Capitalising on the growing influence of analysts

Our final session at the Analyst Relations Forum boardroom in San Francisco explored 'the next stage of AR transformation.' There was a strong consensus amongst participants that AR finds itself in an excellent position to grow and evolve over the coming years as analyst influence on technology buyers continues to increase. CCgroup Catalyst Reports demonstrate this influence is powerful at the critical stages of long- and shortlisting, where technology buyers rely on analysts for impartial counsel to help them understand the best solution for their particular situation. 

So how can AR professionals capitalise on this opportunity? 

Four areas, in particular, got our participants enthusiastic about how AR programmes can evolve to deliver more value: growing the value proposition, expanding the function, working back from the customer and developing 'digital' approaches. 

Growing the value proposition 

Analyst relations professionals should find ways to collaborate more effectively with internal leaders. Analysts can add value to your business in many ways when utilised effectively, from providing market and technology insights that support product development to joint research projects that deliver MQLs for marketing and sales. Analyst relations leaders should build capacity in the business to capitalise on the value added from working with analyst firms and put themselves and their teams at the centre of project delivery. 

If AR teams can find ways to collaborate more effectively with the broader business and work on more diverse projects, it only grows the value of the function. 

***Smart hiring can help accelerate this process. Analyst relations programmes can bring new skills into the team with savvy recruitment – having someone with marketing skills will likely make it easier to build relationships with your marketing team.*** [I'm thinking of removing this section?] 

Expanding the function 

As technology buying journeys become more complex and spheres of influence evolve across various channels, analyst relations can play an essential role. The function can expand to own an increasing number of influencer groups, including sourcing advisors, futurists and evangelists. Analyst relations professionals play a vital strategic and thought-leadership role that can inform relationships with these emerging influencer groups. These groups share many of the information needs of the analyst community, so AR teams are in an excellent position to own these relationships. 

Analyst relations leaders should map the different spheres of influence on their buyers to understand which stakeholder relationships they should own. 

Working back from the customer 

Analyst relations programmes often direct all their efforts towards Gartner and Forrester, especially when resources are tight. Of course, engaging Gartner and Forrester should usually be a central goal for any programme, but different markets and technologies have different influencer dynamics. For some emergent markets, where the technologies are fresher, and firms are smaller and more agile, working with boutique firms that are more ingrained in the technology may be the best approach. Larger enterprises often adopt these technologies slower, so Gartner and Forrester may be less aware of their potential, given their customer base.  

Analyst relations professionals should work back from the customer, understanding their needs and who is influencing their market when designing programmes. 

Developing 'digital' approaches 

Our participants acknowledged they had been increasingly using 'digital' approaches in their programmes to develop new processes and deliver efficiencies. Content marketing approaches, including webinars, newsletters, and content portals, were particularly prevalent. These techniques enable AR programmes to extend their reach, develop new measurements to demonstrate awareness, and build intelligence on how engaged your target analysts are with marketing outputs. 

Developing your team's content marketing and CRM skills can help move the needle with the analyst community. 

Next up 

Our next AR Forum event will be a boardroom hosted in London on 20th April, where data and measurement will be high on the agenda. If you'd be interested in attending, drop us an email at chris.sedgwick@ccgrouppr.com. We look forward to seeing you there. 

 

 

 

 

Picture of Chris Sedgwick​

Written by Chris Sedgwick​

Chris is an Analyst Relations Director who brought deep expertise in content marketing to CCgroup when he joined as Deputy Head of Analyst Relations in 2021. Since 2012, he’s worked in research-driven roles that aim to better understand the needs of opinion leaders and engage them through a full spectrum of in-person interactions and digital content. Prior to CCgroup, he was Head of Content at Total Telecom. Chris has a deep interest in how long-term economic and social trends are formed and changed. He has developed thought-leadership based campaigns for a wide range of clients, including Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Verizon, Vodafone, Salesforce, Capita, InterDigital, Nokia, and ZTE. Chris graduated with honours from the London School of Economics, and holds an MA with distinction from King’s College London.

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