Developing Strong and Active Executive Sponsorships is a Planning Priority

Analyst Relations PlanningIf AR teams truly have the sponsorship of senior executives, why do they struggle for resources, organizational cooperation, executive participation in AR initiatives, and other critical issues? The reality is that AR teams probably have a tepid endorsement from their management rather than true executive sponsorship.

 SageCircle defines executive sponsorship as taking 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.

An important element of a sponsorship program is status reporting, because it helps to maintain the active participation of the executive. The purpose of status reporting is to:

  • Maintain AR’s top-of-mind presence with executives
  • Eliminate surprises about operational or strategic issues that could prevent the achievement of the agreed upon goals
  • Alert executives to issues requiring attention and support

Topics covered by status reporting cover both results and issues. Status reporting balances consistent touches without impinging on the executives’ time. Components of status reporting include:

  • Monthly one to two page e-mails
  • Quarterly 30-minute updates
  • Semi-annual 90-minute reviews

Working for active executive sponsorship should become a part of creating the AR strategic & tactical plan. Having an executive sponsorship program does require some effort on AR’s part and the scheduling of regular meetings, which need to be incorporated into the AR plan.  However, the payback of real executive endorsement is Continue reading

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.

Planning and Measurement: more than activities, these are essential components of effective AR

SageCircle - connection between planning and measurementTop-performing analyst relations (AR) programs follow a simple model: 

  1. Define the results they want to achieve
  2. Define and execute a set of activities designed to achieve the stated results
  3. Measure progress

This approach not only helps to keep the program focused, it is critical for gaining and maintaining executive sponsorship and support.  Executives do not have time to learn the details and nuances of AR operations. They could care less how many briefings AR performs, how many e-mails were sent, or how many analyst requests the AR team supports. Executives want to know

  1. What are the business-relevant results the AR program will deliver
  2. Does the AR program have a plan (or is it flying by the seat of its pants)
  3. Is the plan reasonable
  4. How will the program prove its impact

Many AR programs lament their lack of strong executive support, yet have not committed the time necessary to develop the key ingredient for executive sponsorship, a pragmatic Continue reading

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