When talking to tech organisations of all sizes, even large ones, I often encounter uncertainty as to how to put in place a full-scale analyst relations (AR) programme. Not briefings, not meetings at trade shows or contributions to reports; a comprehensive, strategic programme with measurable outcomes that contribute to the bottom line.
There is no one-size fits all approach and every comms professional or AR practitioner needs to take into account the size of their business and the specifics of the market they operate in.
But from experience, a great AR programme is laid on foundations that span all sectors and sizes of organisations. If you put these building blocks in place from the start, you can then evolve the programme on solid foundations. I have grouped these into three areas:
1) Benchmark – start with an audit: Whilst you may be engaging with analysts on an ongoing basis, it is imperative to measure the impact of your activities to prove the value of AR. What better way to start this than with an audit (an in-depth survey) of key analysts (they are a friendly and helpful bunch!) on what they think about your organisation, your products, market performance, competitive advantage and the industry at large. Such insight will not only help shape your programme but also serve as a reference point when measuring the impact of your AR activities over a certain time period.
2) Prioritise: It’s unlikely that you will be able to engage with all analysts that cover topics relevant to your business due to time constraints. A well-researched analyst landscape, based on criteria such as key research reports and influence on the buying process, helps define the segments that you absolutely need to build a relationship with to achieve your strategic objectives.
3) Monitor, track, record: A point often overlooked is a robust tracking and analytic tool that keeps a detailed record of your engagements and analyses trends over time. AR is all about nurturing close relationships with (often) a relatively small group of people so having an easy-to-use tool that provides a 360° degree overview of all communication and engagement with an analyst enables a more personalised and tailored approach. We will not name any names, but ideally your platform should allow you to log all engagements and add notes, and serve as a searchable database with analytic capabilities.
Whilst this short ‘toolkit’ may seem basic, it is too often overlooked. If not properly implemented, it may in the long term prove to impede the success of an AR programme or at least reduce its full potential. You may argue that getting proper AR training for executives and securing executive buy-in is imperative too, but I believe these strategic cornerstones are more commonly at the forefront of AR professionals’ minds. More on that in the next blog post!