Four Key Steps To Successfully Manage A Complex AR Program

by Laura Blaydon

September 9, 2021

Four Key Steps To Successfully Manage A Complex AR Program

One of the recurring themes we hear from AR pros and novices alike is that there’s never enough time to do everything they’d like to do. In many cases, AR professionals have other job responsibilities and are forced to prioritize AR activities that they expect will have the greatest positive business impact. 

This prioritization process can be particularly challenging at large, complex organizations that have many different product lines and services offerings. We thought it might be helpful to share a few ways that we’ve been able to work with our clients to set an AR strategy and prioritize activities that align to their most important goals. 

Step 1: Align on AR Program Objectives and Desired Outcomes

Often AR objectives are not clearly defined, haven’t been socialized within the organization, or are put on a shelf and not used to inform program activities. Documenting goals and metrics for the program is the best way to set expectations for the types of outcomes the organization can expect. (For more on defining program objectives and metrics, check out the Spotlight Webinar where we talk more about insights-driven metrics)

Step 2: Define Key Initiatives 

Spotlight clients define key program initiatives, often based around core capabilities and growth areas, that map to their overall program goals. Examples include launching a net-new offering, building analyst and prospect understanding of the strategy and roadmap, or helping to define an opportunity in the market. It’s common for a company to have 3-5 key AR program initiatives, each of which is supported by a specific set of tactics. 

Step 3: Determine Engagement Priorities 

Once key AR program initiatives have been laid out, the team can examine all the factors that inform prioritization of AR activities, including: 

  • Research maturity and relevance – Is/are the category/categories we need to target (such as customer experience or AI platforms) highly mature or emerging? What is the volume of research being written on specific topics in key categories, and how well does the research align with the needs of current and future customers? 
  • Importance to the business – Which initiatives are expected to have the biggest business impact, based on growth projections/market trends and current buying patterns? 
  • Maturity of the offering – We often work with clients who are extremely excited to share new offerings with analysts, even ahead of a formal launch. This is a great idea as analysts can provide helpful feedback to guide a rollout and positioning. At the same time, the need for this input should be balanced with the understanding that the analyst will need more evidence of the solution’s success as it matures and is road-tested with clients. So, the prioritization process must balance the timing for getting input and generating awareness, based on solution maturity. 
  • Availability of key stakeholders – One of the greatest challenges can be balancing the desire to manage a high volume of AR activity with limited bandwidth among key internal subject matter experts (SMEs). Keeping in close communication with SMEs and prioritizing activities around their availability is key to successfully execute on the priorities you’ve defined. 

Step 4: Execute and Evolve 

It’s important to note that prioritization factors are constantly changing, so we recommend reevaluation of engagement plans and priorities on a quarterly basis, or even more frequently, if possible. Companies that convene regular meetings with key stakeholders to review priorities and progress against goals are much more likely to have a fruitful and productive AR program for the long haul. 

While life isn’t slowing down for anyone, taking the time to identify and focus on your highest-priority AR activities will pay dividends. For more details on how you can ensure your AR program is aligned to the needs of a complex and ever-changing organization, contact us or check out additional Spotlight resources