‘How many deals can you help us win?’
‘We have already invested in all the marquee analyst firms, when do we start seeing tangible returns?’
‘Can you ask which Fortune 500 firms are being advised?’
These are possibly some of the predominantly asked statements directed to AR professionals by C level (and sometimes the non C level executives). The very fact that these queries are asked, reflects how powerful an audience AR execs deal with every day. And conversely, the subtle fact indicates how little Leadership teams realize the way one collaborates with Analysts.
The beauty is – not just multi-million dollar deal wins, but AR also makes a huge positive impact to the Brand equity of a firm. It’s imperative for AR teams to articulate this repeatedly with their leadership, as well as provide them tangible insights on how this role through various platforms is one of the most powerful constituents of Sales and Marketing, equivalently.
Every business service is set up with clear and explicit objective of creating revenues. Evidently, all efforts undertaken for such initiatives have to ensure there is a return in the short or long term. Similarly, various facets of marketing in technology bring about enormous amount of exposure which are tangible, as well as drive home the point on effectiveness of the brand, and why a customer should choose a service provider.
The challenge very often is, several initiatives do not bring you a quick fix result. The gestation period runs into quarters, years as well. Engaging with Analysts is an effort which goes beyond the text book definition of establishing and strengthening relationships. Every touch point needs to be thought through, and not just as an activity where you tick the check boxes.
Doing X number of Briefings, Inquiries and the all-time popular term ‘face to face meets’ have been the de facto way of justifying to the bosses that this is how it’s to be done. Ironically, several leaders also believe buying subscriptions is a straight shot to ensuring a seat on the front row in various reports.
Faring in the marquees
The acknowledged truth of how one performs in major research reports is the pivot to drive several of the firm’s efforts. Garnering the resources, and being inclusive in the approach enables significantly for all key leaders to arrange the necessary set of material and importantly the enthusiasm to sustain. This goes much beyond the pipeline – it has the ripple effect by reaching not just buyers, but also peers, media, industry observers who now play a huge and significant role from hereon.
Clearly, AR professionals have to pretty much organize and manage this as a movement!
Agreed that one of the most critical benchmarks is evaluating how strongly efforts have resulted in building a pipeline, and subsequently a win. Once the direction of getting the messaging is in place, buyers don’t hesitate to have you included in their shortlist – and similarly analysts too would prefer to include you in the short list.
Strengthen the pipe, don’t just build
Several myopic approaches are undertaken with the single objective to ‘pamper’ several analysts, without spending an equivalent amount of time on quality of conversations. Various mid-level managers get excited (and rightly so) with the fact of getting an opportunity to engage with this audience. This excitement can at times get delirious too!
Funnily, several leaders know when to and when not to engage with a customer. How to position, what should be the posture, who should lead the discussion, who should address critical queries and so on are set in place before meeting customers. But, somehow miss the point that an Analyst too is a customer. Fortunately, several firms do acknowledge and appreciate the methods to be undertaken and prepare more than adequately before planning a critical engagement. Some make mistakes, assuming a phone conversation does not require significant prep which boomerangs over the course of time. Understanding the trends in the industry, narrating what customers are looking for, how they are acknowledging their limitations – and then how the service provider steps in to hand hold, guide and helps them to choose the right fit of platforms, technologies, partnerships to grow – help get across the message to the analysts.
How to work with the Ecosystem
Ensuring the buy-in effectively percolates from the top remains critical. Once the Leadership determines how and what are the parameters that play a significant role in strengthening the relationship, the easier AR professionals find to navigate and have a relevant audience. Some of the leaders bring in such an enormous equity in a discussion, especially those aligned to key verticals the discussions result into an exciting outcome of potentially a research paper or simply an introduction to a buyer. All investments be it money or time give you dividends only because the efforts has been thought through.
With myriad platforms that now demanding attention across twitter/LinkedIn, many buyers too look for insights that can help them quickly adapt to their needs. Not just platforms, but also the ability to deliver to the end customer successfully and seamlessly. Imagine, such a huge rigmarole gets eliminated by plainly sharing your views and getting across the message directly.
One team or one AR member can move a mountain, however to sustain at a steady pace requires consistent support across all levels and in chorus, to get the desired results!