Analysts will not endorse any vendor directly. Your goal with AR is to help shape their POV about the market, especially if this is a new category and ultimately get well positioned on MQs and Wave reports. Shaping their POV means showing analysts how customers are getting value from this new type of solution and what critical capabilities that are required to be successful. Do this by building a personal relationship with the analysts, sharing insights, connecting them with your customers, and keeping them updated about your roadmap and product innovation.
It may be a controversial pov, but my perspective is that the analyst community is getting disrupted by DTC user review sites like G2, TrustRadius, and the others. Customer voice is just as powerful as it's ever been, but now, there are increasingly more and more ways to access that customer voice in context of making purchasing decisions.In 7 years of building Gainsight, I think the only value we had from working with analysts was sponsoring a thought leadership paper with Forrester. It was expensive (~$100K) but allowed us to leverage the brand equity of a trusted brand in the market to validate our category and messaging. I don't think spending the $50-$100k / year is very helpful for growing companies, but could be more important to prioritize later in a company's lifecycle -- or if you sell direct to CIOs or in regulated industries.Put that budget towards customer marketing instead.
I recommend creating a more high-level analyst stategy that outlines your actual need for analyst partnerships. Once you and your stakeholders are aligned on the need, you need to carefully select analyst partners who will drive the desired results. Do your research. Ask for references. Be critical of their proposals and scope of work. Get involved in the research. Ask questions. Good luck!