We are continuing our commentary on analyst relations (AR) and the implications of the recession (see recession category for all posts). SageCircle suggests you think about how metrics need to change during a recession as you are refocusing and placing emphasis on something different. In this case, it is important to be capturing and reporting metrics that demonstrate AR’s outcomes and ability to impact revenues.
In typical times, most AR programs emphasize operational metrics and simple mention counts (e.g., the number of times analysts mention the vendor in published research and press quotes). This is never the best approach even in the best of times, as we state in moving beyond operational metrics. However, during a recession it can be fatal as it sends the message that AR is a boring tactical function whose headcount and budget can be cut without much downside. Instead, AR needs to shift all metrics reporting to performance metrics that position AR as something more akin to a strategic profit center.
Of course, this shift is a non-trivial effort as it is much easier to capture data for operational metrics than performance metrics. For example, capturing sales impact data requires establishing a working partnership with the Sales organization. Showing success shaping analyst perception requires performing Spoken Word Audits and measuring tonality not just mentions in published research.
- Review current data gathering and measurement reporting to identify opportunities
- Suspend operational metrics reporting and put all efforts on performance metrics
- If necessary, suspend collecting operational data in order to use the time to establish a partnership with Sales that will lead to a pipeline of sales impact data
- Develop a Spoken Word Audit plan with regular calls with targeted analysts. Inquiries for Spoken Word Audits also enhance the relationship with analysts.
- Focus reporting to executive sponsors on AR’s contribution to closing sales and moving analyst opinion
Online SageContentTM Library clients can find best practices, including sample scenarios, for Spoken Word Audits by either a simple search or by going to Index/Metrics and Program Measurement/Spoken Word Audits. Advisory clients can get the same information via inquiry. If you are not a client, you can get the SageNoteTM “How to Audit the Analyst’s Spoken Word” as a thank-you for participating in an Analyst Relations DiagnosticTM.
Bottom Line: During a recession, vendor executives are primarily concerned with cutting costs and driving revenues. AR needs to align its reporting to emphasize how it is contributing to the company’s top line in order to avoid being cut to support the bottom line.
Question: How are you working and spending differently in this recession?
SageCircle has published or will be publishing a series of posts addressing a variety of recession-oriented topics:
How AR needs to work differently in a recession:
- AR & recession – It’s about refocusing priorities and activities (overview)
- AR & recession – briefings need to focus on customers and fast business results
- AR & recession – refocusing metrics to emphasize outcomes not activities
- AR & recession – revisiting analyst lists and service level agreements
- AR & recession – telling stories of AR delivering business value to the company
How AR needs to spend differently in a recession:
- Why it is a really bad idea to cut AR, even in a recession
- Budgeting cutting can help AR focus and innovate
- Budget cutting part two – Alternate solutions for analyst contracts
- Notes on managing your budget in a recession – SageCircle’s Coffee Talk notes
- AR & recession spending – re-considering analyst contract priorities
- AR & recession spending – determining what out-tasked activities to bring in-house, if any
Purchasing analyst services best practices are more critical in a recession:
- Using five rights to avoid a wrong when it comes to purchasing Gartner or Forrester services
- Right reasons – Evaluate why you are purchasing analyst services
- Right services – Align the services you buy to better match the reason for info or advice
- Right firms – Search out alternative services providers that better match your reasons
- Right price – Acquire those services that meet your basics requirements
- Right usage – Drive usage of the services you buy to ensure maximize business value