People? Analysts are people? I was sure some of them were aliens.
The “R” part of analyst relations can be daunting. As much as we like to think analysts are all cut from the same cloth (that opinionated, egomaniac one) we know that’s not true.
One thing that’s constant is that they are people. Money helps, but only takes you a little way. It comes down to emotional elbow grease:
Building a real relationship with people takes time and effort. A warm, chatty introduction is a great way to break the ice, but it’s just the first step.
Know and remember their personal likes and dislikes. Obvious, right? Get things down to an authentically personal level. Taking things out of the purely professional environment stimulates something and brings you closer.
On the other hand, be careful with too much personal engagement. I once met an AR person who told me he had five analysts at his wedding. That's a little too close for comfort.
Honesty. As soon as you can fake honesty you’re golden. Ha. Really, honesty is a huge differentiator in vendors that build strong relationships. You have to fess up to warts that they probably already know about. You need to open the kimono. Admit where you are weak and working on to improve. Ask them for help but be very clever about managing their perceptions. Agree internally. Don’t get caught off guard. Try to avoid talking about those known weaknesses that you have chosen to ignore. If they come up, tell it like it is. Don’t BS them… they see right through it. “How do you know a vendor’s lying? Their lips are moving”. Don’t be that vendor.
Acknowledge their knowledge. Know what they know. DO NOT try to educate them about the market challenges that you solve. Nobody likes this and assumes you haven’t read what they’ve written. Very insulting. You have to mention these problems, but only to get them on the same page, or acknowledge how your view differs from theirs and the rest of the market. “As you know, the market is struggling with x,y,z” Don’t waste time, don’t belabor. You only want to set context, get head nods, and make sure you’re on the same page. It can open up a fabulous discussion, which can be a great inquiry for another time.
This is all pretty basic stuff. AR pros know it, but we sometimes forget to do it.
There are many more aspects to the human side of AR. What do you do that works?