When starting with analyst relations companies often realise that the task lying ahead of them is pretty daunting. There are several hundred analyst firms with thousands of analysts publishing research for every imaginable market niche. On the other side there are tens of thousands technology providers worldwide vying for the attention of these analysts. This means that simply having a great product will not be enough to get noticed.
But how does one cope with the task of sorting though this vast number and actually getting down to doing some work? This is where the proverbial elephant comes into play: How does one eat an elephant? The answer is one bite at a time. If the whole of the analyst community is too much to digest at once, it must be broken down into smaller pieces. So one of the main tasks of any analyst relations program will be to come up with a way to structure and prioritise both the analyst firms and the analyst community in a way that makes sense for your company and your analyst relations goals. Targeting analyst from the top three or four analyst companies that are experts in the technology your company is offering is the obvious thing to do. Doing this will give you a starting point but it also means that you will be omitting lots analysts that are just as important for the overall success of your analyst relations efforts. And since it is the obvious thing to do it will also mean that most of your competitors will be competing for the analysts’ attention.
Having a clear cut idea what you want to achieve will also help you to build your list of analyst firms and analysts you will want to target. For example there are some analyst firms that have a great presence in the media but are lacking the client base to make them attractive as potential channels to directly impact the buying decisions of your buyers. So if you are looking to support your PR efforts and increase your presence in the media you might have to target a different set of analysts than if your main goal is to influence the analysts who are supporting your prospects in sorting through their vendor short list when making a buying decision. Pretty much the same applies for selecting analysts based on the verticals or geographical areas they are covering. All these criteria will help narrow down the number and allow you to come up with an initial list of analysts that are relevant for your analyst relations program.
However the problem with all these selection criterias is that you will not only need to come up with the right criteria to match your analyst relation goals, but they also require a deep understanding of the capabilities, methodologies and focus of the various analyst firms and analysts. Without this understanding chances are that you will waste a lot of effort dealing with the ‘wrong’ analysts wasting both time and money. So make sure that your cook knows how to properly prepare the elephant before it is served and eaten.