Analyst relations isn’t rocket science – it’s relationship science. Kind of like most everything in life.
Analysts at research firms are human. Just like you. But all too often we see people treat analyst relations like a bad PR rep treats the media. Stop trying to market to them. Or sell them on your company or product or service. If you are, stop, because it’s definitely not winning you any friends or influence.
So what should you do? Start with these five tips:
Tip #1: Be Different
Analysts hear from numerous companies who claim to be the best-in-class, industry-leading agency or tech firm in their industry. Don’t say it. Prove it. With what makes you different. And amazing client examples.
Tip #2: Be Interesting
You don’t have to be a client to be able to brief analysts about your company, but if you ever want to hear from them again, you better be interesting. They don’t want to hear about your processes and all your awards. They want to be engaged and walk away with a clear understanding of who you are, what makes you different, and how you solve problems for clients. Their clients.
Tip #3: Be Helpful
Don’t bombard them with useless crap. That’s right. Crap. Like press releases that have nothing to do with their area of coverage. Or marketing materials that talk about how great you are, with no proof of anything. Or other outlandish claims with absolutely zero proof to back them up. Instead keep them updated about any significant client wins and results or any new company information that is relevant and valuable related to the research they cover.
Tip #4: Be Thoughtful
Most analysts welcome a healthy debate about their latest research or thinking (most, not all), but pointing out flaws and being combative to try to prove how smart you are will get you nowhere. In fact, there’s a good chance they’ll never take another email or phone call from you again.
Tip #5: Be Respectful
Keep the golden rule in mind. Treat them like you’d like to be treated. Respect their time. Be on time for meetings, whether in person on the phone. And end meetings on time. Respond to their requests quickly, and be professional. If you disagree with anything they publish about you, by all means, take it offline and avoid any sort of public debate.
Suffering from a lower than average win rate? Here are 10 things that might be having a (negative) impact on your win rate:
1. Your proposals are full of errors. If your proposals are full of errors, prospects can’t help but ask, will your work be too?
2. You don’t answer the questions the client asks. It’s maddening to feel like you’re not being listened to. If you don’t listen now, what will it be like later in the relationship?
3. Your materials are full of jargon that no one can understand but you. Are you the industry-leading, best-in-class agency for the latest emerging trends? Enough said.
4. You gave them more than they asked for. That’s right. You scared them. Too much is just as bad as too little.
5. There’s no chemistry. Think about it. Would you work with someone you don’t click with?
6. You’re not responsive to their requests. They email you a question. You don’t get back for a couple of days. And, they’re left wondering – is this how it’s going to be when you win the business?
7. You’re too cheap. That’s right. Just like you can be too expensive. You can also be too cheap. Don’t be. No one wants their agency to be a Wal-Mart agency.
8. You’re too expensive. Way too expensive. If you’re just slightly more expensive, you will often have an opportunity to negotiate. But if you’re way more expensive, they’ll feel like you’re out of touch or don’t understand their needs.
9. You pulled a bait and switch. The team you listed in the proposal is a wee bit more experienced than the team that showed up for the in-person pitch. See #10. They don’t trust you.
10. They don’t trust you. Why? Could be many reasons. Just make sure they do trust you. If they don’t, nothing else matters. People don’t do business with people they don’t trust.
It’s a difficult decision. Should you hire someone – and take a risk that they may not be the right fit or have the exact skills you need? Or, should you let an outside partner handle your marketing for now? This is a challenge that many growing B2B companies face. They need marketing expertise, but aren’t sure if they’re ready to take the leap to add headcount to focus solely on marketing.The answer? It depends. Here are few things to consider before making a decision:
Dedicated to Your Business
If you hire an employee, then you will be guaranteed to have someone 100% focused on you and your business. With a partner, however, you will have access to an expert or team of experts with knowledge from various industries and other clients. So, think about what is more important: focused solely on your business or access to broader expertise?
Dollar for dollar, if looking only at hard costs, and not overall value, hiring someone as an employee is costly. If you need someone for at least 30 hours per week, even with benefits, it is going to be more cost effective. If you aren’t sure how much work you have, wait to hire someone for now, and find the right partner in the meantime. You can always hire someone later.
Type of Support
If the help you need can be filled by one person (i.e., it’s all more junior level or all more strategic), then it likely makes more sense to hire an employee. If you need both, although you might be able to find someone with a mix of skills, you’ll typically have to hire someone with more senior experience that’s willing to do more junior work. Think about the percentage of time they’d be spending on the different tasks to see if the investment is worth it. To get the exact skills you need, it may make more sense to hire a junior person and create a partnership for the more strategic guidance.
If the chemistry isn’t right, it’s hard to make a change if you hire someone. With a partner, you can easily make a change at any time. Another option that’s becoming more popular is to hire someone initially as a contractor and have a trial period of 60-90 days. This will ensure your needs and their skills are a match longer term.