How Industry Analysts Can Help You Land Your Next Promotion as a PMM

Product Marketing Managers (PMMs) are closer to Analyst Relations (AR) than many might think. In companies with lean AR programs, PMMs often take full responsibility for executing the AR strategy or occasionally briefing analysts. In larger organizations with dedicated AR managers, PMMs are essential in supporting the execution of these programs. 

The relationship between Analyst Relations managers and PMMs can sometimes feel one-sided or merely transactional—AR managers request slides and questionnaire responses, and PMMs deliver. 

However, a strategic approach to working with industry analysts can significantly enhance your career as a PMM. If you have a good AR manager in your company, they should guide you through the process. If not, keep on reading and we’ll explore how you can leverage the industry analysts to become a leading expert in your market category, enhancing your value to your company and securing that next promotion.

But first, let’s quickly explain who are these industry analysts and analyst firms and why they matter in the tech landscape

Understanding the Role of Industry Analysts and Their Firms

Industry Analysts are specialized experts in sectors including Software as a Service (SaaS). These individuals are not merely observers but influential figures with deep knowledge of industry trends, technological developments, customer preferences, and competitive dynamics. They often bring years of experience and are highly regarded for their insights and impartiality.

Analyst Firms, such as Gartner, Forrester, and IDC, are the powerhouses behind these experts. These firms produce in-depth market research, forecasts, and evaluations that influence buyer decisions across the enterprise spectrum. A positive mention or a high ranking from these firms can significantly enhance a product’s market visibility and credibility, which can, in turn, impact sales and market share.

Why Analyst Influence Is Crucial

In the SaaS world, the impact of these firms and their analysts is substantial. Their analyses and recommendations carry weight with a wide (especially enterprise) audience, from potential clients to investors. They are often the go-to sources for organizations seeking to adopt new SaaS solutions. A favorable mention or a high ranking in one of their reports can significantly boost a product’s visibility and credibility. This, in turn, can directly influence sales and market share, making them an indispensable component in the marketing strategy.

Many people have asked me “why does this one person’s opinion or analysis mattermatters so much?”

And it’s the right question to ask. It’s strange to think that one individual has so much power over a specific market. The reality is that industry analysts do hold a position more unique than anyone else in the market. Why? Because they are literally the only people in your market category who:

  • talk to 100s of vendors in the space

One of my key analysts once told me: “There are’s 300 vendors in your market category, I regularly talk to around 100 of them. I choose the top 30-40 for my market landscape research. I pick the top 10-15 for my in-depth evaluative research (Wave)”. 

  • connect with software buyers and users

One of the key audiences for industry analysts is not only vendors but buyers. They connect with analysts on a daily basis to get their advice on use cases, software choices, challenges and pain points. Enterprise companies contract industry analysts to advise them in their software procurement processes and shortlist creation. 

  • have access to detailed RFIs of your top 10 competitors

If you ever participated in or saw what an average RFI for analyst evaluation looks like, you know what I am talking about. If not, then know that this is very similar to a sales RFP and it’s around 200 questions covering everything from your product capabilities to differentiators, vision, market strategy, customer retention, services and support, and financial performance. Simply put, every single facet of your company 

  • speak to clients of your competitors during reference calls 

As part of analyst evaluation, the analyst will speak to around 3 clients per vendor participating to validate the vendor. Even though they will never name names, they will share the insights they learn from clients with you, if you ask the right questions. 

  • get 2-hour-long product demos and briefings

A standard part of each analyst evaluation is a 2-hour-long session. In the first part, the briefing deck is presented. This part covers the company’s vision, value prop and innovation. It also uncovers short-term and long-term roadmap along with key business metrics. The second part is a product demo – this is usually a strictly defined set of scenarios that the vendor needs to show. Many times, the analysts create a hypothetical selling situation with a clear definition of the prospect. 

  • get regular updates from the key market players

Almost every company that comes up in Waves or MQs has a dedicated personnel (i.e. the Analyst Relations Manager) who works on regularly updating the analysts of the newest developments in the company. Think of new product releases, brand new product lines, changes in positioning, new pricing & packaging. 

All of the bullets above show you the breadth of insight analysts have about you (if you actively participate in AR activities) and your competitors as well as the market category in general. 

Among so much information and noise that the analysts receive on a daily basis, software vendors create eloquent strategies that ensure their briefing or key message sticks. 

Leveraging Analyst Insights for Your Career

Now, that we covered why analysts know so much information, let’s look at how you can tap into this resource and leverage industry analysts to bolster your role as a PMM at a software company: 

  • Learn about upcoming market disruptors ahead of the curve
    • Use inquiry to ask about upcoming market trends and vendors to look out for
  • Gain competitive intel
    • Set up the doc review with your analyst to review your battle cards
  • Consult your market positioning
    • Use briefing to give the analyst your new pitch, and subsequently schedule an inquiry to get their feedback
  • Conduct buyer behavior research
    • A huge part of an analyst’s work is advising software buyers. Take it to your advantage and set up an inquiry with them about what the buyers are looking for right now 
  • Get data for market sizing
    • Analyst firms collect plenty of financial and customer data during their research
  • Test your new messaging
    • Analysts can act as your target buyers and give you immediate feedback. They can also compare your messaging to that of your major competitors
  • Get feedback on pricing & packaging
    • Send your new pricing to the analyst for review. They know all of your competitors’ pricing strategies
  • Improve customer retention strategies
    • Ask analysts for ideas to spice up your customer success strategies. They are close to decision makers and business users
  • Get early intel for M&A activities
    • Analysts not only follow established enterprises but also up-and-coming vendors in the space

What If You Don’t Have Access to Analyst Services?

Your company doesn’t have a subscription with major analyst firms? Fear not! There are still ways to tap into analyst research via publicly available resources:

  • To access big evaluations, search websites of participating vendors – specifically Leaders. Vendors buy licenses to share this content via a gated lead form. After filling out the form, you will be able to gain full access to the report
  • Analysts write blog posts to tee up their reports (whether evaluations or topical research). Blog posts are for free and even though they don’t give you a full picture, you get the primary gist of the report from them too
  • Vendors organize webinars with analysts about different topics that are relevant to the market category at the moment. Again, they may use these webinars to collect leads and therefore it’s your opportunity to access it for free. 
  • Follow analysts on their social media. They share their thoughts there, for example after attending vendor events and these insights are completely for free. 

Engaging with industry analysts can be a game-changer for PMMs looking to advance their careers and influence their companies’ strategies. By understanding the analysts’ role and leveraging their insights, you can position yourself as a key player in your industry and surpass people who have yet to discover and profit from the analyst insights.

 

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