SageCircle believes strongly in ranking and tiering your analyst list and applying your resources in a reasonable and carefully thought out process. By determining the relative importance and impact of each analyst you can decide how much of your available resource to allocate. This allows you to give sufficient resource to the real influencers rather than spreading your energy so thin as to have no impact.
That said, it is important to determine a policy for dealing with tier three analysts other than ignoring them. Recently an article was published about Motorola where an analyst was quoted as basically saying that they were losing talent and the entire AR had left (see article).
Investigation by SageCircle strategists determined that while the analyst had attempted to reach most, if not all, of the team members NONE had responded to his request for information. His conclusion was bad, and he appears to have apologized for the quote. But the damage is done and the AR team will now spend far more cycles repairing the damage than if someone had responded to the analyst.
This brings up three concepts that all AR teams need to address:
First, what is the policy for responding to lower tier analysts in a timely manner? A voicemail does not require a voice response – perhaps an email reply of “no comment” or “sorry, can’t help you at this time, best of luck with your research” is sufficient. But some sort of a reply should always be given to an analyst request even if they are not on your key analysts list.
Secondly, do you have a current and correct contact for any and all analysts that seek you out? How do you maintain your database of phone and email addresses so that you can provide quick and timely response?
Lastly, how does the team collaborate? So often analysts will call more than one AR manager within an organization seeking corporate consistency. By playing one employee against another they can often cross-check information or even unexpectedly get non-disclosure information. If each AR staff member records analyst interactions into a shared application as they occur the corporate memory will be maintained. This then allows a staff member to quickly see if anyone on the team has recently communicated with the analyst before providing a response.
Our recommendations to Motorola are simple, and apply to other organizations as well. Motorola happens to be visible at the moment, but analysts may be saying negative things about you as well. Not all AR actions can be proactive, but firefighting reactive work is far more resource consuming.
- Rank and tier your analysts and create a plan for allocating level of effort
- Establish a policy for responding to analyst requests of all tiers
- Maintain a contact data base
- Share your interaction history in a real-time application
- Check the activities of your peers before responding to the analyst inquiry
Bottom Line: The “cost” of damage control far exceeds the efforts required to avoid the problem in the first place. Proper planning, automated tools, group collaboration, and response policies go a long way to making the job easier and much more fun.
AR teams – Do you rank and tier your lists frequently? How do you allocate resources? How does the team collaborate?
Analysts – How long can you wait for most information? What do you do when the AR team fails to respond?
Do you need assistance in your AR resource planning? SageCircle can Help – We have a series of planning templates that can help you allocate resources.
SageCircle strategists understand your opportunities, challenges and priorities because we have been AR practitioners and executives as well as industry analysts and AR researchers. SageCircle emphasizes the use of phone-based inquiry through its Advisory Service, which is your lifeline when you need timely access to an AR and analyst expert to exploit an opportunity or mitigate a problem. Advisory is available through an annual “all you can eat” contract or blocks of two or five hours “by the drink.” Click here to learn more about our advisory services.
Call 650-274-8309 or e-mail info (at) sagecircle dot com for more information. Also follow Carter’s commentary www.twitter.com/carterlusher to get a feel for how information is now being transmitted using micro-blogging.
Since 2000, SageCircle has helped analyst relations teams to focus on business value by encouraging innovative thinking that leverages insights and drives revenue.