Is it time to incorporate risk analysis into analyst list rankings?

Analyst Relations PlanningEvery AR team needs to manage their analyst list(s) to ensure they are focused on providing the right attention to the right analysts.  SageCircle stands on the “analyst list management” soapbox a lot because it such an important aspect of an effective and efficient AR program.  Creating a ranked list based on impact and then tiering based on available resources is the way to manage your service levels for analysts and ultimately manage your stress. There are many data points that go into an analyst ranking frameworks like visibility, research coverage, reputation, firm, geography and so on. This post is the opener for a discussion on whether risk should be added to the ranking criteria.

In this context, the risk being discussed is the potential damage to sales deals, market perception, internal politics, and such that can be caused by an analyst with a negative opinion. How much effort should you put into negative analysts?

So, should risk be incorporated into the analyst ranking framework as either a primary or secondary criterion? For instance, two analysts that are pretty much equal in all other criteria could see a negative analyst getting ranked higher than a positive analyst because there is more risk associated with the negative analyst and AR wants to invest more time to move that analyst’s opinion. If the two analysts are on the border between Tier 1 and Tier 2 Continue reading

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.

There can never be an analyst influence database [Practitioner Question]

question-mark-graphic.jpgQuestion: Is there a database that ranks analysts in terms of influence?

While there are some fine analyst directories or databases available for purchase (e.g., ARinsight’s ARchitect3) none of have “influence” data. This is because influence is a relative term which is dependent on what the vendor is trying to accomplish and the market space they are addressing. Obviously two companies with different products would see the same analyst as having different influence.  However, two competitors in the same market could also end up with analyst lists that are different because they have different business objectives they are trying to accomplish. Even the same vendor could rank the influence of the same analysts differently over time, even in a span of only a few months, as the vendor’s business and analyst relations (AR) objectives change.

While there are no databases of influence to purchase, AR can still create a formal analyst list management process with documented ranking criteria. Although this framework cannot eliminate the work associated with determining influence, it will permit AR to rank their analyst lists efficiently.

If an AR team does not have the bandwidth to do the work associated with creating an analyst list, there are Continue reading

Are you wasting time on the wrong analysts? Announcing “Ranking and Tiering,” a SageCircle webinar

seminar.jpgOne of the biggest ongoing mistakes that AR professionals make is not using a rigorous methodology for managing their analyst lists. This often leads to too many analysts on their lists and too many analysts designated as “Tier 1.” This state of affairs leads to inefficiency and ineffectiveness as AR teams are spread too thin to effectively influence the most relevant analysts. Another problem is a list that is missing relevant analysts, which can lead to uninformed analysts negatively impacting your sales cycles. While bad enough in good economic times this mistake can be fatal in recessions when all corporate functions are being scrutinized for efficiency as well as contribution to revenues and corporate/business unit objectives. The quality of your analyst list brings up a number of key issues for AR:

  • Do you have a formal analyst list management process that can withstand executive scrutiny?
  • Are your list management processes efficient enough to permit quick changes to reflect the changing company priorities or upheavals in the analyst community like layoffs?
  • Do you have the content to educate your stakeholders about how analyst lists are managed and the importance of prioritizing the analysts?
  • Are you prepared for the analysts to “go around” you and interact directly with your executives to get their “tier” upgraded?
  • Do you have the tools to efficiently manage and share your lists?

To help out AR professionals and teams take a strategic approach to creating and maintaining analyst lists, SageCircle is announcing a new public webinar focused on the methodology for creating an airtight analyst list.

In this SageCircle AR Webinar, we will provide you with succinct and actionable information that will help you develop a solid and efficient analyst list management process. The agenda for the 90-minute session includes: Continue reading

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