Overcoming objections to "the AR game"

by Christina Neill

October 29, 2019


A reality of working in analyst relations is that you often have to justify the effort, expense, and importance of the channel to different people at different times throughout your tenure. This challenge is unique to our industry – not everyone else is faced with persistent questioning of the value of our work.

While it’s easy for those of us who build relationships with analysts day in and day out to understand how their recommendations can improve our business – and how their influence can help generate sales – those farther removed from the inner workings of AR are often skeptical. Analyst firm subscriptions are a serious investment, as is the AR staff needed to execute on the subscription offerings. Not to mention we’re dependent on the time from those beyond AR’s walls – product team members and leadership are often involved in our initiatives. And as we all know, making strides with analysts takes time – building advocates does not happen overnight.

When questions arise

Given the significant investments of money, time, and personnel into AR, it’s normal that leadership and stakeholders may question its value. But, if doubt and skepticism exist, we won’t be able to make the necessary momentum to reach our AR objectives and goals. When we first start working with clients, we hear objections to the AR game from many in the room. However, over time we’ve developed responses and perspectives to share with the skeptics to help keep our AR programs on track and supported. 

Here are a few common objections we hear and our typical responses:

They say, “AR is just pay-to-play”

We say, “Yes, analyst firm subscriptions are an investment. But, no amount of money will buy you a position in the top right of the quadrant. It’s just not possible. However, when you invest in the subscription you can rent some analyst time and expertise – time that can be spent learning from and educating the analyst about your company. So really, it’s pay-for-time and access.”

They say, “The analysts just don’t get it!”

We say, “Maybe they don’t get it just yet, but if we want to transform our industry we have the responsibility of telling everyone. If we want the market to see that we’re disruptive and going to change things for the better, we have to show the influential analysts, too.”

They say, “The analysts only care about the big guys.”

We say, “Actually, the analysts are looking for the next vendor with a specific solution. Our prospects are asking about the big guys because that’s who they know. Analysts want to know about everyone, so they can understand the market fully. Then when our prospects ask about vendors, analysts can recommend the right solution for their company, not the most popular one.”

Have answers at the ready

We’ve found having these few responses in our back pocket helps us keep conversations about AR’s importance and progress going when we are confronted by someone who isn’t fully bought-in. While we strive to show momentum to avoid these confrontations, it’s realistic to assume that at some point you’ll be faced with a doubter. 

In our webinar on overcoming objections in AR, we present a framework of how you can answer other types of objections that arise, so you can drive conversations back to the value and impact AR can have on your business. Or, take a look at our analyst relations platform Spotlight Oz – our tool for showing progress and business impact in the AR programs we run.