Introducing yourself to an analyst for the first time [Startup Saturday]

rocket-for-startups.jpgStartups are often in the position of introducing themselves to industry analysts as they start or expand their AR outreach. In addition to the initial outreach, startups find themselves introducing themselves to new analysts because the analyst landscape is very dynamic.  Analysts change firms, but more importantly change coverages and areas of research.  This means that your analyst lists need to be updated regularly and there is a significant chance you will need to interact with new analysts at some point.  Startups lack the name recognition that larger communications and IT vendors can leverage, but the process of meeting new analysts applies to all vendors.

How you handle meeting new analysts is somewhat dependent on the level of experience of the analyst as well as your product or services maturity.  Novice analysts are far more likely to accept meetings even if not directly tied to their primary research, while a seasoned analyst will tend to avoid distractions. 

Know the analyst

Key to the first meeting is in your fully understanding the analyst.  This means researching who they are, what they cover, what research they have done in the past and how they have been quoted.  This can all be obtained from the firm website, web searches, and by asking the firm directly if you have a contract.  Watch the dates of everything and try to compile a current assessment of their recent past.  How does your product or service apply to their area(s) of past research.  Do you have anything new to add to their understanding?  Why would they want to talk to you?

A more useful but more difficult search is to determine what the analyst is currently researching.  Some firms like Forrester will provide editorial and research plans.  Perhaps they will be creating or updating signature research like a Magic Quadrant.  Does any past research appear to be a “part one” report?  Also look to possible events where they will be speaking, and will need preparation.  Again, what do you have to offer that would spark their interest?

Check the social media to see if the analyst has a blog, Facebook, Twitter, or simple web page.  Any of these could provide insight into their market perceptions.

Make the first meeting interesting

Now that you know the analyst’s interests create an agenda for yourself that includes information that they will find interesting, exciting, and relevant to their work.  Keep the content simple and to the point.  You want this first meeting to be a dialog and to engage them into conversation.  Your goal should be less about giving them information and more about stimulating their interest in your topic.  If the first meeting goes well you will be invited back to the party.  If you are boring your future requests will be ignored. 

Be sure you have clear messages in your dialog.  It is better to point analysts to background information on your website, or to offer to send it later, than to attempt to overwhelm them with details.  Your measure of success is if they can repeat back your three key messages regardless of the detail.  Record any requests for information on their part.

Leave them wanting more

You can always request another meeting.  You will know you have a good start with the new analyst when they request information from you.  When you send your thank you (you are going to do that, right?) it should contain a quick summary of the key points, links to more information, and a “hook”.  Your bait might be a customer success, case study, demonstration, evaluation, white paper, or something else that can whet their appetite.  The goal is to keep the dialog open and stimulate future interactions.

By the way

You might also notice that all the suggestions above can pertain to your current analyst relationships.  Are you maintaining them?

SageCircle Technique:

  • Research the analyst to understand their past and current research
  • Work through the firm’s established channels to schedule your interaction
  • Keep the first interaction simple and very relevant to their research
  • Provide a hook that will bring them back for more information

Question:  AR Teams – How often do you meet new analysts?  How do you track your interactions?  Analysts – What are the most common mistakes made when people meet you for the first time?

Are you getting the most from your analyst interactions?  SageCircle can help

  • Conduct executive briefings on the impact of the analysts
  • Provide specific spokesperson training tuned to analyst relations

Visit http://www.sagecircle.com/ and click on Executive Briefings 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.

Don’t forget that SageCircle has an AR Effectiveness Seminar on May 5 & 6 in Cupertiino, CA.  Details on the website at http://www.sagecircle.com/

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