Spring is a special time for marketing teams. Event season is around the corner, semi-annual budgeting and reviews are due soon, and lead volumes are starting to ramp up after the holiday season. But if there’s one thing that spring means for marketing, it’s analyst questionnaires & reports. You know—the all-powerful grids, benchmarks, reports, and quadrants that prove to the world that your solution is the best one out there.
Like most marketers I love analyst reports—at least the potential value they bring. They are instant pieces of rich content. Analyst reports bring credibility and brand recognition to a campaign, and they deliver a spike in confidence both internally and externally around your core offering. However, filling them out can be a challenging process.
You may be asking yourself what this has to do with RFP software? Well, this year I joined the RFPIO marketing team, and during my on-boarding product training, I kept thinking, “Why didn’t I have this for my analyst questionnaires?!” It immediately made the case to me for a robust response management platform to make the process easier.
I’d like to address some of the challenges analyst reports bring, and then give you my list of reasons why a response management solution like RFPIO can help you, my fellow marketer.
Analyst Questionnaires Require Extensive Resources
To be honest, I would sometimes dread seeing the yearly analyst questionnaires arrive at my desk. My job as a product marketer was busy enough. But in reality, these projects always required a team effort. Much like RFPs, marketing analyst reports require detailed answers from subject matter experts scattered across many departments.
Industry analyst questionnaires typically come in the form of an Excel document, with dozens to hundreds of questions. The questions range from basic company info to detailed summaries of annual user activity, and even the long term executive financial strategy.
As it turns out, even as a product expert I was only ever able to answer about 30 percent of analyst questionnaires independently. I would need to engage with 10 to 15 SMEs to answer a hundred questions, usually setting me back about 20 to 25 hours.
Many of the questions I found myself searching for had previously been answered by an SME as well. RFx and security questionnaire answers were often forwarded to me with comments like, “Hey Phill, I answered that question in a recent RFI, you will find your answer in the attached document.” It didn’t make sense to duplicate efforts, but this wasn’t a very efficient process either.
Licensing analyst content to support sales and marketing efforts can also be very valuable. While ROI from these assets is often hard to directly credit, keep in mind that 57 percent of the purchase decision is complete before a customer even calls a supplier, and 67 percent of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally (Curata). This all means that it’s wise to invest in content that influences the buyer as early in their journey as possible.
But it’s not cheap. An average marketing team can expect to pay anywhere from $10,000 to over $100,000 per report, for various levels of licensing rights.
The Analyst Questionnaire Response Process Takes Time
Filling out the marketing analyst questionnaires and then waiting on results happens over a period of months. Here’s what that process typically looks like:
Early Spring: Potential participants briefed on report, given required materials to complete with strict deadlines.
Early Summer: Reports and questionnaires due back to analyst groups. One to three months for review & processing.
Early Fall: Drafts of completed analyst reports issued to participants, along with licensing options.
This is pretty standard across the board, for all the major players. Some of the most popular and influential analyst research reports for technology companies include the Forrester Wave Report, Gartner’s Magic Quadrants, IDC, and HSF, to name a few.
Allocating time and resources to the process of submitting analyst questionnaires usually limits companies to participating in one or two reports per year. And even then, they may not like the results enough to license the content!
Some opt out of participating in the questionnaires altogether, but that runs the risk of not being represented on the grid at all. And that can give your competitors a leg up. So even if you choose not to license a report, by submitting the analyst questionnaire at least your logo will be represented.
Instead of deciding which one to submit, or whether or not to submit at all, with response management software you don’t have to choose.
7 Response Management Platform Benefits to Marketing
By leveraging RFPIO’s Answer Library, marketing teams can now participate in all questionnaires. I wish I had a time machine to go back and approach each of the above problems through the lense of response management software—specifically RFPIO. Instead, I will offer you the benefits that I didn’t realize were at my fingertips:
1. Saves Time
This is big. Multiple analyst questionnaires can be answered in less time and with fewer resources than a single questionnaire would require without response management software.
2. Mitigates Risk
The ability to complete all available questionnaires affords marketing teams the freedom to wait for all the results, and choose to invest in whichever licensing report tells their best story.
3. Improves Results
The recommendation engine within your RFPIO Answer Library draws from proven content already crafted by your subject matter experts, so you know what works.
4. Consistent Responses
You won’t be reinventing the wheel every time you fill out a questionnaire. With response management software our company’s voice will stay consistent and on brand across the board.
5. Project Management
All your concurrent projects and competing due dates are managed in a central location, to help you keep track of progress and monitor success.
6. Formatting Ease
Take back those hours you usually spend making fonts and spacing match up, and let RFPIO do the work. Then you can export right back to the source file or an approved template.
7. Familiar Platform
If your company is already using RFPIO, all this functionality is available to you right now. There are no add-on costs associated with using the platform for different types of projects.
If you’re struggling with analyst questionnaires, my fellow marketer, feast your weary eyes upon RFPIO. With a response management platform, you can challenge those old processes, make your job easier, and help your company tell its story in a more impactful way.
Interested in seeing a demo? Let us know.