SageCircle stresses the need for good strategic planning. Creating the right objectives is perhaps the most significant aspect to advancing the AR program within your company. AR objectives must exhibit two qualities:
- Direct alignment with overall company goals
When establishing goals and objectives for the AR program, top-performing teams first focus on determining whether a candidate objective directly aligns with a corporate initiative. For example, many AR programs initially suggest a goal similar to, “Get our executives more involved with the analysts.” But this goal has no explicit business value. Why does the program want to increase the visibility of the executives? In most cases when you review this objective the discussion leads to the understanding that analysts find meetings with executives more memorable and valuable, and messages from executives are considered more reliable. Having executives meet with the analysts increases the company’s top-of-mind with the analysts, which is one factor that affects analyst recommendations. The AR goal becomes, “Establish top-of-mind with key analysts covering the xyz market to promote inclusion on short lists”. Executive meetings are recognized as one tactic for achieving this goal.
The second hurdle for program objectives is measurability. To assess this criterion, effective AR teams attempt to define preliminary metrics that could be used to measure performance against the proposed objective. If two or three metrics can be identified, then the objective is measurable. If not, the objective needs to be reshaped. For example, programs frequently consider an objective like, “Build good relationships with key analysts.” But how is “good” qualified or measured. A better objective within the same theme might be, “Become part of the research network for our Tier 1 analysts” which can be measured directly through a Spoken Word Audit (see Online SageContentTM Library article “Metrics – Analyzing the Spoken Word Audit”) or indirectly by examining the mix of inbound/outbound contacts and the nature of the discussions.
- Review each AR objective to determine if it is really a tactic or activity masquerading as an objective
- Ensure that each AR objective has is measureable using practical techniques
Bottom Line: To create executives sponsorship, AR needs to focus on objectives that deliver a business outcome that can be demonstrated.
Question: Do you have a formal measurement program that ties back to AR objectives?