A primary goal of most, if not all, analyst relations programs is to get products, services, and/or companies mentioned, or featured, in analyst reports. Whether it is a use case example to reinforce a point or in a report like Gartner Magic Quadrants (and similar style reports from other firms) that evaluates companies and technologies, a mention is a measurable result of an AR program.
But what is the most important thing to do when mentioned, particularly prominently?
(Hint: It’s not “license a reprint.”)
The answer: Sales Enablement.
When you are mentioned by a prominent analyst firm, it is likely that clients and prospects will ask you about it. But they aren’t asking the AR team or the product team. They are asking the sales team. Make sure they are prepared. (As an aside, this applies to any article that you are mentioned in prominently, not just analyst reports.)
How do you do this? Here are a few ideas:
- Develop the foundation (while following any of the relevant rules/guidelines from the analyst firm):
- Explain the context of the mention
- Provide the company perspective (what you agree with and what you don’t agree with.
- Share other insights from the research (could be on competitors or other scenarios)
- Share throughout the company, but focus on customer facing employees, particularly sales. Use multiple communications strategies (e-mails, internal Webinars, intranets) to make sure the message is heard.
- Supplement with additional guidelines
- Situations to bring up the research proactively
- Objection handling
This all seems straightforward, but as I think about the various technology firms I worked for, I’ve rarely seen this done at all. And I include those companies where it was my responsibility to have done this. I screwed up.
When you don’t do this, everything is reactive. I still remember a situation where there was a competitive POC bake-off. Both my firm and the competitor were featured in “the best place” in an analyst report. The competitor was slightly better positioned. Despite winning the bake-off, the sales team had to defend the placement. But they had no context. Once they came to me, we were able to show the prospective client that all the things they liked about our product and strategy were reinforced in the research. Some of the reasons the competitor was better positioned were not relevant to their situation.
We ended up succeeding, but the deal was delayed as we scrambled to put this together. Don’t let this happen to you. Be proactive.
And, if you are wondering about reprints, here are my general guidelines on content licensing.
But focus first and foremost on sales enablement.
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