Lately we have given some time to complaints that vendor and end user clients have with analysts. But analysts have a litany of issues with the typical vendor AR teams that they will gladly speak about given the opportunity. Unfortunately many AR teams don’t listen.
Vendor is not proactive enough
SageCircle research shows that most analysts believe that Vendor AR teams spend their day in reaction mode and rarely take the opportunity for the “early and often” approach that we suggest. Analysts want to be given information ahead of the press, and on a timetable that suits their research. They are happy to have appropriate briefings and other interactions. A common complaint is “we never hear from them” or “I did not know they did that”.
What is a sufficient number of interactions? Well that depends on the particular analyst and your relationship – so ask. Also do not concentrate on just briefings. By doing a mix of interactions: briefings, inquiries, analyst consulting days, social, executive buddy calls, you have an opportunity for useful dialog that may better address analyst needs. Those executive buddy calls are hard to maintain, but if you can convince your executives of the value of occasionally reaching out to their analysts you will enhance both the relationship and the information the analyst has on hand when speaking to their clients.
In all cases track your interactions against the interaction plan you created and be sure you are not forgetting key analysts.
Vendor is not responsive
Generally the research done by analysts is not on a deadline, or at least has long lead times. But like many of us analysts find those deadlines creep up and then require some faster action. Also an analyst may have a sudden research need based on a client inquiry. This can place the analyst into a reactive mode seeking information from vendors to complete a report, a magic quadrant, or a speaking presentation. We often hear of instances where a vendor is left out because they did not respond in a timely manner. Analysts do the best they can, but without your response the information may not be complete.
Vendor is not leveraging me as an advisor
This is a key complaint, especially from the Sage analysts, who pride themselves on strategy advice and longer term activities. They want early involvement in a non-disclosure process that allows them to impact strategy, positioning, products, key messages, PR campaigns, and so forth. Too many executives view the analysts as adversaries and miss the opportunities to gain market perceptions based on real client information. AR teams need to educate key staff on the many ways to safely use analysts for insights and reviews that can really promote a company.
- Ensure that your analyst interaction plan is adjusted if your ranking and tiering are altered
- Track all analyst interactions and match them to your prepared interaction plan
- Respond to all key analyst needs promptly
- Communicate with your executives to educate them on the value and benefits of strategy interactions
- Establish and promote a buddy plan and track the interactions
Bottom Line: Creating a proactive analyst relations program is based on early and often interactions with key analysts, responding to their needs on their timetable, and using them in a strategic fashion. Setting these goals are part of the way in which AR teams achieve a best in class program.
Questions: Analysts: Have we addressed your major complaints? What else bugs you?
AR Teams: Is your interaction plan current and tracked? Do you have a working executive buddy program?
SageCircle can help
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.” See our website to learn more about our advisory services or contact us at info [at] sagecircle dot com or 650-274-8309.