Definition and basic characteristics – The ROI of Analyst Relationship Management Systems (part one)

icon-tools.jpgThis is the first in a series of posts that will explore the resources required and the advantages gained in using a formal analyst relationship management (ARM) system.  In this post we will look at the characteristics of a good system.  In future posts we will review some of the commercially available products, suggest some best practices in using a system, and look at the values that can be obtained.  Your comments are encouraged. 

What is an ARM?

Sales and service organizations have long used customer relationship management (CRM) systems to provide customer service, track and promote sales, and maintain general customer records.  These can range across home-grown in-house systems, commercially-available software run by IT, and hosted solutions provided by outside firms.  The value of these systems is well documented.  Public Relations departments often track their work in PR-specific systems that fit into the same three categories.  Analyst Relations teams need to look to systems as well, but it is important to have a system tuned to their specific needs.
Basic Characteristics

As with the CRM system the key element is a database that contains and maintains information on the customer – in this case the analysts.  Basic contact and biographical information can be augmented by including photos, tracking research areas, listing research reports, documenting events, and even capturing press quotes.  Your key analyst lists should not be large, but adding in tier two and three analysts will expand the database.  Because the analyst landscape is dynamic you may also need ongoing research on other analysts to potentially consider.  Obtaining and maintaining this information can be time consuming for in-house systems and is often part of the value of commercially available products.

The next ingredient is a process to track all analyst interactions.  Allowing you to append information to the analyst database creates a system of data entry that can capture all forms of contact, including such things as briefings, inquiries, email threads, and social interactions.  Some systems further enhance this data by including attachments, meeting notes, and by recording analyst perception.  If this information is added in a timely manner it can promote team collaboration by allowing all team members to see activities for common analysts or to view planned future interactions which may have been entered.

Reporting options for any system should create formatted output of basic analyst information, past or upcoming interaction information, and potentially trends in analyst activity or perception.  These reports can assist both in planning and in documenting activities.  A well designed system can easily provide metrics for status reports in as granular a method as required by your executive sponsorship. 

What are the potential benefits?

We will explore the benefits in greater detail in a future post, but in summary the ARM allows you to quickly get current information on analysts, create an ongoing “corporate memory” of activities, and report on the AR activities for both planning and documenting success.

SageCircle Technique:

  • Access to current analyst data is critical for a world-class AR program, but can be time consuming
  • Tracking analyst interactions is a key element in maintaining a corporate memory
  • Sharing analyst information in a timely manner enables true team collaboration
  • AR teams need a formal system for obtaining success metrics

Question:  AR Teams -

  • Do you use a formal ARM?  If so, did you build it in house or obtain a commercial product?
  • How successful has been your implementation?
  • What have been the barriers to success (e.g., app skills, how to apply app to AR, “not enough time”)?

This post is part of a series about building the strong ARM (analyst relationship management applications) of AR.

  1. Definition and basic characteristics – The ROI of ARM (part one)
  2. Commercially available systems – The ROI of an ARM (part two)
  3. Getting value out requires putting effort in – The ROI of an ARM (part three)
  4. The value to team collaboration – The ROI of an ARM (part four)
  5. Metrics for success – The ROI of an ARM (part five)
  6. The overall ROI – The ROI of an ARM (part six)

Take your AR program to the next level?  SageCircle can help

  • Create a program of metrics to measure your success
  • Conduct executive briefings on the impact of the analysts
  • Provide specific spokesperson training tuned to analyst relations

Visit www.sagecircle.com to learn more about SageCircle’s services. Or, call 650-274-8309 to speak with a representative about how SageCircle can help you take your AR program to the next level.

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14 Responses

  1. This is timely.

    Part Two will be good — we had a saying in college … “You get out of it [anything in life] what you put into it”. To this point, one thing you should emphasize is that an ARM system needs management and AR manager commitment to work — across the board. Only having some participation by a portion of an AR team limits the effectiveness of the overall system.

    Also some practical thoughts or recommendations on effective incorporation of the ARM system into the AR manager’s workflow could also be helpful.

  2. Gerry,
    You are so right about the need for the entire team to commit to use of the ARM. We will discuss that in a future post. As I say there, a lot has to do with the management style. I personally believe that it is the role of the manager to set team objectives and hold team members to those objectives. Allowing AR staff to not participate in any “team” function does not appear to be good management. That said, we will consider adding another part to the post series to go deeper into implementation issues. Thanks for the comment.

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