Originally published on www.elearningindustry.com
Although customer word-of-mouth is important, don’t forget about analysts. It’s crucial to ally with industry analysts who can help you get the word out rapidly.
Analyst Relations is a Critical LMS Marketing Strategy
The best marketers I know spend a lot of time measuring what works and what converts leads into sales. Unfortunately, you can only measure so much. You may have already learned that sometimes you must go with your gut. There are reasons why your sales are slumping or why you are growing rapidly, that you may never discover. If you can find those reasons, it’s usually one of three things:
- The economy, which you will never be able to control.
- How much competition you have (or don’t have), which you won’t be able to control.
- The last one, and most important one, is word of mouth. This you can affect!
There are many different types of word of mouth, but the most important (behind customers) are generated by industry analysts and LMS selection consultants.
In this crowded, noisy, and confusing market, the big buyers rely on analysts for direction. Especially the big companies, because there is just too much at stake if they make a bad purchase decision. Also, big companies tend to have accounts with analysts like Gartner, so they use them to find the right vendors.
Here are some insider secrets to benefit the most from industry analysts.
Take a Ηybrid Approach
We don’t all have $45,000 to spend on Gartner to get their time, input, and research. I recommend a hybrid approach for working with analysts.
- Pick a couple of analysts who you think will help the most and invest your time and budget with them. These will be your go-to firms that appreciate what you do and are more likely to say nice things about you.
- Do briefings with all industry analysts on a consistent basis. If you’re not meeting at least once a year with 10-15 analysts, then you’re leaving money on the table.
At the end of this article is a list of the top learning industry analysis and selection consultants that you should talk to.
Always Have a Point of Contact On Both Sides
There must be someone at the firm who can reach directly via email or phone. In turn, you should assign a point of contact within your own organization who can quickly respond to calls or requests from analysts. That way, the lines of communication are open and there isn’t any confusion about who to contact when clients have a question or concern. Even more important, there is no delay in getting back to them. Analysts are extremely busy, so they’re not going to track you down and they will appreciate rapid response.
Map Out Your Briefings Beforehand
A briefing is your chance to meet with analysts and selection consultants who cater to your product category. The key is to plan ahead and familiarize yourself with each firm before the meeting and identify what their client base is looking for and how your product fits into the market. Provide them reference materials that summarize your key USPs and specs. Which makes it easier for them to recommend relevant tech platforms to their clients.
The reason most learning technology vendors fail with analysts is because it’s time-consuming and requires a lot of planning. However, when you understand the importance of the analysts’ word of mouth to your business, then it makes it a lot easier to justify this valuable investment.
Important Learning Industry Analysts and LMS Selection Consultants
- Aptitude Research Partners
Analysts: Mobile Lombardie & Madeline Laurano
- Aragon Research
Analyst: Jim Lundy
- Bersin by Deloitte
Analyst: Janet Clarey
- Brandon Hall Group
Analysts: David Wentworth & Michael Rochelle
- Chapman Alliance
Analyst: Bryan Chapman
- Claire Schooley Consulting
Analyst: Claire Schooley
- Craig Weiss Group
Analyst: Craig Weiss
- Donald H. Taylor (UK)
Analyst: Donald Taylor
- Fosway Group (UK)
Analysts: David Wilson & David Perring
Analysts: Jeff Freyermuth & Carol Roswell
Analysts: Kevin Oakes & Kevin Martin
Analysts: Cushing Anderson & Linda Rowan
- LaRocque & #HRWINS
Analyst: George LaRocque
- Learning Light (UK)
Analyst: David Patterson
Research & Advisory
Analyst: Ben Eubanks
- RedThread Research
Analysts: Dani Johnson & Stacia Garr
Analyst: Stacey Harris
- Simba Information
Analyst: Kathy Knights Mickey
- Talented Learning
Analyst: John Leh
- Training Industry
Analysts: Doug Harward & Ken Taylor
- Wainhouse Research
Analyst: Alan Greenberg
If you want to get more tips and tricks for LMS marketing, download the free eBook 10 Marketing Strategies That No Learning Tech Vendor Can Live Without.
About the Author
Gordon Johnson has been a marketing leader in the corporate L&D industry for over twenty years. His specialty is developing transformative marketing strategies that generate qualified sales opportunities, employing the latest digital marketing channels, coupled with traditional techniques to achieve industry-leading brand awareness, widespread web presence and high-impact value propositions. Other marketing concentrations include content marketing, messaging, social marketing, positioning strategy, analyst relations, events, account-based marketing (ABM), email marketing, customer success and lead-generation. Contact Gordon.