How to Navigate Through the Analyst Relationship Maturity Model

by Jonathan Glass

March 14, 2022

How to Navigate Through the Analyst Relationship Maturity Model

What is the Analyst Relationship Maturity Model

Whether you are brand new to AR and are looking to move up from the stranger category to friendly/advocate or maybe you have an analyst that has said critical comments and you’re looking to get out of the detractor category, this blog post will explain how to navigate the complexities of the AR Maturity Model.

Spotlight uses the analyst relationship maturity model to gauge and track the progress of the relationship with each analyst that the client interacts with. This is crucial in helping to align on priorities, identify any red flags, and continually know where you stand in your AR program. We define the maturity model into five different categories.

  • Advocate – The analyst sees the value you deliver and is an active, positive promoter of your product/services
  • Friendly – The analyst sees the value of your product or services and has rendered positive commentary
  • Acquaintance – The analyst is aware of your product/services, but has not rendered positive commentary
  • Stranger – The analyst is unaware of product or service offerings
  • Detractor – The analyst is skeptical, sees gaps, or perceives lack of value and/or lack of differentiation

Brand New to AR?

Are you brand new to AR and just kicking off your program? Odds are for the majority of your core analysts you will be in the Stranger or Acquaintance category. The analysts will either be unaware of who you are and what you do or they might have awareness but not have enough information to make any type of judgment on your product/service. The goal of this stage is to inform the analyst of what you do and what are your differentiators. This is often best done through an introductory briefing where you take the analyst through something like the outline below.

  • Company Overview
  • Products/service overview
  • Ideal customer profile
  • Perceived competitors and differentiators
  • Specific case studies

Doing an introductory briefing is a great starting point especially to move from Stranger to Acquaintance but moving to Advocate is something that will not occur overnight. It takes consistency and the ability to continually show growth and progress to the analysts. This progress can take years sometimes to get into the Advocate category. Once you are past the stranger phase below are tips you should be continually executing in your AR strategy to move along the AR Maturity Model:

  • Topic-specific briefings: Once you are past the introductory stage find out what each analyst is specifically interested in learning more about your product/service
  • Demos: There is no better way to show off your product/service than a live demo
  • Updated Case Studies: Analysts love to hear about case studies where you provide a specific problem and show how you solved it and what the results were
  • Research Inquiries: Figure out what the analyst is researching and align priorities 
  • Participation in Research and Ranking Reports: This will force the analyst to study and learn more about you

Has an analyst been critical of your product/service?

Has an analyst been skeptical or questioned your offering before? Don’t panic, this happens often and is part of an analyst’s job to provide constructive criticism. The key to getting past this detractor stage is not to become argumentative or become critical of the analyst. Alternatively, you should be respectful and truly listen to the analyst. Is there a misunderstanding in your offering? Is there something that you have that you are not showing them? Have they talked to an unhappy customer in the past? There could be a multitude of reasons the analyst has made the comments. This stage in our model is about discovering the reasoning behind the comments and addressing those issues. Pay close attention to picking up on AR insights that can be used to combat any negative comments.  We offer a full webinar series dedicated to navigating and implementing an insights-driven approach to our program on our website. Over time through tackling the criticism head-on you can change the perception the analyst has and move into the friendly/advocate category.

  • Set up feedback inquiries 
  • Send case studies
  • Share business results – Growth, number of customers, acquisitions
  • Address the criticism through a demo 
  • Listen to the analyst – Sometimes they might see a red flag that is difficult to discover internally

Staying in the Friendly/Advocate Category

Do you feel like you are in a good position with the analyst? If so, great job in getting to this stage! Now the question becomes how do we stay in the friendly/advocate category. Oftentimes companies will get to this point in their AR program and then have very little interaction because they feel like it is unneeded. However, doing this will only lead to a loss of momentum and all of the traction you made with an analyst can easily be lost over the course of a year. At Spotlight, we recommend at least bi-annual update briefings with your core analysts in addition to more topic-specific briefings, research inquiries, case study updates, ranking report/research interactions. Ideally, you should shoot to have one interaction per quarter with your core analyst to maintain the relationship and keep them up to date on the latest and greatest. New competition is always popping up and we don’t want the analysts to lose sight of the great things you and your company are doing!

Getting Down To Brass Tacks

Using the analyst relationship maturity model is a fantastic tool to help track where you are with your core analysts and even set goals for where you want to be in the future. The model should be revisited on a quarterly basis to make adjustments to progress. If you want to see more resources on building out an AR plan to navigate through the model check out our blog.