Interview with Anjali Yakkundi
On the latest episode of The Bendy Show, I had the pleasure of speaking with Anjali Yakkundi, a former Forrester analyst turned product marketing executive.
In addition to being an expert in Digital Asset Management, Anjali has spent the past few years building a very successful career in Product Marketing, including: strategy, market research, analyst relations, pricing, packaging, and go-to-market messaging. She’s incredibly passionate about her role and having spent eight years as an analyst at Forrester, she’s able to lean into her experiences working with a variety of vendors across multiple spaces.
I’ve been fortunate to partner with Anjali in the past, and I must admit she’s an excellent and very tough analyst. This podcast recaps the insights Anjali has gained from being an analyst and now working on the vendor side -- it’s an incredibly difficult career pivot that every AR expert can learn from.
Anjali’s top findings from working both sides of the aisle
The analyst landscape is constantly evolving
Things are constantly changing in the analyst world. Analysts come and go, smaller firms make big moves, and analyst firms put out new products. AR and product marketing teams have to stay current in this evolving landscape.
Analysts are as influential as we think
As an analyst, it was one thing to check in with my clients to see if they read my research, but working from the outside has solidified for me just how influential analysts are. For product marketing at my current organization, our top-performing assets are always reprints of analyst reports.
It’s not pay-to-play
I want to put this to bed, especially when talking about how much influence there is in the analyst space. Working with analysts is all about strategic conversations and relationship building. I’ve seen this firsthand from the vendor side.
As an analyst, what Anjali appreciated most about analyst relations
This may sound really simple, but respect goes a long way. As a female analyst at Forrester, I can’t tell you how many times I was ignored or overlooked despite my influence. The vendors who put me in front of their c-suite for briefings and created a productive environment were the ones I appreciated most.
I loved the vendors who brought a fresh perspective and strategy. There were so many who came to briefings just to reiterate well-known trends, such as the hype of personalization or another topic I had been covering for years. New ideas are what made me pay attention as an analyst.
It’s all about providing proof -- whether it be via a phone call with a customer, customer quotes, or success stories.
How to measure the real business benefits of analyst relations
You can track the number of briefings and inquiries, but all this does is showcase output rather than outcome.
Track your pipeline that’s analyst attributed.
Whether the analyst found you via a wave, magic quadrant, market guide, or a report featuring one of your customers, create an automated process to keep score. Our BDRs and sales reps are able to tag this metric in Salesforce so we can measure analyst influence.
Track report mentions
Anytime you’re mentioned in a report, make note and define the source. This could be a customer, partner of your organization, or an actual evaluation. Make sure to be specific.
Track content-driven metrics
If you’re licensing reprints, this is especially important to measure and confirm if analyst content is performing and influencing -- this also includes your current customer base and cross-selling. It will also help determine if your content is working at every stage of the customer journey.
Closing thoughts and resources
For Anjali, the definition of success for analyst relations is to serve as an expert that provides value. You should be able to have meaningful conversations with analysts about the future of your market and help each other learn. Being curious about what’s next and where the market will turn can help foster meaningful conversations and build strong relationships.