Consider this scenario: While prepping your executive team for a Wave briefing, your CEO asks, “Where exactly do we stand with this analyst? It seems like she’s skeptical of our strategy.”
What do you say? Can you confidently and accurately articulate how your company is perceived by the author of that report? How do you communicate to your executive that you know what your position is and you have a plan to move it forward?
Find your ground zero to get speaker and executive buy-in
In order to improve your standing with an analyst, you have to first understand what your position is. The company write ups published in analyst research are intentionally professional and neutral in tone. They do not give you a true indication of how the analyst author actually feels about your business. Because of this, it’s imperative to dive deep into an analyst’s worldview in order to fully gauge their perception of you.
Establishing this baseline perception gives your speakers and executives a starting point for advancement. It also makes it easier to justify the time you want them to spend with analysts, because you’ve established the current perception state.
Ask yourself the right questions, and listen between the lines
We’ve found asking the following about your key analysts can help you save time, plan strategically, communicate the right message, and establish credibility with your executives:
- What does this analyst believe in? Are they forward-thinking or skeptical of over-hyped technology? Are they attached to a methodology they created, or are they intrigued by new solutions? A true understanding of an analyst’s underlying belief system will help you contextualize the feedback they provide. If you know what an analyst believes in, you can do a better job of understanding what they say to you.
- What part of your strategy are they skeptical of? Although an analyst may not overtly say it, it’s likely there is some part of your strategy that gives them pause. Listen for when they say things like, “Oh you don’t do [insert capability here]?” Questions like that typically aren’t asked for clarification, but because they find that missing element noteworthy and differentiating. When you start to pick up on subtle cues from analysts, you will start to see where they are critiquing your company’s strategy. On the flip side, analysts also don’t always shy away from sharing their point of view. Take the guesswork out of it and be direct – ask analysts to provide a SWOT analysis of you and your competitors. Hearing it straight from them will give you tremendous insight into the things they value vs. the things they see as table stakes.
- Who does this analyst think is doing it right? It’s a basic business principle – know your competition. But in AR you need to know your competition within the context of analysts’ opinions. You may think one vendor is your biggest competition in your market, but your key analyst may rally behind a company that wasn’t even on your radar. Understand who your key analysts are advocates for to help you assess their beliefs and priorities.
Take the next step – create a strategic engagement plan
Once you’ve established where you’re positioned with your key analysts, take the next step in advancing those relationships. Be smart and strategic with when and why you interact with the analysts in your purview. Doing this will help you develop analyst advocacy, and thus will give your company more value from the AR channel.
Planning AR Activity with Context and Purpose (Part 1) Webinar
At Spotlight, we’ve found having a visual into all of the activity that impacts our clients’ analyst relations strategies is critical to running a successful AR program. 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 determine what analysts actually perceive of you? Leave a comment below to join the discussion.