Too often, we don’t stop and fully unpack what happened in analyst interactions. We internalize feelings, maybe share a few external comments, but move on to executing our next task that our busy schedules demand without fully dissecting what happened during the interaction – and what it means.
Every interaction is an opportunity to move towards our larger goal of building advocates out of analysts. Interactions are rarely isolated events, but rather build on each other over time. Because of this continuous stream of conversation and connection, it’s critical that we prioritize and reflect after every interaction to debrief our specific learnings.
Listening for and capturing specific feedback
Analysts are paid to render opinions – opinions spanning many flavors, sentiments, and categories. When we think about all of the things we hear on interactions, we’ve found it’s most helpful to listen for specific feedback about our product or business. When we listen for this, we start to hear how the analyst feels about our business plan, go-to-market strategy, customer satisfaction and more. If we categorize what is said into groups, we can start to make sense of where we need to focus on future interactions.
We’ve found that when an analyst assesses a vendor they typically give feedback across one of the following five categories:
- Business: Is your company healthy, growing, and operating effectively?
- Market: How well does your company understand the market and react to it?
- Go-to-Market: Do you have the structure and resources in place to sell, market, and distribute your products?
- Offering: Does your product offer valuable, differentiated capabilities?
- Customers: Does your firm have the services and tools needed to ensure customer success?
Listening for and capturing analyst sentiment
We make categorizing feedback even more actionable when we note the analyst’s sentiment about the feedback, too. While it’s always easier to share positive feedback rather than negative, delivering feedback in its entirety helps us develop a methodology that enables actionability and a path forward.
When analysts provide feedback, it’s valuable to capture whether it was positive, cautionary, or somewhere in between. We consider this spectrum when we assign sentiment to a piece of feedback:
- Positive: The analyst is overtly favorable towards us
- Somewhat positive: The analyst indicated favorable sentiment towards a few things, but also had a few neutral comments
- Neutral: The analyst was matter of fact in his/her thoughts and commentary and didn’t lean towards positive or cautionary tones
- Somewhat cautionary: The analyst indicated less than favorable sentiment towards a few things, but also had a few neutral comments. Although nothing was detrimental to the relationship
- Cautionary: The analyst is overtly cautionary and potentially negative towards us
Making meaning (and strategies) out of feedback
Analysts can offer their feedback either explicitly or through consistent questioning. Either way, it’s crucial that we understand what the feedback is addressing and where the confidence or skepticism exists. If an analyst is sharing this information with us, it could be proxy information that he or she is sharing behind closed doors on inquiry calls with our prospects and customers. If the sentiment of the feedback is positive, that’s a fantastic win we could share internally with stakeholders in leadership, sales, marketing, and/or product. If the sentiment of the feedback is cautionary, it can (and should) serve as an action item for stakeholders to prioritize action towards shifting their perceptions.
Categorizing feedback and applying a sentiment enables us and our team to take specific actions to close the distance between our view of the world and the analysts’. When we do this over time – interaction after interaction – we can see sentiment and feedback trends that inform when we should have conversations and what they should focus on. By taking a bit of time after each interaction to make note of the type and sentiment of feedback, we can stay up-to-date on analysts’ perceptions, and use those learnings to better prepare ourselves and our spokespeople for their next interaction with the analyst.
Tips for capturing and cataloging feedback and sentiment:
It’s possible to catalog feedback and sentiment via notes or spreadsheets (we know, because we’ve done it that way) but a new option AR pros can consider is Spotlight Oz, our new analyst relations platform. We built Spotlight Oz to help us capture the important information and feedback we hear from analysts in a way that is quick, easy, and scalable. Request a demo to learn more about how you can debrief deeper after your interactions using this new tool.