Analyst relations - part 2a

Part 3 of 4: When should you approach industry analysts?

Part 3 of 4

Analyst relations deep dive
If you’re less familiar with analyst relations it is not always easy to know when or how to approach analysts. So in this blog post I am laying out, practically, the five times when it is best to approach analysts for a briefing.

When they have not spoken to you before
If you have never spoken to a particular analyst firm which covers your area before, then clearly you need to do so. Most analysts that cover your area will be willing to have an introduction briefing with you, assuming they have time. They need to build a full picture of who matters in their focus areas, what vendors are doing or launching and understand the trends that the vendors are seeing.

When they are writing a relevant report
This is the most relevant time to approach an analyst. When they are writing an industry report, or just about to start it, that is exactly the right time to approach an analyst.

They will be more receptive because you will be able to share direct insights that you have about the market and explain your role in the industry. Essentially you are helping them do their job.

However, knowing when they are writing reports is the tricky part.

A handful of analyst firms are entirely open about their future reports, but not many. If you are a paid customer of theirs, getting hold of the planned schedule of reports is easy, but otherwise few openly share them. There are things that can be done, but it certainly helps when you have a PR/AR agency that can get them for you.

When you’re attending a conference
At a major industry event, many analysts will want to see as many vendors as possible that are in their area of research. They see this as their time to catch up with the market and take the pulse of the industry and see what new trends are emerging.

Sometimes though, their time is not their own, as salespeople or account handlers will often have priority over their calendars. That means that their meeting with you could sometimes be bumped or re-arranged if a client or prospect meeting gets scheduled.

When you have significant news
Significant news has to be qualified. It is not significant news for you, it has to be significant news for the industry. For example the acquisition of another company qualifies, but the launch of version 6.4 of your long-standing product might not make the cut.

That is not to say that they won’t want to hear about a major product launch. They will want to hear about it, if it is something the industry has not seen before, or it is something that changes your market dynamics.

Other significant news that could qualify would be a partnership with a big player. Major partnerships can make analysts sit up and take notice, as they will want to know what this new power connection means to the market or possibly what the entrance of this major new player means for the rest of the market.

Major new customers count too. This is especially true if you can name the customer and describe in detail what they are doing. Anonymous customer case studies can be enough to entice them too, so long as they have enough meat in the case study and can even guess at who it is.

Regular updates
Analysts need to keep a lot of plates spinning at the same time. They need to talk to a lot of people and get a sense, or even a consensus, about where the industry is headed. So even if you are a minor player in the market a briefing once a year is a minimum, provided you haven’t bored them or burnt any bridges with them in the past.

If you’re a large player, or even a medium-sized player in a niche field that the analyst researches, then they probably will want to speak to you every 3 or 6 months to keep a close view on your progress and your industry insight.

This is part of the reason why you need to keep close track of when you met them last. It doesn’t take much to keep this kind of information up-to-date so it is time well-spent when it helps you decide when it is time to catch up again.