Forrester Research’s Kevin Lucas raises a good question: what core corporate business value can your analyst relations program deliver? His point is that AR programs shouldn’t commit to delivering sales value unless there’s good reason to do so. As logical as that advice may sound, I don’t agree with it.
Analyst relations programs can be designed to deliver on a wide range of business objectives. There’s no reason to shy away from aligning AR with the customer purchase decision process. In fact, that has been the basis of the analyst business — and analyst relations — since the late 80s.
What you can’t do, is bolt sales performance expectations onto an existing AR program. Objectives are fundamental to how you design, staff, fund and measure an AR program.
A legacy AR program — perhaps focused primarily on what’s said during a conference, or improving where your dot is placed on quadrants — is not going to shorten sales cycles tomorrow because somebody issues an edict today.
The magic wand scenario just doesn’t fly.
That doesn’t mean that an AR program can’t deliver sales value. It means that delivering sales value will take time. It will take intention. It will take planning.
Kevin asks a good question. It’s up to each of us to come up with a good answer.