A few weeks ago we wrote about the need for an “Analyst Relations Process Model”. The basic idea is that there are five key elements in AR. Most firms are addressing the complete set of tasks, not all of them are reflecting common practice or best practice; and few have stable and repeatable methods. These three notions: compete; best; repeatable give the x, y, and y coordinates which can be used to quantify (and, by multiplying them together, quantify) the development of a firm’s analyst relations.
These are five elements which, from their opening letters, we describe collectively as IDEAL:
- Identifying analysts means knowing which analysts have impact and being able to quantify that effort so that you can allocate additional resources to the analysts on whom your clients are counting. This involves tailored research to understand which individuals are advising your clients at each of the key firms, more generic understanding of the influence of those key firms; and a way to balance the different forms of impact: internally; directly on the market and indirectly on other stakeholders.
- Driving performance requires goals, operational technique and insight. More insight is needed to develop focussed, self-confident AR practitioners. Tools to manage AR performance are needed to share knowledge and drive activity, including intranets and CRM systems. Finally insight is needed into the rationale for AR, the realities of the analyst work, and techniques for influencing analysts worldwide
- Engaging the analysts is primarily about developing candour and exchanging information — not operational technique. We believe that measurement is crucial here: you need to know how far analysts are paying attention to a vendor in order to target resources into that engagement and generate greater analyst mindshare. That requires deep understanding of the research and advisory work of the analysts. The only way to win them over is to develop a rich discussion that leads them to their own conclusions.
- Aligning effort is an active and dynamic process. We need to track and understand how analysts information needs are changing, and find out how to leverage other corporate resources better. Benchmarking changes in analysts opinions deeply and competitively is only useful if it’s done over time using repeatable and table methods. Building AR momentum also involves reallocating resources in line with corporate priorities and opportunities.
- Leveraging insight from the analysts involves a number of tactics. Analysts’ research and comments can be tracked. Analysts can be engaged directly to obtain greater insight for our own companies’ directions. Mastering AR also involves increasing analysts’ value and profile inside the vendor organisation, and increasing internal, active support for the analyst relations programme.