Whether it’s Gartner, Forrester, IDC or otherwise, validation from a reputable, independent and credible source is something every B2B technology firm craves.

An effective Analyst Relations programme can be key to your content marketing strategy, particularly when prospects slip further down the marketing funnel towards the comparison stage.

As part of the selection process, prospects will often use analyst reports to help them narrow down their vendor shortlist. Whether it’s a market analysis, vendor profile reports or “those” quadrants, many IT buyers enlist the help of industry analysts to seek help and guidance on selecting a service provider that best suits their needs.

Which Stage?

Traditionally, IT buyers will look to analysts to help at the latter stages of the buyer journey. However there is a case to be made for buyers using their services for every stage:

Awareness

The earliest stage when IT buyers first realise they are experiencing a problem. A common step in order to identify this problem is educational research, which helps them better understand and frame the problem.

As part of any research project, analyst firms produce reports in line with particular pain points and challenges in a range of market segments and solution areas.

In-depth impartial analysis will often be the first port of call for IT buyers looking for a greater understanding of the issue they are facing.

Purchasing web rights to such reports and promoting them, or going one step further and sponsoring a piece of research which explores a specific problem area will help align your brand with the issue from the off.

Consideration

This is where the buyer is considering the point of difference between various solutions and potentially drawing up a shortlist of vendors to select from.

Market share reports, Wizardly Quadrants and others will all help the buyer evaluate vendors. This kind of research though isn’t something any amount of financial clout can influence, so having an Analyst Relations strategy and briefing the right analysts at the right time is key. A lot of the time; if you’re not in the report, you’re not in contention!

Web right to these reports can again be purchased and publicised though and this content should be easy to access with a low gate that simply asks for name and email, allowing sales a route in.

Decision

So your prospect has identified the problem, drawn up the shortlist and is now actively looking to make a decision. Great news, but there’s still a way to go before they’re a customer.

Company-produced datasheets are great, but for additional impact a case study or technical evaluation produced impartially by a reputable analyst firm will be a lot more impactful.

Having a pre-existing relationship with analysts covering a solution area will certainly hold you in good stead when it comes to interviewing your customers for a case study, or understanding the basics of your business before drafting a technical evaluation of a product or service.

While it’s true some of the options above are sponsored content, cultivating a relationship with key influencers at these large analyst firms is an ongoing process. For example, briefing the right analyst at the right time is crucial, particularly when it comes to market analysis reports.

Independent reports and impartial analysis from analyst firms can one of the most powerful weapons in your content armoury. Putting in a little legwork by identifying analysts and engaging them around the report-writing stage can go a long way to convincing prospects to select your company’s solution or services.

Find out how to be front of mind for both analysts and prospects with an Analyst Relations programme. Say hello@hitfirstbase.com.

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