The holy grail. The brass ring. The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Everything in your business comes down to a buyer handing over their precious budget dollars to you in exchange for something that solves their problems and gives them great opportunities. It’s pretty simple. Everything you do is geared towards that magic moment.
And, whether you know it or not, analysts are in your deals. Analysts advise buyers, and if you are absent from their mind, you are losing that deal. Competitors that position themselves well are reaping the benefits. You can play the game too. You can outplay it.
B2B Tech Buying Ecosystem
The image shows VENDORS on one side and BUYERS on the other.
At the top of the image are yellow arrows representing all the communications that go from the vendor to the buyer directly (sales and marketing communications) and indirectly (through media, bloggers, etc.)
At the bottom of the columns it gets more interesting. This is where the vendor executives and SMEs talk to the buyer executives and SMEs - the people that hold the purse and make the decisions. The important guys. Often an industry analyst is in the loop in a powerful way. Vendor leaders demonstrate strengths and differentiation to the analyst and build advocacy. Buyers seek the opinion of analysts to help with their technology strategies and vendor decisions. The analyst wields extreme power to influence these decisions by mentioning or validating vendors.
A little story. Years before I was in AR, I worked at a mid-sized enterprise and took over the customer reference program, securing referenceable accounts for sales and marketing. I was rebuilding the program and had the opportunity to talk to an expert analyst about my strategy. He gave me insights on how to structure and run the program, and then asked what technology I was planning to use to manage all the data. There were two major vendors providing reference program software and we talked about the pros and cons of each. Then he asked if I was familiar with xyz company. They were a startup in the space and he thought their solution could be a good match. I hadn’t heard of them, I doubt anyone had. Well, I contacted the startup, spoke to the founder, was impressed, and ended up buying from them. I never would have known or or considered the vendor without the analyst’s mention and advocacy.
I think back on that as I work with every startup fighting to get attention.
While analyst relations helps your business in so many different ways, in one sense it comes down to driving that buying experience. We provide strong and compelling briefings to the analyst to build the confidence they need to advocate for us. We work hard to perform well in evaluation reports (like the Gartner Magic Quadrant or Forrester Wave) to show the market we have the analyst’s stamp of approval. We get their feedback to make our offerings, strategy, message stronger. We engage them to speak about our market or write thought leadership papers about industry issues to demonstrate third party validation for our concepts.
It’s all in the interest of making more magic moments happen with the buyer. It all comes down to driving sales. That’s what really counts in the end.
While measuring this impact is very difficult and tends to be anecdotal, the dynamic is happening all the time. One analyst might have 10-15 private buyer conversations a week. 10-15 opportunities to mention you - or your competitor. As vendors we are not privy to these conversations, but they are absolutely happening.
Strong briefings and inquiry = advocacy. Frequent interactions = top of mind. Strong and frequent interactions = mentions. Mentions = leads. Leads = sales. Every touch you have with an analyst needs to reinforce this chain.
Start today and do it better than anyone else.
What do you think?