During a recession AR managers are confronted with the need to cut back work either due to headcount constraints or the need to refocus their priorities (e.g., providing more support to their company’s sales force and increasing lead generation via analysts placing the company on purchasing short lists). Two areas of low hanging fruit for saving time that can then be reallocated to other activities are the normally important analyst lists and the level of service provided to each tier of analyst.
One of the biggest ongoing mistakes that AR professionals make is not using a rigorous methodology for managing their analyst lists. This often leads to too many analysts on their lists and too many analysts designated “Tier 1.” This state of affairs leads to inefficiency and ineffectiveness as AR teams are spread too thin over too many analysts to effectively influence the most relevant analysts. While bad enough in good economic times this mistake can be fatal in recessions when all corporate functions are being scrutinized for efficiency as well as contribution to revenues and corporate/business unit objectives.
Another major problem is that many AR programs have not revised their service level frameworks – or do not have formal service levels in the first place. These plans to allocate effort must be adjusted to reflect recession driven resource constraints. This results in AR teams being too generous in the amount effort they give to lower ranked analysts’ information/briefing requests which in turn siphons away precious AR bandwidth for higher priority activities. A related problem is not having the discipline to follow established service levels.
To correct this situation, AR managers need to ruthlessly revisit their analyst lists, aligning them more tightly with today’s business objectives and cutting back on the number of Tier 1 and Tier 2 analysts in order to focus more intensely on the most relevant analysts. Second, AR programs have to reduce, perhaps significantly, the amount of service they provide to Tier 2 and Tier 3 analysts in order to save time for other priorities. This means that AR professionals have to learn a new word: “No,” and develop the discipline to apply it in a diplomatic manner.
- Review analyst list criteria to ensure tight alignment with new recession-centric business objectives
- Re-rank analysts lists based on revised criteria
- Reduce the number of analysts that are permitted in the Tier 1 and 2 bands
- Reallocate resources as defined in your service level framework to devote all one-to-one bandwidth to Tier 1, leaving one-to-many interactions for Tier 2 and only none-to-many support for Tier 3. An AR effectiveness survey of the analysts should show that Tier 1 analysts are happy and Tier 3 unhappy
- Critique on weekly basis how effective the AR program has been in applying the service levels
Online SageContentTM Library clients can find best practices for ranking and tiering the analysts. Advisory clients can get the same information via inquiry. If you are not a client, you can get a free inquiry to review your methodology, criteria and service levels as a thank-you for participating in an Analyst Relations DiagnosticTM.
Want to know the best practices for managing your analyst lists? Attend our “Ranking and Tiering Analysts Lists” webinar on February 17th or February 26th. During the webinar we will provide you with succinct and actionable information that will help you develop a solid and efficient analyst list management process. The agenda for the 90-minute session and other information can be found by clicking here.
Related “ranking and tiering” posts:
- Your analyst list is likely wrong – half the analysts should not be on it, half that should arenot
- Ranking and tiering your analyst list
- Don’t listen to the squeaks when managing your analystlist
Bottom Line: During a recession, AR teams need to harvest time from some activities in order to devote more time to more important tasks. Two ways to do this are reducing the number of analysts you support and reducing the amount of effort allocated to Tier 2 and Tier 3 analysts. While painful for both AR and the analysts, it is critical that AR managers ruthlessly enforce these approaches.
Question: How are you working and spending differently in this recession?
SageCircle has published or will be publishing a series of posts addressing a variety of recession-oriented topics
How AR needs to work differently in a recession:
- AR & recession – It’s about refocusing priorities and activities (overview)
- AR & recession – briefings need to focus on customers and fast business results
- AR & recession – refocusing metrics to emphasize outcomes not activities
- AR & recession – revisiting analyst lists and service level agreements
- AR & recession – telling stories of AR delivering business value to the company
How AR needs to spend differently in a recession:
- Why it is a really bad idea to cut AR, even in a recession
- Budgeting cutting can help AR focus and innovate
- Budget cutting part two – Alternate solutions for analyst contracts
- Notes on managing your budget in a recession – SageCircle’s Coffee Talk notes
- AR & recession spending – re-considering analyst contract priorities
- AR & recession spending – determining what out-tasked activities to bring in-house, if any
Purchasing analyst services best practices are more critical in a recession:
- Using five rights to avoid a wrong when it comes to purchasing Gartner or Forrester services
- Right reasons – Evaluate why you are purchasing analyst services
- Right services – Align the services you buy to better match the reason for info or advice
- Right firms – Search out alternative services providers that better match your reasons
- Right price – Acquire those services that meet your basics requirements
- Right usage – Drive usage of the services you buy to ensure maximize business value
Since 2000, SageCircle has helped analyst relations teams to focus on business value by encouraging innovative thinking that leverages insights and drives revenue.