizing and recording interactions with analysts quickly and easily
The ability to easily share analyst information among teams members
Automated processes for common AR activities such as sending group emails
Project and process management tools that integrate with standard office applications
Reporting capabilities and filters that create meaningful metrics
And most importantly, a user interface that makes the tool painless to use.
Homebrew systems, or sales systems shoehorned into AR can provide some value, but the key to team success is getting all team members to actively participate. When team members obtain more value than the effort expended they will be happy to use an efficient system.
Bottom Line: An Analyst Relationship Management system is a critical tool for even the smallest AR Teams. It can significantly improve the team effectiveness and assist in changing analyst perceptions. It also ensures that a corporate memory of analyst interactions will be maintained despite team changes.
Questions: Vendors – Do you currently use an ARM? If so, what are you using? How successfully has it been? Analysts -Do vendors appear to maintain good record keeping, respond to your requests, and have consistency among team members?
Shameless marketing pitch – If you need advice about how to select and use an ARM, check out SageCircle’s two-hour and five-hour advisory paks or Annual Advisory Service. The advisory paks are easy to setup and pay for via credit card. We can help you evaluate products and processes. Because Dave and Carter ran the largest deployment of ARchitect3 for more than three years, we can provide expert advice on how to incorporate an ARM into your AR program’s toolkit. For more information, visit our website or contact us at “sales [at] sagecircle dot com” or 650-274-8309.