Our Credo series on AR principles has to address the most challenging pressure on AR professionals: how to say no to activities with little or no marginal benefit to the organisation. It’s a classic example of the triple contraints: time, cost and scope.
Analyst relations managers increasingly understand the need to tier analysts so that they can build real relationships with the most influential analysts. That takes effort, especially since fast-changing companies may find that many of the analysts with the most sales influence may be in growth markets or new solution areas that the AR team may not be well rooted in. Effective relationships involve establishing rapport, growing candour in discussion, building agreement and developing a spirit of cooperation. The foundation for that has to be a nuanced understanding of each influential analysts’ views about your market, and the execution has to involve repeated personal contact. That is why analysts’ tendency to recommend your fim can be predicted by the volume and candour of your communication.
Because successful analyst relations is highly labour-intensive, each additional firm and analyst also requires more resource. However, it’s also the case that each additional solution promoted by the AR programme takes extra resource. Firms like Oracle, SAP and Cisco, which acquire other tech firms regularly, face increasingly complex AR challenges as the number of solutions increases.
Geography and culture also amplifies the complexity. Business cultures and technology buyers’ preferences differ between countries, and sometimes within them. Each additional national market also requires further effort and co-ordination; for example, a robust programme to build relationships with analysts in Asia requires resources in Asia.
This understanding could encourage firms to match their scope to their resourcing. If your managers want you to influence new solution areas or geographies, then the resources need to be created to do that. Otherwise you have to give minimal support to allow other colleagues to target these areas. With limited resources, it’s essential that AR managers don’t divert energies to marginal areas if this will reduce their effectiveness in building rapport with the most influential analysts.