From former Forrester analyst Nick Barber, here’s how to make analysts a boon to your tech go-to-market (even if you’re not a paying member):
Do it now. I talk to many firms that put analysts off, thinking they’re not ready. That’s a mistake: Analysts could be their best brand advocates and source of business. Fortunately, a solid approach to AR is the same as that for Marketing. Use it as an opportunity to hone how you talk about the market’s challenge, specific customer pain points, and how your product uniquely “relieves the pain.”
Designate an owner of AR at your firm. Who that might be will depend on your firm’s stage of growth. In early-stage companies, AR is the responsibility of the founder and/or CEO. Product marketers at later stage companies should dedicate at least a few hours. Full-time AR pros are generally typical in large enterprises.
Understand the analyst firms and their coverage. Primary analysts Gartner, Forrester, and IDC have the broadest coverage. But, secondary analysts, specific to your vertical, might be more important to your audience (ex. Celent and AITE for financial services). Ask primary analysts, vendors, partners, and customers which secondary analysts you should be entreating.
Engage analysts on more than just Waves and Magic Quadrants (known as evaluative research). Get to know their trends, predictions, and best practices content to determine your pitch angle. Be a supply of evidence to the analysts: data, customer case studies, etc.
Master “the brief.” Make it a goal to brief analysts 3-4 times a year, ideally on topics that are on their research agenda (ask them about it). When you do brief the analyst, talk about yourself how your customers and partners talk about you. And you must support your arguments with evidence, often in the form of data and case studies. In all, keep it to “a tight 30” – see Nick’s wonderfully informative post for a sample agenda.
Thanks to Nick for sharing his experience!