Sure, a Gartner Magic Quadrant might look pretty on your website –but did you know that your business will reap benefits far beyond that? Many B2B technology business leaders only come across industry analysts when things are going well and your company has been positively mentioned in an analyst report such as the Gartner Cool Vendors. The other time is when things are not good and you hear that you have lost out on a deal because analysts are recommending your competitors. Analyst relations delivers bang for its buck, creating a positive impact across your company.
The Starsight analyst relations impact model outlines how AR touches your business across 4 key areas: insights, awareness, influence and go-to-market strategy.
1. Leverage insights from industry analysts throughout the product life cycle.
From inception to launch, starting with feature prioritisation all the way to message testing. The best insights from an analyst come when you engage early and often, maintain constant contact and consistent messaging. Even startups should be engaging with industry analysts.
Understand that analysts are industry experts. They have access to insurmountable data, for example Omdia tracks over 11,000 companies covering over 3000 areas. Armed with this database, they can function as sounding boards that offer insight to anticipate issues early and avoid making costly mistakes, enabling your business to maneuver around the competition. In addition, their market shares are excellent validation that you are operating in a growth market. This helps to de-risk your company and can be used to attract and convince investors.
2. Analysts do wonders to drive awareness in the marketplace.
They are the original thought leaders who make and shape categories –for instance ERP was coined by Gartner and Digital Transaction Management was established by Aragon Research. Analysts shape conversations in your ecosystem and they should be engaged with in a very specific way. Research published in their subscription services is only one of the ways analysts shift perceptions of the marketplace. Although AR is different from PR, analysts are quoted in up to 70% of trade press articles (Gartner reports that their analysts are quoted by leading business publications over 70 times per week). Analysts are also frequent conference speakers –the largest events can gather thousands of executives, many of them in the C-suite. All of this impacts public perception of your brand.
3. Analysts influence buyers directly throughout the entire purchase funnel.
You’ve probably heard this one before, but you may not be aware that whether you have an analyst & influencer relations (AR) programme in place or not, industry analysts speak to your clients. Gartner claims its analysts hold over 400k direct client interactions per year –on average, an analyst can take between 200 to 800 inquiries, typically 30 min web conferences, per year. These are key prospects, as Forrester’s clients include 31% of the Fortune 100.
It starts at the consideration stage when technical staff typically compile a long list of solutions to evaluate from published evaluative research such as the Gartner Magic Quadrant, the ISG Provider Lens, the KuppingerCole Leadership Compass and others. Analysts are present all the way, including inquiries with analysts to draw short lists up to the end when they rubber stamp the CIO’s final investment decision. A high vendor rating in an analyst report will boost customer perception of your brand and be used as third-party endorsement and social proof. This is where analyst relations can become sales-led and drive business. You’ll only get anecdotal evidence as this post from ARinsights mentions, but even then the ROI is clear.
Not to forget, peer review sites such as TrustRadius, G2 or Gartner Peer Insights where clients can rate and comment on products they use are increasingly consulted by buyers and procurement teams early in the buying cycle.
4. Go-to-market strategies benefit from analyst input by accelerating message development.
Analysts can put your offerings into market context, validate your product and increase footfall via a big industry name at events. Criteo found that using an analyst as a guest speaker, in this case Forrester’s Sucharita Kodali, provided an expert opinion and third-party validation of their product.
When commissioning an analyst white paper, you develop a call card for sales teams. Independent analysts can be invaluable there or you can opt for a more detailed Forrester’s Total Economic Impact to have a solid proofpoint to validate your product in market. Offering those valuable resource behind a sign-up wall can turn this investment into lead generation engine.
Analyst firms events are also masters at bringing people together –for instance Constellation Research Connected Enterprise, Gartner Symposium and summits, HfS Roundtables, KuppingerCole European Identity and Cloud Conference 2021 or, more confidential but very effective, IDC Summits.
There are many other ways to leverage analyst firms brands to augment your marketing tactics and give a boost to your sales –the key is to respect their independence as a third party and look for win-win arrangements.
The bottom line:
Ensure AR fires on all 4 cylinders to deliver benefits beyond coverage. Discuss your business and marketing goals and then transform them into an AR plan that taps into these 4 impact areas. Look beyond the obvious, industry analyst relations is much more than nice report mentions. And last but not least, treat your analyst firm sales team as a partner –they will help unlock business value for your company.
The Starsight analyst relations impact model is our spin on the seminal IIAR> Best Practice Paper: the AR compass.