Here at Spotlight, we know AR because all we do is AR. Every day, all day. 24/7, 365. We live, breathe, and even read about AR for fun. So, we thought, who better to help summarize a few AR books out on the market than our very own team?
Analysts on Analyst Relations: The SageCircle Guide by Robin Schaffer (LinkedIn, @robinjs19) is the perfect place to begin. This book provides an overview of the niche industry while sharing recommendations and tips when engaging with the analyst community. With the book itself being just under 100 pages, it makes for a quick read to get caught up on the major aspects of this industry. The book is broken down into different topics that AR professionals will encounter most in their roles. A key differentiator of this book compared to others in the market is that it’s from the lens of the analyst. While there are a few “how to” books on AR in the market, this book identifies success from an analysts perspective. For the sake of this blog, we will focus on three main topics:
The Analyst World
Best Practices for a Great Relationship
Inquiries & Strategy Days
A Look Into The World Of Analyst Relations
Some people believe an analyst’s only job is to create tactical spreadsheets filled with complex data and that could not be further from the truth. While day-to-day habits differ from one analyst to the next, analysts are responsible for a myriad of things – not just marketing research. They must execute their own research, be up-to-date on the latest market trends, present their published work via webinars, and explore and discover new vendors, trends, and challenges for designated coverage areas. It’s a complex and demanding workload, to say the least.
Best Practices For Building Great Relationships
One thing we hear from analysts time and time again is that they want a more direct connection with senior-level leadership. To ensure that your executive team is developing an honest, deep connection with core analysts, you must create executive buy-in. To do this, Spotlight recommends sharing annual or quarterly plans so everyone knows the overall strategy of engagement. With clear purpose and executive presence, your analyst engagements will be more impactful. Quarterly check-ins allow for both parties to re-align on the goals that were established at the beginning of the AR program and coordinate analyst interaction engagement plans for the next quarter. Another way to provide visibility of senior leaders to the analysts is allowing them to present to the analyst on briefing calls. If this is done on a regular basis, the analysts will be able to see that senior leadership is all in for the AR program.
Another tip when building a great relationship is to be intentional with the time. Analysts connect with multiple organizations within the same day and they are not interested in hearing a “pitch”. Use previous engagement insights and analyst research to craft a presentation that the analysts are interested in hearing. Be honest by including more raw topics like the challenges you face, areas of work that are incomplete, or shortcomings in your delivery. This transparency will create a stronger connection with the analysts.
Getting The Most From Inquiries and Strategy Days
Inquiries – If done well
Uncover impactful insights on the market landscape
Detailed feedback on products and services that can be presented back to internal teams
Serve as an opportunity to deepen relationships with core industry analysts
Spotlight Tip: When preparing for an inquiry, make sure to rank the questions in the order of importance in case you both get encapsulated in a long conversation and aren’t able to get through everything.
Strategy Days – Strategy days are a great opportunity to spend quality time with a core analyst for your program. While they require more prep and lead time than other interaction types, these can be a great way to really dig into your company’s offerings.
Spotlight Tip: The key to planning a successful strategy day is to prepare well in advance. Once your date is locked in and confirmed with the analyst firm, you’ll want to identify key business stakeholders, as well as the topics that will be discussed during the time together. Getting extended 1:1 time with an analyst outside of a normal briefing or inquiry is extremely valuable in ensuring that your company is staying competitive in the market, meeting the needs of buyers, and ultimately trending in a positive direction.
The tips above will serve as a foundational starting point for anyone who is new to the world of AR and those needing a refresher. If you’re looking for a comprehensive read with the building blocks of any successful AR program, please check out Robin’s book. For more Spotlight blogs, head on over to The Spotlight Way.