Why comprehensive planning can save your analyst relations strategy

Jul 19, 2018

Advanced AR techniques

Why comprehensive planning can save your analyst relations strategy

The daily grind of analyst relations

It’s what every AR pro is up against each day. You attend back-to-back calls, send countless emails to your team, are in constant communication with analysts and representatives from their firms, all while trying to think ahead about what everyone might need from you next.

You’re busy, but are you busy for the right reasons? Too often analyst relations pros find themselves doing, doing, and doing, but lack a clear purpose for their efforts. Your analyst relations strategy may be very active, with many analyst inquiries, briefings, and events, but busyness is not a proxy for success. We know that just because your AR program may generate a variety of things for you to do, it does not mean that all of those things are valuable and impactful to your organization.

Have you ever asked yourself (or been asked by someone in your company), “What’s the purpose of all these interactions? Why are we talking to this analyst at this time? What are we trying to communicate?”

Analyst relations strategies can easily go awry

We believe AR pros need to recognize that being busy is fine, but only if it supports a greater mission in your program. There is a fine line between being busy and being out of control. And while both are challenging, being out of control fosters the feeling of being overwhelmed.

The hectic nature of an AR program that is more reactive (mindlessly responding to any analyst request and interaction on the fly) than proactive (prioritizing and strategically engaging with key analysts) lends itself to more missed opportunities than an AR program that is run with intention. Throughout our work with our clients, we’ve found setting clear intentions drives the most success not only for our clients’ AR objectives, but also for us in running a concise program.

Avoid consequences by planning analyst activity with intention

Your executives and analysts look to you to steer your company’s AR program forward with careful thought and intention. Doing just for the sake of doing can lead to steep consequences like these that are hard to recover from:

  • Losing trust from executives: Just like you, your executives are busy. They are constantly pulled in different directions, prioritizing one fire to the next. You need to be able to explain to them why spending time with this analyst at this moment is important and impactful. Without a clear analyst relations plan and strategy to support your explanation, we’ve learned you risk having them think their AR efforts are redundant and draining. Over time, if they don’t have respect for and understanding of the objectives for each interaction, they’ll lose trust in the goals you’ve set.

  • Losing trust from analysts: At Spotlight, we believe in mutually beneficial relationships between analysts and our clients. This means that we respect an analyst’s time just as much as our executive clients’. Repeated interactions with the same analyst that lack significant company and product updates or new differentiators will make the analyst lose trust in what your company has to say. We know it’s easy to feel like you’re not doing enough with your key analysts. But if you are unable to provide them with significant news and progress from your company, any additional interactions will essentially just spin wheels. Respect their time too, and help them recognize that each interaction with your company is relevant and valuable to them.

  • Missed opportunities: Without a clear, comprehensive analyst relations plan you risk missing opportunities for connections with analysts that may be easy and obvious wins. What happens if your executives are attending an industry event – and so are your key analysts – but you are unaware and thus unable to coordinate an in-person meeting? What happens if research for a Magic Quadrant kicks off before you realize it, and your company is now unable to connect with that key analyst due to Gartner’s blackout date rules? These are just a few of the many opportunities that could be potentially missed if your analyst relations strategy is operating without direction and intention.

Implement strategic planning as an analyst relations best practice

Having a comprehensive analyst relations plan is the only way to ensure that all interactions between your company, your executives, and your key analysts are beneficial and appropriately timed for all parties involved. Consider these factors when planning your AR program:

  • Set intentions for each analyst engagement: You should initiate and participate in analyst interactions only if they each have a clear purpose. Ask yourself the “why” behind each interaction before you even schedule it. Justify to yourself the time and energy needed for each engagement. Because if you don’t, it’s likely your executive will ask about it moments before the meeting.

  • Move your AR program forward: Each analyst interaction should feed into your larger analyst relations activity goals. If a briefing, inquiry, or 1-on-1 meeting doesn’t help develop a relationship with an analyst to meet your overall AR and business objectives, don’t have the interaction purely for the sake of having another interaction. Be strategic in reaching your goals.

  • Create a comprehensive strategic plan: Set your long-term analyst relations goals and work backwards. Consider all of the events and situations that may impact the timeliness of your AR engagements and create your analyst relations plan with them in mind.

Our actionable insights for strategic analyst relations planning

Planning AR Activity with Purpose and Context (Part 1) Webinar

We know planning AR activity with purpose in the context of everyday busyness is critical to developing a successful analyst relations strategy. In our free on-demand webinar we talk about how we do this. We also have made our Comprehensive AR Planner available for download upon viewing the webinar.

Watch the On-Demand

Planning with Context Webinar

How do you plan activity with purpose and context?

We’d love to know the best practices you use to tackle this complex challenge. Leave a comment below to join the discussion. 

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