If a major research firm decides to cover your company’s newly announced partnership, product, or set of solutions in a report, you may be very excited–and nervous. After all, many enterprise technology deals, both large and small in dollar amount, are influenced by the analyst community. That’s why your PR firm is getting you the meetings, right? To influence the influencers, so to speak, and get the coverage and swayed opinions that will put you on the short list, automatically. A cynical commentary could work to sour market reception of your solution and put you in defense mode when you’d rather be promoting the benefits of the partnership, or all of the elegant and innovative things your technology can do.
The upside is that you do have a voice in the process – you get the chance to get in front of them, if your firm has the relationships and an understanding of analyst relations strategy and process. And, some firms, not all, but some, such as Gartner, give you a chance to review what is being said. If an analyst firm gives you this opportunity, here are a few pointers that will help you to avoid annoying the influencers:
- Respect the deadline. If they give you four days to provide what is known as “vendor review,” assemble your team and go over the draft in time to give them the comprehensive response they desire. If you need more time, request it, thanking them for the opportunity to provide feedback. Don’t blow through the deadline by being unresponsive or bark at them about the time constraints.
- Avoid the temptation to blast back with marketing fluff. Respond to criticism with valid evidence that shows ways in which your product is exemplary. Show how your company will solve a problem by providing a unique solution. Competitively differentiate your product to get ranked higher in market landscape. Provide statistics and metrics of success (both yours and your customers), if you can. Analysts see through hyperbole (that’s their job), so give them substance, not fluff, when possible.
- Stand your ground, but be nice about it. Honey will attract more flies than vinegar, and courtesy rules the day. The analyst won’t be intimidated nor swayed by rude comments or condescension, so check your attitude and put on your helpful hat.
Vendor review can be a time fraught with tension and debate, but it’s also an opportunity to meet analysts and build relationships with them. If you connect with one or two on the research team, you’ll come to understand the way they think, and you’ll learn how to address issues preemptively, before you announce your next partnership or product release.