Beth is the founder of Torrie Communications, a firm specializing in analyst relations, positioning & messaging, as well as customer-centric marketing. Beth has spent 20 years in technology, helping companies large and small differentiate and grow their business. With 5 successful exits under her belt, Beth has a reputation for transitioning goals into results. She specializes in using customer-driven differentiation, market research, industry analysts and upstream influencer programs to fine tune and amplify the right messaging and increase revenue. You can listen to her podcast about analyst relations here.
Why are you passionate about helping services businesses?
Services organizations have unique challenges in that they need to differentiate on their people, expertise, certifications, support and services. Many times, minor tweaks to packaging and positioning can make a big difference in revenue without major investments.
You have been working with industry analysts for 20+ years, building analyst relations programs inside organizations and now as a consultancy. When is the right time to start a formal analyst program, and how should companies measure success?
Analyst Relations programs are resource intensive in terms of research contracts and executive time. It is important to start when you can answer the most important questions: Who is your ideal client and why? What do you offer that no one else does? Can you share five customer success stories that highlight your differentiators?
Where do you think companies go wrong when it comes to getting a better return on their analyst investments?
Research contracts are very expensive; I see a ton of folks simply not using them, or not using them enough to justify the costs. If your organization purchases a research contract, the value of that contract needs to be justified on a regular basis. It’s also really important to identify the goal of the research relationship. Is it influence, learning or both? And then to make sure every interaction is working to meet one of those goals.
How do you help your clients work with analysts to become a more frequently recommended vendor?
When analysts hear a well-honed value proposition, they connect that value with problems they hear in the market. Analysts speak with hundreds (or more) clients who need vendors to help them. The first step is to create a clear, carefully constructed differentiated message to help the analysts understand how your services help your clients. When you share that message, plus a great roadmap and customer references who can back it all up, you’ll have the attention of the analyst. Analysts genuinely want to connect end user clients with vendors who are going to help solve problems. Then it’s a matter of engaging those analysts in a consistent and collaborative way that influences their agenda and perspective on you and the market.
You’ve built customer reference programs for a number of companies over the years. Where should companies start when it comes to building a program like this?
Any company looking to grow will need references for sales, investors, partners, analysts, press and more. It’s important to have a centralized source of who the best customers are, their status, their NPS (even anecdotally), transparency and reporting for the requests the organization is making for each reference, and if possible, the results of those reference calls. Customer reference programs take a unique level of organization and communication, but it starts with assigning an owner, and it should be someone senior. There should be a discussion at the C-level at least every month to monitor this topic.