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4 ways to make your analyst relations strategy drive value in 2023.

Technology buyers will need to navigate the digital paradox in 2023: accelerate digitalisation under greater cost pressures. Despite all the doom and gloom, tech spending will remain strong, with Gartner’s 2Q22 forecasting enterprise technology spend to accelerate from 5.9% in 2022 to 6.3% in 2023 as companies will use digital technology to realise operational efficiency and cost gains. However, with software prices set to rise, these purchasing decisions will not be made lightly.

Buyers will turn to industry analysts as they need help to scrutinise their technology investments. During the 2008 recession and the pandemic, analyst firms reported strong financial results and inquiries with analysts have skyrocketed as decision makers called to rationalise their technology portfolio and arbitrage their investments or adapt to supply chain issues and remote work. We’re hearing much the same now with analysts telling us buyers are calling as they’re in the middle of their 2023 planning.

Why? Analysts act as a lighthouse in a storm for organisations facing economic uncertainty. They are not just top advisors, both for buyers and investors, but are thought leaders producing research consistently stated as the most credible –for instance Foundry’s latest report cites industry analyst research as a top content type buyers rely upon at every stage of the purchase process. 

A screenshot from Foundry's Customer Engagement EMEA Study results. It outlines 8 stages of the technology buying cycle and shows that analyst research is a relied upon content type at every stage.
Source: Foundry Customer Engagement EMEA Study 2021

For 2023, technology vendors and service providers should double up on the most impactful audience with analyst relations; focus on insights and influence. Whilst buyers will turn to industry analysts more than ever to justify their spend and rationalise IT suites, vendors and service providers will also need to tune in to adapt to changing needs of your customer base. Below are four priority areas for analyst relations in 2023.

1. Ensure analysts feel comfortable positioning and recommending your solutions.

Analyst firms attract quality technology buyers –Forrester’s clients include 31% of the Fortune 100% and Gartner’s include 73% of the Global 500. A CEO may have an inquiry with a Forrester analyst while their CTO attends an IDC event and their CSO reads KuppingerCole’s research. Without a multi-firm AR team to get analysts on your side, you could face harsh conditions as analysts recommend competitors and cheaper alternatives due to a lack of understanding of your value proposition. 

2. Drive conversations in the market through analysts.

Analysts are a small set of influencers but drive awareness in the market – even with non-clients. Informa Group hosts over 200 events each year and often have their Omdia analyst partners as spokespeople, these analysts reach a huge audience, beyond that of their paid subscriber base. IDC reports that they’ve been cited over 110,000 times by media outlets in the past 5 years. Others have media partnerships, like CCS Insight and Foundry, where they influence large media readerships and drive the news agenda. HFS have curated a LinkedIn community of over 27,000 tech industry individuals and use this to distribute their thought leadership and research. Vendors can leverage this influence by getting the right influencers on your side to increase your chance of a mention in their public appearances and private meetings.

3. Accelerate your GTM efforts with trusted third-parties

Leverage analyst-approved content to boost your credibility in a saturated and growing market. We’ve seen conversions increasing by up to 60% after adding analyst content on a landing page. Purchase analyst report reprints, like Gartner Magic Quadrants or IDC case studies, to gate and use as a lead generation engine, ramp-up your webinar audience with an analyst guest-speaker or commission an ROI report such as a Forrester TEI to drive traffic.

4. Anticipate changes by listening to analyst insights. 

With buyers getting more volatile, it’s critical for technology providers to constantly evolve their offerings and adapt their messaging to market wants. Analysts excel at gleaning weak signals from 100,000s of tech-buyer conversations and are great sounding boards to ensure perfect market fit aligned to the current economic landscape. Use analyst inquiries and read their latest research to find out which products tech buyers are interested in, what capabilities will secure a deal and how to make your product stand out from the crowd.

Bottom line: analysts are your insurance policy for your product strategy.

Our advice: ignore industry analysts at your peril! As trusted advisors to tech buyers and vendors, analysts always have their finger on the market pulse. Without them on your side, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to penetrate potential tech buyers who may not have considered you otherwise. Furthermore, the chance to tap into market feedback on your product and business at scale is invaluable. 

Analyst relations delivers on four key business impacts –awareness, insights, GTM and sales at a much lower cost than PR, which generally focuses on awareness and GTM. 

Analyst relations is a marathon, not a sprint. Building trust and effective relationships takes time but delivers long-term results on a slow-burner. You will rarely see results straight away and may hit speed bumps as you discover your product and positioning need work to impress these experts. However, with sustained interaction and quality analyst engagements, you can build an entire ecosystem of analysts to help you weather any storm. 

As with many relationships, an analyst relations strategy calls for a long-term commitment. The first AR campaign usually gets good results but is just an initial investment. The real value arrives when analysts start making inbound inquiries, which is a sign they’re not only interested but also comfortable bringing a vendor’s offerings into conversations. Make sure you plan and build an engagement cadence which you can sustain in the long-term –if not you’ll risk falling short of expectations and analysts may conclude the vendor is in trouble.

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