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Practice Best-ly

Updated: Mar 29, 2023

A great musician knows that practicing is the way to fame and fortune. Or at least to a hobby that doesn't irritate the family TOO much.

A great AR pro knows that best practices in working with analysts can make or break a company.

To leverage the “making” part, you need a clear vision of your goals and approach with each analyst. You need a clear strategy that brings the right resources into play with the right analyst at the right time. Never engage for the sake of engagement. It's a waste of the analyst’s limited time, limited patience, and good will.

Your ultimate objective is to influence the analyst’s thinking so they, in turn, can influence buyers and the market at large. This is tough. It takes a lot of hard work over a number of months or even years. It takes careful planning, thoughtful execution, and a coordinated effort. Do it right and they become big advocates of your approach, your value prop, your products, and your company as a whole. That’s a sweet outcome.

To get there, consider three interaction modes - from vendor to analyst, from analyst to vendor, and interactive discussion. You educate the analyst in the first mode, learn from the analyst in the second mode, and develop a relationship in the third. Use them all.

Once you have this foundation, great AR comes down to how well the AR pro knows the analyst's interests, coverage areas - and uses that knowledge to move the business needle. Alan Pelz-Sharpe gives a thorough overview of the dos and don'ts of working with any analyst in my book, Analyst on Analyst Relations. His points include DON’T threaten analysts, DO deliver a demo that actually demos something, and DON’T assume the analyst is out to get you. There are nine more.

Analysts Dan Newman, David Wilson, Ritu Jyoti, Robin Bloor and others give more best practices around interacting with analysts: Be responsive and a connector, don't try to control the narrative, use facts and customer examples, use your executives judiciously, be a listening organization. Some juicy examples.

The book is loaded with best practices that give the analyst view on what's important to them. Very interesting, but the message is simple: Know your analyst inside and out so you can give them precisely what they need for their research, writing, and advisory. Be helpful, be a friend.

What’s your experience?

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