Train content developers to save time

“Geez, I wasted so much time just trying to fix this VP’s presentation I should have done it myself!” Alas, this is a common lament that SageCircle strategists hear when we are chatting with clients about how the preparation is going for a briefing, SAS day, and so on. The lament concerns that having someone on an executive’s staff prepare a presentation is not the time saver for analyst relations (AR) they had hoped. The time spent back and forth trying to get a presentation fixed often turns into a huge time sink for AR.

The answer is not for AR to give up and do all the presentations themselves. Rather, AR should invest a modest amount of time in developing templates for different types of presentations, examples, and also training for content developers. A little upfront training will save time on the immediate and future analyst interactions as content developers who “get” the analysts’ information needs will generate PowerPoint files that will require much less effort on AR’s part.

Content developer training should be part of an overall training plan (see this post), which should be part of your AR Strategic & Tactical Plan.

SageCircle Technique for Analyst Relations Teams:

  • Develop a short training plan for the extended team, which includes content developers
  • Generate presentation templates that lay out what slides and associated content are appropriate for Continue reading

Analysts can be excellent guest speakers at Sales training sessions

icon-dollar-euro.jpgAn interesting service that analyst relations can provide the company’s sales organization is arranging for an industry analyst to be a guest speaker at an internal sales training event. This could span the range from a main stage speech at the annual sales kickoff to a 15-minute discussion as part of a regular weekly sales team call. Topics can cover a broad range from changes in the competitive landscape, to what the analyst is hearing from end users, to why enterprise technology buyers use the analysts. We have yet to hear of a situation where the analyst session was not one of the highest rated sessions at a major sales event. Of course, the analyst has to have great content and snappy presentation skills. But in general feet-on-street sales representatives love to hear what the analysts have to say and to grill them with tough questions. 

There are a number of benefits for all constituencies in having an analyst guest speaker:

  • Your Sales representatives – valuable information and insights to help them close business
  • Sales training department – a special guest that will “perk up the audience,” especially after lunch at a multi-day sales kickoff
  • Sales managers
    • An agenda item on a regular team call that will get the sales staff to either a) attend and/or b) stop doing email with the mute button on and pay attention
    • Competitive market insights that will help them fine tune their plans and Continue reading

Analyst Relations budget – Use it, don’t lose it

It’s now July 22nd, about half way through the third calendar quarter. Many communications and IT vendors have budget policies in place where departments lose any budget that is not spent within a particular fiscal quarter or calendar year. AR managers frequently find it difficult to find a good use for remaining budget, especially when it might only be a few thousand dollars. Are you kicking yourself because you had had left over budget at the end of the last quarter that you did not use? In addition, you don’t want to blow any remaining budget on something that might not be used to its fullest extent, like a reprint of a so-so research note or a Gartner Advisory seat for someone who probably won’t do inquiries.

An excellent use of remaining budget is AR staff development because it increases efficiency and effectiveness, boosts staff morale and adds variety to the job. Staff development  is even more important during a recession when bonuses are meager and pay raises are not likely.

To make it easy for AR managers to spend odd amounts of end-of-the-quarter budget, SageCircle offers its services à la carte as well as by annual subscription. We have many services under $1,000 such as webinars ($95), Online SageContent Library ($395), AR briefings ($495), workshops ($495) and advisory blocks (2 hours $495, 5 hours $995) and seminars ($995).

Another advantage of SageCircle AR training offerings is that many are 90 minutes or less, making them easy to fit into a busy schedule or a regular staff call. Oh, did I mention that you can conveniently buy any SageCircle service via credit card to ensure you get it into this quarter’s purchases? We will also work around the clock to complete any paperwork you need for traditional purchase order/invoice.

Here are three examples of how you can mix-and-match SageCircle training services to meet various needs:

AR continuing education – This example assumes an experienced AR staff located in one office. The first two items are free, which of course is a great price. Using the AR DiagnosticTM as a continuing education tool is atypical, but the questions asked Continue reading

AR Performance Metrics – July AR Coffee Talk

icon-coffee-talks.jpgThere are two types of AR metrics – operational and performance. Operational metrics are useful for the AR team only. Proving the value of AR requires data on the performance of the AR program rather than simple counts of analyst mentions or briefings held.

Join us to chat about what make good performance metrics that demonstrate the strategic value of AR.

August 4 at 8 AM Pacific – Free – Click here to register

August 13 at 10 AM Pacific – Free – Click here to register

AR Coffee Talks

Networking and chatting with peers is a great way to expand your knowledgebase. Unfortunately, we do not always have the time to Continue reading

Managing your pesky executives requires training, oops, I mean “strategic updates”

seminar.jpgIBM AR manager extraordinaire John Simonds (Twitter handle) posted Managing the Executive’s Ego’s; The Good, The Bad and The Ugly last week on his Delusions of Adequacy blog. It is a very useful post as it discusses the types of executives that AR teams often encounter. I am sure that many of the AR professionals reading John’s post can only shake their head in agreement as they think about their own experiences. 

However, it is possible to change some executives from “The Bad” into “The Good” and make “The Good” even better (we are not sure there is much one can do with “The Ugly”). What it takes is education. So how does AR educate executives about the impact of the analysts and analyst interaction best practices?

First, you don’t call it education or training. We all know that the typical executive is beyond training. Rather, AR needs to position the education as “strategic briefings” or “strategic updates” because those are something executives will agree to do.

Second, AR has to engage in retail not wholesale sessions. You cannot expect execs to show up in a classroom, so AR needs to invest a little time in meeting one-on-one with execs in their offices.

Third, AR has to keep the sessions short,sweet, and very focused. Hone your content to Continue reading

SageCircle Special Webinar: Impact of the Recession on the Analysts and AR – Time for Ruthless Action

seminar.jpgThe worldwide economic downturn is impacting analyst firms that only a few months ago thought they would see slowing of their revenues, but not much more. In the last month, eight analyst firms – including Forrester and Gartner – have announced layoffs. More are surely to come.

And it is not just the analysts who are caught up in this recession. Analyst relations (AR) programs often get caught in the downdraft of a recession experiencing budget cuts, headcount freezes or reductions, and less analyst interaction support from executives and domain experts. If AR is to avoid being the target of budget and headcount cuts is it critical to ensure that it is aligned with corporate priorities and is demonstrating positive economic contributions. While this seems obvious, too many AR programs are so caught up in reactive mode or simply doing normal day-to-day tasks that they don’t see the danger forming. As a consequence, these programs have a greater likelihood of getting cut than those AR managers and teams that proactively or preemptively move to change their focus. 

To help AR professionals and teams take a strategic approach to dealing with the rapidly changing environment, SageCircle is announcing a new public webinar focused on the recession’s impact on the analyst ecosystem and the actions AR needs to take.

Key Issues to be addressed in this webinar include:

  • How is the analyst ecosystem impacted by recessions?
  • Will the “Big 2″ advisory firms see their influence impacted by the recession?
  • What are the immediate steps that AR should take when analysts are laid off?
  • How will the recession cause AR to work differently and spend differently?

In this SageCircle Webinar, our strategists – who have experienced recessions both Continue reading

Adding more sessions to make it easier for you to attend AR training

Frequently we hear from AR professionals wanting to attend one of our seminars, webinars or Coffee Talks saying they could not attend the scheduled session. In the very next sentence is usually “when will the session be scheduled again or do you have a replay?” To answer the request for additional scheduling options, we are happy to announce that we are greatly expanding the times we schedule webinars and Coffee Talks. Every month we will have two sessions for the Coffee Talk, two sessions for the new webinar and two repeats. In addition, most months will have public seminars scheduled as well.

To help you keep track of all these options, we are launching a new page on the SageCircle blog called, not surprising, Calendar to graphically display all the scheduled training for a number of months (see below for an example). You can find new page in the left-hand navigation menu in the “Pages” section. Currently we have February, March and April posted and will be adding additional months soon. If you to know about an AR training event in the May through July timeframe, please send us an email (info [at] sagecirle.com) and we’ll happily send you the information.

If you are a regular reader of the SageCircle blog, especially for breaking news in the analyst ecosystem ( e.g., news around the six firms that have laid off analysts in the last three weeks), a great way to show your support for this free service is by signing up for one of our events. Thanks.

 We look forward to seeing you at one of our events.

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