Before starting this guide, understand this is not a cheat sheet or one day process. I am not talking about paying to get a white paper written about you. This guide is about analysts and research reports which are not “pay to play.” We are focusing on how to get analysts at major research firms like Gartner and Forrester to include you in their research and recommend you to users. This will take time and is not a guarantee but this guide will be a start to gaining analyst’s attention.
You need to have an open mind. Your company, your product, your service, etc. is likely your baby. You are likely biased towards it and you must be willing to listen. If an analyst thinks something about your solutions, there is a reason. The two options are it is true or you miscommunicated something. Which one it is you must figure out.
1. Have a decent product
As I said, this guide is not a cheat sheet so it will not get analysts to write about you when you have a bad product/service/solution. Notice, I did not say you need to have the best product in the world. But, you do need a product which solves a problem in the market.
2. Understand the analysts POV
Learn about the analyst’s point of view on the market. See their thoughts about problems users need solved and what they see as current priorities. Do this through reading their research, checking their social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Blogs, Etc) and asking the analyst.
3. Tell the analyst about your solution
Give the analyst(s) your 90 second elevator pitch which includes why your solution provides what customers need and why you are different than the 100 other vendors trying to catch their attention. Now I repeat, NINETY SECONDS. This is not an in depth technical explanation of how your product works – you can give that to them once you have their attention or they ask you for it. This conversation is meant to catch the analyst’s attention.
4. Ask the analyst their thoughts
Ask the analyst if the product/service/solution you’re selling actually fits what end users need and want. If you did the proper research before the conversation, the answer should be yes because you already knew what users were asking the analyst. But, you could be wrong because you are likely biased toward your solution.
If the analyst says yes, on to the next step.
If the analysts says no, ask why. Ask the analyst to explain and listen.
Best case scenario: you did not explain properly. If that is the case, try explaining your solution again.
Worst case scenario: your solution is missing the mark. If that is the case, ask more questions. Understand more about what users are asking the analyst and you may need to tweak your solution to fit the market.
5. Ask the analyst about your differentiators
Now that you know your solutions fits problems the analyst sees in the market, ask the analyst how your solution is different from others they have seen (the how in this question could also be an if).
I’ll give you an example of one analyst call I was on: The vendor and analyst were discussing the clients product. The clients product completely fit the needs of the market. It was an automation solution for service companies which is where the services market is headed. The vendor was not being very receptive and kept trying to tell the analyst why their solution was important for the market. The analyst messaged me that he agreed the services market needs automation but he had seen 100 other vendors with the exact same solution.
My point is just because you have a solution, doesn’t mean you’re the only one with that solution. Remember, at this point you have only given the analyst your 90 second elevator pitch. So if the analyst does not know your differentiator yet, that does not necessarily mean you do not have one. But, you should be able to quickly tell an analyst what makes you different from the competition – even if you take a longer time to actually show the analyst how you are different.
If you’re unable to tell the analyst your differentiator, you may not have one or you may need to give the analyst a full briefing and they can help you figure it out. If you do not have one, all hope is not lost. Ask the analyst where they see opportunity for differentiation. Ask the analyst where there is holes in the market. Continue asking thee analyst questions.
This post is not about helping you figure out your differentiators (there may be one in future) but Hank Barnes’ is a great resource to help you. A few great (free) blog posts:
- Things I’d Like to See Go Away – The Differentiators List
- The Impact of a Failure to Differentiate
- The Strongest Differentiator – A Different Point of View
6. Stay in Contact with the Analyst
While the previous five steps should let you catch the analysts attention, your work is not over. Analysts are human – they forget things. They track many vendors and everyone has the next new thing. You must continue having conversations with the analysts to keep your solution fresh on the analysts minds. For more ways to stay fresh on analysts minds, check out Creative, Actionable Advice for your Analyst Relations Strategy.
Getting analysts to consistently recommend your solution is not a one and done activity. It is consistent engagement with analysts: updating them on the product, discussing roadmaps and conversations around potential strategies. Engagement should be two-way telling the analyst about your solution and learning about your customers, competitors, market and technology from the analysts.
Let me know anything you’ve found which helps get analysts attention.