Analysts – the start of a beautiful relationship?

Robin Campbell-Burt – Director at Spreckley

People often treat analyst relations like a one-night stand. Months go by without a text or a call then, when you have a new product or incredible customer win, you get in touch and ask to conduct a briefing. Relationships, whether it’s with an analyst or your girlfriend, don’t work like that. It is a two-way street where mutual interest and concern is built up over time until love finally blossoms.

I often work with clients who question whether analyst relations is a worthwhile endeavour. Many times have I set up a series of briefings only to find my client complaining that the analyst has not made an immediate and public declaration of support for their new product or service. The problem here is that analysts should not be considered as influencers in the same way that journalists are.

It is unlikely that you will be included in an industry report after your first meeting. An analyst will have to get to know you first and ascertain how your product or service measures up. They will also want to know whether you and your company are credible and if you have all the pieces in place to grow and capture market share. It is vital to note that you should not be in selling mode. The analyst is not a potential customer and the conversation should be about providing insight to help the analyst see what you are doing in the wider context of the industry. Once you build a credible reputation as a source of knowledge and wise insight, analysts will start to call you every so often – they will be interested to find out how you are getting on and to know what your take is on broader developments in the sector.

A lot of the influence wielded by analysts can therefore be considered “soft-power” in your campaign as they talk to a lot of people every day and influence decisions in lots of ways. They will often be approached by other companies looking to make purchases and asked their opinion on various aspects of the latest trends. Journalists will also approach them to ask their opinion on topical subjects. If you have a good relationship there is therefore an increased opportunity for you to be mentioned in conversation.

It is also important to remember that communication works both ways. Don’t look at analyst relations as a series of opportunities to go through your slide deck and present your latest idea. Ask for feedback – their knowledge of the industry means that they may have a different perspective than you and this can be invaluable as you continue to refine your products and services. They can point out other market developments, research and a lot of other helpful information.

Any relationship requires long-term effort and your analyst engagement is no different. Take the time with analysts and who knows, it could be the start of a beautiful marriage.