Defining “Analyst List Service Level Framework”

An analyst list service level framework defines the amount of resources that are available and the type and amount of each type that will be provided to any group of analysts as defined by ranking and tiering. For example, a service level framework will indicate which analysts receive one-on-one briefings from executives, get highest priority to getting their information requests handled, and are first contacted when major news breaks. Because service level frameworks reflect the amount of resources that the analyst relations (AR) team has available they must evolve as resources change.

Service level frameworks typically align with the tiers (e.g., Tier 1 and Tier 2) established by the analyst list management process.

Defining “Tiering an Analyst List”

Tiering is a process for segmenting an analyst list so that analyst relations (AR) can prioritize its activities. The most common labels are based on numbers (e.g., Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3).  Tiering starts with a ranked list of analysts and then draws lines between analysts to create groups. Tiering is based on AR resources (e.g., AR headcount, executive bandwidth for briefings, budget, et cetera). The fewer the resources the smaller the number of analysts that can be included in the Tier 1 group. 

Tiering is one step in analyst list management and follows ranking and is used to provide structure to the service level framework.

Defining “Ranking an Analyst List”

Ranking is a process for ordering a list of analysts based on formal weighted criteria. The criteria can include points such as research coverage, visibility (e.g., publications, press quotes, social media, speeches, etc), firm affiliation, geography, risk, and others. Criteria and weights are driven by the objectives of the vendor at both the business unit and analyst relations level. Criteria and weights should evolve over time as objectives change. 

While firm affiliation is an important data point, it is not the primary driver for analyst lists. Ranking should focus on individual analysts and not automatically give top placement for analysts employed by the largest analyst firms.

Ranking is one step in analyst list management and precedes tiering.

Defining “Analyst List Management”

Analyst list management is a process for identifying, ranking in priority order, and tiering into segments the analyst community. The purpose is to provide analyst relations with a tool for establishing analyst relevance and analyst relations (AR) team priorities.

Defining “executive sponsorship”

n: Executive sponsorship is a formal program where executives take an active part in establishing AR goals and priorities, providing the resources necessary to achieving the agreed upon goals, explicitly communicating the importance of AR to the company, providing timely support when an internal organizational hurdle prevents the achievement of goals and making themselves available as spokespeople with analysts.

The key theme is active participation.

Defining “Spoken Word Audit”

n:  A technique to determine what opinions analysts are giving verbally to their clients and if those verbal opinions differ from published opinions. Spoken Word Audits are considered a critical activity because advisory analysts like Gartner influence in-progress sales opportunities significantly via phone-based inquiries with enterprise clients, typically IT managers. 

Spoken Word Audits consist of talking with analysts and posing a set of specific scenarios in order to gauge how well the analyst understands the vendor’s positioning and messaging based on the analysts’ answers. The scenarios should be very specific and incorporate elements that measure the various aspects of the vendor’s message, strategy and tactics. Spoken Word Audits are conducted periodically with the same analysts and similar scenarios in order to measure how analysts’ opinions are being changed by AR activities.

Defining “Analyst Editorial Calendar”

n:  A calendar listing anticipated analyst research report publication dates. Because few analyst firms do publish formal editorial calendars, comprehensive Analyst Editorial Calendars have to be built by the core AR team. A variety of intelligence sources are used to gather information for the calendar.  These include holding formal and information conversations with analysts by the extended AR team, asking questions during scheduled interactions, analyzing past research publications, and anticipating work for upcoming conferences. The Analyst Editorial Calendar feeds into Continue reading

Defining “Extended analyst relations (AR) team”

n:  The group of individuals at a technology provider who do not have AR as part of their job responsibilities, but whose efforts within their proscribed areas of responsibility can be leveraged by the Core AR Team to accomplish AR objectives.  Examples of individuals who may be recruited as members of the Extended AR Team include:  a) executives, product managers, and others who perform as spokespeople during analyst meetings, or public forums where analysts might be present, b) marketing or competitive intelligence personnel who monitor media and analyst research publications, c) HR or sales team trainers who incorporate AR topics into their training agendas, d) HR or sales team personnel who publish internal company newsletters and other communications, and d) intranet or extranet maintenance personnel, especially those who maintain the sales or analyst portals.

Defining “Core analyst relations (AR) team”

n:  the group of individuals at a technology provider whose specific job responsibilities include, at least in part, working with and through industry analysts to shape market perception for generating leads, responding rapidly to mitigate risk, and arming sales to close business. The core AR team may include dedicated AR practitioners or individuals such as PR professionals or product managers who have AR as a part of their charter.

Defining “AR Strategic and Tactical Plan”

Bottom Line:  AR organizations need to plan their programs and resources to achieve most effectively their AR goals. An AR Strategic and Tactical plan should be a detailed roadmap that aligns programs and activities with corporate and business unit objectives, AR goals and the strategic initiative of driving sales. 

AR Strategic and Tactical Plan:

n:  A scheme or method developed to ensure that the AR team is systematically delivering business value to the company for the time period specified. The AR plan requires both a near-term tactical focus as well as a long-term strategic vision. The AR Strategic and Tactical Plan is a document that begins with a statement of AR goals and then provides comprehensive detail for executing AR activities such that all AR resources and Continue reading

Defining “Operational Metrics for Analyst Relations”

Background:  When building AR measurement programs, AR practitioners must distinguish between performance and operational metrics.  Performance metrics help AR teams measure progress against strategic goals while operational metrics measure utilization and productivity against plan.   

Operational metrics measure AR’s utilization and productivity against plan.  They primarily are internally focused and fall into one of three categories: 1) utilization and Continue reading

Defining “Performance Metrics for Analyst Relations”

Background:  When building AR measurement programs, AR practitioners must distinguish between performance and operational metrics.    Performance metrics help AR teams measure progress against strategic goals while operational metrics measure utilization and productivity against plan.   

Performance metrics measure AR’s progress against strategic results.  They primarily are externally focused and typically fall into one of three categories: 1) Shape Continue reading

Defining “analyst consulting day”

Analyst consulting days are full-day engagements where a vendor spends a significant sum to get the use of one or more analysts. Analyst consulting days are not to be confused with projects by the analyst firms’ consulting groups, which often have little or no analyst contribution. There is a distinction between contracting for “analyst consulting time” and contracting with the consulting side of an analyst firm. “Analyst consulting time” refers to purchasing the time of an individual analyst, usually in one-day units. Contracting with the consulting side of an analyst firm usually refers to research projects with specific deliverables that are designed to meet the intelligence, strategy or marketing needs of a vendor company. Multi-client studies are common deliverables from the consulting side.

Gartner uses the term SAS (strategic advisory service) to describe analyst consulting days. While other firms use Continue reading

Defining “Analyst Relations”

When you meet someone new in a social setting the topic often turns to “so where do you work? What do you do?”  Do you struggle with explaining Analyst Relations?

Many AR programs cannot give an “elevator pitch” on AR. You should have this available for not only those social settings, but also to explain your expertise to others in your company.  Here is a quick definition of AR that can be used when explaining what AR does:

“Analyst Relations takes advantage of the unique influence that the IT industry analysts have with our prospects and customers to help drive revenues. Analyst Relations works to influence analyst opinions regarding our company and our products to increase positive coverage in analyst research publications and analyst media quotes. Through briefings, inquiries, newsletters, AR portals, analyst firm events, and other tactics, we work to constantly maintain top-of-mind status with key analysts, so our company and products are frequently recommended by the analyst community.

As a corollary charter, Analyst Relations works with Continue reading

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