When I use the insights-driven AR approach with my clients, I look to analyst interactions and their research for specific insights that can inform our AR strategy. The AR teams I work with are always looking to support and improve their businesses, and capturing insights is the avenue that gets us there.
Recently, I had a check-in with one client to review the analyst insights we’d gathered in the last quarter. With every interaction, we work with our client’s AR team to listen for, capture, and categorize insights using Spotlight Oz as we find them. This insights log makes it easy to aggregate our findings and roll them up into a summarized report at the end of every quarter. Our client ends up with one view of how they’re doing and how they’re perceived by the analyst community.
Surfacing insight themes
In our latest insights review, our client team found four major trends among their key analysts:
- They have a lot of strong competitors: Analysts have mentioned time and time again that the client’s market is dense, with many vendors and many strong vendors, too. They have major competition.
- Their platform is well received: Analysts see what they offer as differentiated. They’re often rated higher in the space than other vendors.
- Their pricing model could be more transparent: Analysts suggest that they be more clear and concrete with their pricing model. This would help them stand out amongst the crowded market.
- Analysts aren’t being asked about them: Unfortunately, despite analysts’ approval of their offering, potential customers just aren’t asking analysts about them all that often. But, analysts think they can do something about that.
Using feedback to justify our approach… and metrics
Analysts consistently mentioned that our client could be more competitive in a highly competitive market, but we didn’t hear specifically what to do. So we created an initiative to set out and find the answer. We needed to know what the client’s competitive intel and differentiation should be, not only to inform our AR strategy, but to empower the sales, product, and marketing teams to help differentiate them in a crowded market.
To do all of this, we needed to evolve how we approached and measured the AR program. In the past, activity-driven and reports-driven metrics were what we staked our previous quarter’s performance on. With this new initiative, we needed to add insights-driven metrics. These metrics resonated well with business owners and gave us more control over our success. Insights-driven metrics are more tangible, and they can be used by the other business units AR supports. We agreed on three new insights-driven metrics:
- Create analyst informed sales battle cards against their top three competitors. These battle cards are an asset that AR could give to the sales team to directly support the sales funnel.
- Increase positive sentiment over the next six months for their pricing model. Analysts’ feedback of how their pricing model could be improved and be more transparent was a direct reflection of the analysts’ cautionary and negative sentiment. Our strategy was to conduct specific inquiries and briefings to change their perception of the pricing model. By asking questions and demonstrating change, we could measure their sentiment changes over time.
- Gather feedback to inform a competitive SWOT analysis. With the client’s market being so competitively dense, they wanted to deliver a comprehensive SWOT analysis to their business leaders to show how analysts perceive them versus their competitors. The client leveraged their inquiry access to set up a series of inquiries to get this feedback.
Making the change to insights-driven metrics
When we embarked on adding more metrics that were specifically insights-driven, we knew implementing this change wouldn’t be without a few challenges. This was a new idea for business stakeholders who were used to only seeing dot placements and report mentions as AR’s output. With insights-driven metrics, we helped our client provide educational conversations to articulate why these metrics are meaningful and why they should be widely adopted.
These metrics were also new for our client’s AR team. Taking an insights-driven approach isn’t too different from normal AR activities, but it does require a different mindset. It pushed them past what they were used to and initially comfortable with. Our plans also required involving more people in their organization than they were used to working with. This is ultimately a good thing, as it gives AR more visibility and more opportunities to show value. But at the start, it was a change everyone had to get used to.
Insights-driven AR is a powerful approach to get more out of AR’s traditional ways. It offers new ways of thinking and new ways of using AR to provide business value. If you’re interested in learning more about how we’ve implemented insights-driven AR in other organizations, please reach out. Or check out our recent webinars where we discuss in detail strategies for implementing insights-driven metrics.