Within one week, we received inquiries from two different AR-savvy clients about the measurements and metrics they should employ to track activities and benchmark progress against stated goals. Both clients realized their existing measurement programs – primarily focused on counting AR activities and written research and press quote mentions – were not capturing the full picture of AR activities and effectiveness. Therefore, the clients were unable to communicate effectively AR’s impact on sales to executives.
First, before diving into what measurements and metrics to track, clients need to define performance vs. operational metrics. Performance metrics measure AR’s progress against strategic results such as trends in analyst opinions by market, product, etc. or number of sales opportunities supported by the AR team. Operational metrics, on the other hand, measure AR’s utilization and productivity against plan. Some examples include briefings, inquiries, roadshows, summits, etc. and volume of analyst research publications tagged and monitored.
Second, clients must examine the company’s overall performance goals and then define the AR goals needed to achieve these objectives. For example, a company-wide performance goal might be to launch successfully two new products that help the vendor become an enterprise-wide player. A supporting AR goal might be to build market awareness of the new products and the firm’s new status as an enterprise-wide player through hosting a series of ‘new product vendor briefings.
Third, once clients distinguish between performance and operational metrics and examine their company’s performance and operational goals they should determine the AR performance and operational goals needed to support these objectives. These will need to be added to the implementation plan for their “Strategic and Tactical Plan (STP).” The STP plan plots these AR goals on a timeline, detailing the underlying activities required to achieve them.
For an example of a Strategic and Tactical Plan, Online SageContentTM Library clients should look up The Analyst Relations Strategic and Tactical Plan Outline and Strategic and Tactical Plan Template. SageCircle Advisory clients are encouraged to schedule an inquiry to discuss the Strategic and Tactical plan process, obtain best practices and plan templates, and arrange for future review sessions on the draft AR plan.
The number of underlying activities reported will be based on targets set in the AR Strategic and Tactical Plan. For example, if an AR team tells an executive that it conducted 30 briefings in Q1 without comparing this number to the overall target, then it provide little insight into program efficacy. However, if the AR team reports this number against the target, then it provides valuable insight into execution efficacy.
Fourth, with the AR team goals defined and a plan in place to achieve them, the team now is ready to begin selecting measurements and metrics based on additional considerations such as:
- Methods for collecting the data (include current applications)-Data should be relatively easy to collect
- The mix of different metric types-Data should be ‘sliced and diced’ from different angles using varied metrics
- Reporting results by a balanced scorecard-Data easily should be feed into an balanced scorecard with both performance and operational metrics for effective reporting
- The process for providing easy-to-read appropriate metrics to executives
To learn more about how SageCircle can help you develop a practical AR measurement and metric program, please contact us at 650-274-8309.
- Define performance vs. operational metrics, understanding their distinct goals
- Capture corporate performance and operational objectives, and determine how AR goals fit into overall company strategy
- Lay out the AR Strategic & Tactical Plan for achieving AR strategic and operational goals, with supporting activities defined against a timeline
- Develop an integrated balanced scorecard with distinct metrics for strategic performance and operational excellence, including practical data collection strategies.
Bottom Line: Too often, AR focuses its measurement program on activity tracking, written research, and press quote mentions. While these metrics are useful, they do not provide a complete picture of AR effectiveness, especially the monetary impact of AR on company’s sales.
Question: Do you have an AR measurement program? If yes, does it distinguish between performance and operational metrics? If yes, is it an integrated part of your overall AR plan?