Christine Tran

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AVP, Industry and Product Marketing, Quantum Metric
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Christine Tran
Christine Tran
AVP, Industry and Product Marketing, Quantum MetricJuly 28

This is the situation we're in right now. Our AR program is three years old and it's an ongoing initiative to identify and vet the right analysts, build relationships, and education/inform/influence their research roadmap. Here are a few tactics I'm using:

  1. Identify the analysts who (will) write the vendor guides that are relevant to your category. These usually precede a Wave or MQ.
  2. Write out your Wave or MQ criteria. Plot out your company and your competitors. Keeping those close to your chest :) Having this formulated and vetted internally can keep you and your executive team aligned on the goal and how to get there.
  3. Over time, analysts will churn so you have to keep continuing to build a pipeline of analysts where it makes sense.
  4. Keep communicating the other measures of outbound success (see Q&A on metrics). Those are absolutely important too and great milestones on your way to the bigger goal.
Christine Tran
Christine Tran
AVP, Industry and Product Marketing, Quantum MetricJuly 28

This is a great question and top of mind for me right now. 

For your executives, their primary goal may be to get into a Forrester Wave or Magic Quadrant. Yes, that would be the ultimate win, but it can be a long game AND there are many other ways to measure success over the life of a program.

There are two buckets of goals to measure success: 

  1. Drive awareness, pipeline, deal acceleration of your solution (outbound): I measure this through research mentions and perception audit.

    Analysts publish regular vendor guides. These are not evaluative but are important because 1) these usually precede a Wave or MQ, so you need to be in them if that's your ultimate goal and 2) serve as great validation and awareness for potential buyers. Forrester has Tech Tides, New Tech, and Now Techs, while Gartner has Market Guides, Hype Cycles, Competitive Landscapes, and Cool Vendors. Analysts also publish best practice research that can include relevant, referenceable case studies that you share with them.

    Perception audits are annual surveys that ask analysts how they perceive the strength of your solution, relative to competitive set, and if they have referred you in client inquiries. I like to include quantitative scoring and qualitative insights (verbatims). This gives you a great benchmark on progress over time of your analyst relations program.
  2. Drive insights for go-to-market activities and product strategy (inbound): This ones gets a little less love when your executives care most about a Wave or MQ. However, it's important to communicate impact here if you're leveraging analysts to drive insights back into your organization. I measure this through impact on GTM initiatives or product strategy, e.g. any tangible recommendations that the GTM or product team has acted on. At my organization, we've used analysts to help identify buying signals, understand buyer challenges, validate industry and initiative messaging, confirm our point of view on "where we fit," review our RFP template, review white papers, host roundtables and webinars, and much more! 

You can and should also share activities (# of briefings, # of inquiries, # of doc inquiries), but those just help you communicate how much time and resources are required to support above OKRs.

Quarterly or biannual is a good cadence for a formal executive readout. I also share research mentions on Slack and in company all hands as they occur to get the entire company excited about our traction and give the field another proof point for prospecting.

Christine Tran
Christine Tran
AVP, Industry and Product Marketing, Quantum MetricJuly 28

I covered the basic flow of an introductory briefing deck in another question. I'd be happy to connect with you 1-1 to walk through yours and share a bit of mine :) Find me on LinkedIn!

I've found 3 things that have really helped me have good analyst briefings.

  1. Being very thoughtful and very direct about why I've requested a briefing with that analyst. This gives the analyst context on why they should care about your solution, i.e. if you do a good job connecting the dots. As an example: You wrote X in Y report, and that's exactly what our customers tell us we solve for them. I thought it'd be helpful for your research to share how we do that... Or, You wrote X in Y report, and I found that very insightful and I'd love to share a slightly different take on it with how we do it and get your feedback on it in a follow up inquiry.
  2. Use this opportunity to share a unique POV. I love working with analysts because I learn so much from them. At the same time, they are also learning a lot about the market and the ecosystem by talking to customers and vendors as well. A brefing is an opportunity to educate analysts not just on your product, but on the customer problem you're solving. They care about customer problems, how customers are solving those problems, and trends/shifts in the technology landscape. That's how you wave yourself into the conversation.
  3. Customer stories. Customer stories. Customer stories. My rule of thumb is always include customer stories in your analyst briefings. If you don't have case studies yet, even quotes from prospects on the problem you're solving. Something, anything! Analysts care more about their clients, the problems you're helping their clients solve, and their research which hopefully you are making them smarter about.
  4. Competitive differentiation and/or where you "fit" in the ecosystem. This is about connecting the dots, being very transparent, and getting to brass tacks ;) They're going to put you somewhere. They're going to compare you with others. They're going to hear about you from customers. Be direct about your competitors (who you come up against in deals, who you anticipate), where you're different, and if there's not a clear category you fall in, where you fit (overlap, integrate) in the broader ecosystem of adjacent technologies. If you are still developing this, involve them in the process. It's a win-win because they enjoy this type of advisory, are very knowledgeable about the ecosystem, and it's great to include (and influence) them on your journey.
Christine Tran
Christine Tran
AVP, Industry and Product Marketing, Quantum MetricJuly 28

In general, a good flow for an introductory briefing deck is: 

  1. Introductions, and why you're here: I always like to start the conversation with a little context on why you've requested a briefing with the analyst. So I'll have a slide or just a few talking points on their specific research that sparked my request for a briefing. 
  2. Company overview: Before you jump into what you do, it helps to give analysts a bit of context and be very direct. This isn't a sales pitch. Analysts want to know a few basic things about the company like primary buyers, funding, size of company, leadership, etc.
  3. Problem you solve: This isn't your sales pitch. You are educating the analyst on the customer problem which they should really care about too. You're sharing some new insight, some shift, something that they can bring back to their client inquiries. Perhaps even challenging them to think about it (or the solution!) in a new way.
  4. Solution and where we "fit": This is where I share how our solution/platform works and how our solution/platform plays with other existing and adjacent categories. This is also where I speak directly about our competitors. They always want to know this and you want to be very intentional on what you say here.
  5. Customer stories: Finally, it's a best practice to include customer stories anytime you speak to analysts. First, because it brings the solution to life and gives it credibility. Second, customer stories can help influence their research. Over time, you may have a chance to feed customer stories to analysts that get included in their reports (which is always a major win!)

Finally, because most analyst briefings are 30 minutes to start with, I like to keep it to 15 slides or less. Leaving time for questions, both throughout and at the end of briefings. You'll notice there's no demo above. Most of the time, analysts don't want a demo on the first briefing. If they do, they'll usually give you a 45-60 minute briefing.

Also, if you haven't checked it out yet, both Gartner and Forrester have great research on this topic, with analysts who cover analysts relations!

Christine Tran
Christine Tran
AVP, Industry and Product Marketing, Quantum MetricJune 12

Purely tactical: I have a weekly cross-functional meeting with product and enablement, present on sales all hands, conduct regular road shows on sales team meetings, and meet on a case by case but semi-regular basis with sales leaders. Facilitate great meetings, offer PMM as a service, and follow up.

Christine Tran
Christine Tran
AVP, Industry and Product Marketing, Quantum MetricJune 4

Create a lot of content - start a blog, write about companies you admire/respect, do videos, create Slideshares. My instinct is that a sales person could be a great PMM fit but I want to see how they write and think.

Christine Tran
Christine Tran
AVP, Industry and Product Marketing, Quantum MetricJuly 18
Credentials & Highlights
AVP, Industry and Product Marketing at Quantum Metric
Product Marketing AMA Contributor
Lives In California
Knows About Analyst Relations, Analyst Relationships, Competitive Positioning, Product Marketing ...more