Besides refocusing their priorities and activities during a recession, analyst relations (AR) professionals also need to think about what they are telling the analysts. Ordinarily briefings can cover any of a number of topics with even more numerous proof points to support their key messages. However, during a recession AR teams should be rethinking what they communicate to the analysts.
SageCircle research of how IT managers use industry analysts, reveals that helping them make the business case for a technology product or service purchase is high on their list of activities. This insight provides AR with the direction they should taking their briefings during a recession. Because enterprise executives become cautious during a recession, they demand a more detailed justification for technology purchases. By giving industry analysts customer success stories and hard return on investment (ROI) numbers, AR can provide the analysts with fodder that they can in turn give to IT managers that will help shorten the sales cycles.
While customer success stories have always been considered a high priority topic for vendors to provide analysts, because they are difficult to obtain they frequently get pushed to the back burner. During a recession AR needs to make finding and communicating customer success stories a much higher, if not the highest, priority. This becomes part of AR’s strategy of refocusing its priorities during a recession.
A critical success factor is to focus attention on examples of fast business results. Try to find examples where customers obtained some sort of payback in months instead of the massive paybacks that take years. What you are looking for are tidbits that will enable analysts to push their enterprise clients to get off the fence and make a purchase now instead of waiting.
- Build relationships with colleagues that have frequent contact with customers and prospects (e.g., sales, customer service, consulting and customer relations)
- Educate colleagues on the business value of sharing customer success stories with analysts
- Negotiate with colleagues the right to offer analysts exclusive use of case studies for a short amount of time – the analysts might use it as the basis of a research note
- Develop a set of standard templates for case studies (short, medium and long)
- Generate a special analyst list focused on those analysts that have the most direct interactions with your prospects and customers
- Use client inquiry to review draft customer case studies with top analysts – ostensibly to make the case studies better, but really to get early mindshare
Online SageContentTM Library clients can find best practices for creating killer customer studies, and downloads for questions to ask customers and process checklist by looking up “Using Case Studies With Analysts” in the Analyst Interactions section of the main index. Advisory clients can get the same information via inquiry. If you are not a client, you can get the eight-page SageNoteTM AR43 “Make it Real: Case Studies” as a thank-you for participating in an Analyst Relations DiagnosticTM.
Bottom Line: Customer success stories are more important than even in a recession. AR teams need to make finding examples of customer success and quick ROI a high priority.
Question: How are you working and spending differently in this recession?
SageCircle has published or will be publishing a series of posts addressing a variety of recession-oriented topics
How AR needs to work differently in a recession:
- AR & recession – It’s about refocusing priorities and activities (overview)
- AR & recession – briefings need to focus on customers and fast business results
- AR & recession – arming Sales more critical in a recession
- AR & recession – telling stories of AR delivering business value to the company
- AR & recession – refocusing metrics to emphasize outcomes not activities
- AR & recession – revisiting analyst lists and service level agreements
How AR needs to spend differently in a recession:
- Why it is a really bad idea to cut AR, even in a recession
- Budgeting cutting can help AR focus and innovate
- Budget cutting part two – Alternate solutions for analyst contracts
- Notes on managing your budget in a recession – SageCircle’s Coffee Talk notes
- AR & recession spending – re-considering analyst contract priorities
- AR & recession spending – determining what out-tasked activities to bring in-house, if any
Purchasing analyst services best practices are more critical in a recession:
- Using five rights to avoid a wrong when it comes to purchasing Gartner or Forrester services
- Right reasons – Evaluate why you are purchasing analyst services
- Right services – Align the services you buy to better match the reason for info or advice
- Right firms – Search out alternative services providers that better match your reasons
- Right price – Acquire those services that meet your basics requirements
- Right usage – Drive usage of the services you buy to ensure maximize business value