“On a scale of 1-10, how likely is it that you would recommend [brand] to a friend or colleague?”
Ah, the Net Promoter Score question. While this evaluation question itself is remarkably simple, the factors that impact how a recipient answers are complex. What does it actually take to make someone want to recommend you? If we think about this in terms of analyst maturity, what does it actually take to make an analyst be your advocate?
At Spotlight, we contextualize and measure our clients’ analyst maturity by taking an NPS-like approach to analyst advocacy. We ask our clients, “how likely is it that [analyst] would recommend your products and services to one of their clients or colleagues?” Is the analyst a passionate promoter, or just a lukewarm observer? Or even worse, is this analyst a detractor?
While we all know those lower scoring relationships are obviously undesirable, even analyst maturity that falls on the scale’s mid-range is going to get you nowhere in the AR game. When analysts don’t feel strongly about your company, it’s only going to show off your mediocrity to their clients and your potential prospects.
Analysts are unlikely to refer a business they just feel “okay” about, which makes sense, right? Think about recommendations you make. Would you recommend something you didn’t feel complete confidence in? Analysts are no different. Building relationships with analysts is like building any other relationship – you need to be vulnerable and believable. You need to be the business they would spend their professional credibility on. Plus, analysts are more inclined to give constructive feedback to those who they feel truly value their input. Lukewarm relationships lack open communication and trust between the two parties that is necessary for relationship advancement.
So how do you advance your analyst relationships to advocacy?
At Spotlight, building mutually beneficial relationships and creating analyst advocates are some of the things we do best. We encourage our clients to build relationships with analysts like they would with anyone else – be honest, be open, and be yourself. Analysts recognize and appreciate authenticity. We’ve found the best way to foster authentic, advancing relationships are to consider the following:
- Be honest about what your business is truly good at (and what it’s not): Analysts hear it all day, every day: “We do everything!” but they are never fooled. They know each company has strengths and weaknesses, and they appreciate transparency in knowing where you win and where you lose. Leading with this transparency shows analysts you’re committed to developing a mutually beneficial relationship with them, which solidifies the foundation for a relationship that actually will advance. You have the opportunity to show them where you shine, and they feel valued by having the opportunity to help refine your company’s underdeveloped offerings. While your leadership and peers may be hesitant to reveal your company’s “flaws,” reassure them that transparency will help you earn analyst trust and favor.
- Be open to nuances and their guidance: Joe Analyst at Gartner may really care about cloud solutions, while Jane Analyst at IDC may consider both on-prem and cloud equally important. Differences in market predictions and understandings are to be expected when interacting with multiple analysts in the same space. The key is understanding these nuances so your dialog with each individual is specific, productive, and authentic. Read analysts’ research and use your inquiry line to find out exactly what each of your key analysts care about in your space. Then use those findings as a guideline for knowing what you can learn from them and which parts of your business goals are most important to share.
- Be yourself with awareness: With analysts, you have to have an honest starting point in order to have an honest conversation. Establish this by being your authentic self. Once you’ve established rapport, then seek to understand their awareness of you. Take time to listen to their feedback and ask probing questions. If you’ve got a feeling they don’t buy in on what you believe are advantages, ask them to explain. If you’re showing evidence of the contrary, ask for their reaction – did it make sense? Did it change how they see you? We know if you can have honest dialog with an analyst they will reciprocate.
Create a plan to make analysts your advocates
Once you understand where you land with an analyst you need to make a plan to advance or maintain their advocacy. Having interactions just to have them is not enough. Be thoughtful and strategic about when and what you communicate. Set a relationship maturity state goal that allows you to work backwards to figure out how you go from where you are today to where you want to ultimately be.
We have a few tips on how to do this, so feel free to take a look through them. Specifically, our on-demand webinar Planning AR Activity with Context and Purpose is where we go deeper into how we do this.
What’s your advice for making advocates of analysts? Leave a comment below to join the discussion.