- For B2B tech companies, building relationships with industry analysts can generate leads, investor interest, and media attention. The best part — this isn’t just for big corporations. Small- to mid-size tech firms can reap the benefits, too.
- “If the analyst doesn’t know who you are or what you do and somebody comes to them asking for their advice on X technology for their organization, they’re going to give a few names, but yours isn’t going to be in there, simply because they don’t know who you are,” explains Nicole Baker, a senior public relations and media relations analyst.
- To start cultivating these relationships, target more niche analyst firms. Find contacts by researching your competitors, making connections on LinkedIn, and attending conferences and tradeshows.
If you’re at a B2B tech company, you’ve probably heard the buzz around industry analysts.
These are the experts — the ones potential customers, investors, and journalists turn to for industry insights and expertise. Getting in good with these analysts can help your company generate leads, strike up interest from investors, and get a major credibility boost.
That’s why companies invest in analyst relations (AR) programs.
This sounds great, but don’t you have to be a big corporation with big bucks to launch an AR program?
Not at all. This is, in fact, one of the most common misconceptions when it comes to AR programs, according to Nicole Baker, a public relations specialist and media relations analyst with more than two decades of experience.
“The thing a lot of small organizations don’t realize is these industry analysts — these experts in the various technologies and markets — they want to know about your technology,” Nicole says. “They want to know about the different technologies out there and what the different options are for their clients.”
No matter how small or how niche your tech company is, you can still get your foot in the door with these analysts. As a consultant, Nicole has helped small and mid-size tech companies (one company only had seven employees!) get the attention of industry analysts.
She shares her expertise on The B2B Mix Show podcast.
Getting in cahoots with the industry analysts
If you’re a small organization with an established product and customer base, it’s time to start building relationships with industry analysts.
One of the biggest upshots? Leads.
“If the analyst doesn’t know who you are or what you do and somebody comes to them asking for their advice on X technology for their organization, they’re going to give a few names, but yours isn’t going to be in there, simply because they don’t know who you are,” Nicole explains.
Even if your company doesn’t have the resources (read: time and money) to create and execute an AR program, Nicole says you can — and should — still get out there in front of industry analysts.
She shares her decades of experience to help you get started.
1. Don’t just focus on the top dogs
There are some larger, well-known analyst firms out there. Gartner or Forrester Research ring a bell? But here’s the thing: Those guys might not be the best route.
“They’re more focused on the enterprise size, the big guys,” Nicole says. “So you maybe want to focus on some of those niche analyst firms — those Tier 2 analyst firms that are focused more on those small and medium-sized businesses or your specific type of technology.”
Nicole says the smaller firms also sometimes offer an added benefit: feedback. This feedback on your messaging or target audience can help you better understand how to appeal to these industry analysts.
2. Flex your internet investigation skills
If you’re not sure where to find the best analyst firms for your company, you’ve got a few options. Nicole suggests hiring a consultant (someone with the insider knowledge). Or, you can turn to Google. You can also connect with industry analysts on LinkedIn.
Another strategy? Poke around your competitors’ websites and see what analyst firms they’ve got connections with. Typically, you can find something like a recognition section on its site, which will have a list of analyst reports. (You can see Salesforce, for example, has relationships with Gartner, Forrester, IDC, Nucleus Research, and Ovum.)
A lot of times, you can find analysts attending industry conferences and tradeshows, too. The analysts are there to get the latest scoop on new technologies, so get a list of attendees before the event, and identify the analysts.
3. Tailor and target
AR programs sometimes get lumped in with PR departments, but the way you approach your messaging with the analysts will be totally different than the way you approach the media.
“The analysts really, really want to know you have a viable product that organizations are purchasing and want to know you do have a customer base and, down the road, may want to talk to some of those customers,” Nicole says.
You’ll want to spend time upfront collecting this information and pulling it into a PowerPoint deck, “making sure it’s really targeted and tailored to the different analyst organizations that you’re going to be reaching out to,” she explains.
4. Turn this into a team effort
This doesn’t have to be a one-person initiative. In fact, this shouldn’t be a one person initiative.
“If you have a marketing team, it’s great, because you can actually feed off of some of the information they have already brought to the table — some of the messaging that they’re already using for marketing,” Nicole says. “The same as if you have somebody from public relations or media relations in there. You can work off some of that messaging as well.”
She also suggests collaborating with the product management team, so you can keep tabs on planned product enhancements and releases.
5. Make this a once-a-quarter thing
Once you get in front of the analysts, you should try to follow up and brief them once a quarter, Nicole suggests. This will allow you to give them new information on the technology and your customer base.
If you don’t have any specific updates, this doesn’t have to be super formal.
Even if you just meet up with the analysts at events, interact with them on social media, or send out a quarterly newsletter targeted specifically toward the analysts — that’ll be enough to remind them you’re around.
6. Always ask: Who else should we be talking to?
Building up your analyst relations is an ongoing effort. As your product grows and evolves, think about other analysts you can reach out to.
“If the company is expanding into Europe or Asia-Pac, who are the analysts in those markets we should be talking to?” Nicole says. “Introduce the company to them so that they’re aware when the company is moving into that market space.”
Sure, building up these relationships will require a lot of work, but if you keep at it, it can really pay off. Want to hear more insights from the analyst relations world? Listen to this episode of The B2B Mix Show, and subscribe to The B2B Mix Show on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts for new episodes each Monday.