We talk to marketing executives everyday either bragging or complaining about the results and ROI of their paid analyst engagements. There are five ‘misses’ we find consistently:
Every client or prospect we talk to complains about the ‘tax’ they have to pay to impress Gartner and get inclusion in their reports. The key is to ask how often they are talking to their Gartner analysts. I had one client express his shock to me that his company didn’t move up and to the right in their MQ, while explaining he spoke to the authors only twice in 12 months. One of my favorite Gartner analysts once told me, “You get out of Gartner what you put into Gartner.” The Moral of the story is to make sure you are having frequent (monthly) inquiries, briefings, demos, meetings at tradeshows, coffees etc. with your Gartner champion(s). You can’t expect them to remember every detail of your solution and competitive advantage if you talk to them infrequently.
Leverage Second Tier Analysts for Reports
Not all vendors can afford to pay top tier analyst firms like Gartner and Forrester out of the gate, especially those that are early stage. Unless your able to take a lot of time for the care and feeding of Gartner analysts (tip above) then we suggest you engage with smaller analyst firms like 451 Group, Ovum or EMA. These firms have shorter lead times to get briefings and will be willing to write reports on your company, especially if you are a newcomer to the market. These reports can be licensed for as little as $5,000 and will serve as third-party credibility and content for lead generation campaigns and the sales team.
Are you following your analysts on Twitter? Are you connected on LinkedIn? Are you reading their posts? Are you liking their LinkedIn posts and retweeting their tweets? If you answered no to any of these questions you have made mistake #3.
Share Content with Analysts
Do you feel like you’re talking to your analyst champions regularly? Do they know the specifics of your last product release, customer wins, global expansion, partnerships or new hires to your executive bench? It’s important to share press releases with your analysts to keep your brand top of mind. This also keeps them updated on your progress both from the perspective of the ability to innovate and execute. Creating analyst newsletters that are sent out monthly are another great source of educating analysts on your business momentum.
Analyst Lab Review
There are few media publications that conduct product reviews anymore and some solutions aren’t capable of being tested by low tech media. With that said, technical reviews are important for the bottom of the funnel leads, especially for technical decision makers. Consider hiring Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) or NSS Labs for technical reviews. You can control the testing environment and criteria and ensure you have credible content for the sales team. These engagements aren’t cheap (running about $30,000), so plan your budgets accordingly.
Depending on the life stage of your company, you will engage in different ways with various analyst firms. For startups, those who are in stealth, or who have yet to take series A funding, analysts can play a pivotal role in validating messaging as well as how and in which category you choose to position your company. It’s not a step you want to short-cut.
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