The role of the research analyst has evolved. In the past, analysts stayed in the background, keeping tabs on industries without much active involvement. Today, analysts blend information from traditional media and social networks to develop comprehensive industry pictures — and executives are paying attention.
Buyers in B2B markets depend on analysts’ advice and research papers to make purchase decisions. If one company attracts analysts' attention and another does not, the first is featured in the next industry trends report — while the other scrambles to explain its anonymity to prospects.
Analyst opinions will continue to carry weight in prospects’ minds for the foreseeable future. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, market analyst employment is on pace to grow to 23% by 2026. To keep clients interested, B2B companies must figure out how to attract the attention of these analysts to stay top-of-mind with potential buyers.
Analysts and credibility
When analysts ignore a company, that company loses its opportunity to make a good first impression. Analysts cover and rank companies based on their influence in the market, and when a company doesn’t make the cut, prospects question whether that company has the influence it claims.
Today, customers see analysts as trusted, unbiased advisors. Analysts’ neutral position means buyers don’t have to worry about their loyalties to one company over another. Customers rely on that trust to make purchase decisions, with analysts influencing two out of every five purchase decisions, per bloodsugarmagic. With analysts constantly present in the news and in interviews, few buyers today make decisions free from their influence.
The more visible you become, the more likely analysts will be to give your company attention in the next report or interview. Analysts will not give one company favorable treatment over another, but they will also not cover a company they don’t know much about.
Getting in front of the right faces
With so much of the purchase process in the hands of analysts, B2B companies must find ways to stand out. Follow these tips to attract analyst attention and work toward landing a spot in the next industry report:
1. Analyze the analysts
Research firms publish their methodologies and criteria, so if you're at a loss as to why you're not grabbing their attention, simply start here. Study those factors and compare them to your internal company data. Where are the discrepancies? Where does your company perform well, and which factors do analysts highlight that aligns with those strengths? Read into this data with the utmost care to see which factors carry the most weight in these influencers' eyes.
2. Conduct an inquiry
Only a portion of an analyst's insights makes it to the report. To discover the information that does not inquire with the company that conducted the study. Communicate with analysts to learn more about the research process and find out what paints some companies in a more favorable light.
Gartner, for example, offers companies the opportunity to dive deeper into the findings of its reports. Companies can ask about research interpretations, document, contract reviews, and company-related issues to develop a deeper understanding of how a report came to its conclusions. Through this deep dive, companies can gain the insight they require to position themselves in a better light for the next study.
3. Create personal connections
Seek opportunities to develop relationships with individual analysts. Use inquiries to make personal connections and get contact information. Look for industry analysts at conferences and networking events, and ask professional connections to make introductions.
What makes up analyst relations is threefold: You will want to brief the analyst on what you do, provide references from customers to justify your firm's value in the marketplace and keep regular touchpoints with the analyst that will actually grow a real relationship — not just a one-off instance of networking. When you do develop a personal relationship with an analyst, you will have a significant advantage in demonstrating the value your company delivers.
Today’s buyers spend more time researching — and less time speaking to salespeople than ever before. According to research from Gartner, 81% of buyers say that their highest-value conversations occur with technical experts, while only 38% say the same for salespeople. Analysts produce the research material these prospects read, so the best way to make a great first impression is to secure a spot in the next analyst report; and with these steps, you're well on your way to making it happen.