Insider Tips for Standing out in Analyst Briefings
Feb 01, 2017
Of the more than hundred vendor briefings I do each year, some companies shine as articulate and insightful, while others are relegated to my transcript archives. The former remain consistently top of mind; the latter might sporadically resurface in a keyword search on my desktop. As a handy reference, here is a “what works” list, common to most companies and PR firms that really stand out. I hope this helps you streamline your AR/PR outreach and further increase the value you get from your relationship with Frost & Sullivan as well as other analyst firms you may work with.
Develop a Relationship – This is at the top of the list, because it really is the most important yet is often overlooked. Briefings and inquiries both run more smoothly and deliver better value when there’s familiarity and mutual respect. A PR firm that specializes in your industry can give you a boost on this front if you are just beginning your AR/PR outreach – strength in relationship building is inevitably a feature of the best PR firms we come across. You can easily do this yourself as well. As analysts we welcome “get to know you” briefings to learn about your company, and determine where in our coverage you might fit. We’re not pay-for-play and are eternally curious, so don’t be shy about reaching out. But that’s only the beginning. Meetings at trade shows, even brief ones, are a great way to put faces to names – follow-up briefings become that much more engaging. Keep in mind that we’re habitually wary of drinking the Kool-Aid. If you’re pitching a new product or making a strategic pivot, keep us in the loop on new customer wins, general-availability product releases, and pretty much anything that draws the line from concept to concrete at your end.
Avoid Death by PowerPoint – An excruciatingly detailed set of slides accompanied by a monolog is the least effective ways to conduct a briefing. Interactive discussions that demonstrate your expertise, credibility and competitive differentiation result in more favorable and more long-lasting impressions. They are also likely to result in refreshingly informative briefing experiences for you. Rather than a one-way data dump, proactively use questions like “do you agree with our assumption that…”, or “how do you think this relates to …..” to trigger interactive discussions and pivot the conversation if necessary. If you will be relying on slides, it’s a good idea to send them ahead via email, since conference bridges don’t always work as expected.
Be Available – Research studies tend to be developed on tight schedules. A short 15-minute call scheduled in timely fashion is better than a long-delayed hour-long briefing. Responding quickly to preliminary market estimates helps ensure that you are represented accurately in published research, and gives you another opportunity to shape or influence the message. Going back to relationship building - we’re quite self-aware when pushing the scheduling envelope on occasion. For vendors who make the effort to accommodate us, we’re inevitably glad to return the favor as the need may arise.
Livestream Your Sessions/Talks - Not every analyst who touches your market is able to travel to physical events. Even if these presentations or panel discussions are at trade shows, we’re frequently multiple-booked and may not be able to stay for the whole event. Broadcasting the event via live stream, or (better) having it available to stream on demand, significantly increases our chances of viewing the material you worked so hard to put together. Having the videos in archive for us to be able to view later (i.e. when we’re actively updating a relevant market study) is invaluable.
It’s Not Just About the PR - Analysts are reliable resources to test assumptions, validate product roadmaps, and refine prospect lists. Especially if you are a subscriber – but even if you’re not – have your product managers talk to the analysts, or at least listen in on briefing calls. We talk to customers, suppliers and competitors, and can offer a comprehensive and unvarnished view of your market. Marketing briefings are useful in their own right, but conversations with product managers and technology/strategy leaders tend to be more “real” and give us deep insight into your competencies and market position. This directly translates into more accurate positioning within our studies. It also improves our confidence in recommending you to potential customers or investors.
Be an Active Consumer of Research - One of my key responsibilities is to give you the data you need, in a format that is useful to you. No two companies are alike in how they view and measure the world. Don’t be shy about asking questions about any research you subscribe to. We typically publish a small fraction of all the data and insight we have – it’s essentially the tip of an iceberg. Any competent analyst will be more than happy to get on the phone to answer questions, and provide follow-up material as needed. Data is increasingly commoditized; implications and guidance on the “so-what” takeaways are what enable you to translate data into information, and information into growth strategies.
Keep It Real - As analysts, we tend to know our markets inside-out. We are well aware of trends, undercurrents, challenges and the current state of buzzword bingo. While we are resigned to a frequent fate of glossy marketing pitches and inflated performance numbers, our job is to uncover what’s real. Candid conversations on your strengths, weaknesses, roadmap and growth plans help build trust and engage our interest. We’re happy to share our candid opinions in return. I’m often pulled into calls to share and discuss insights that run against the grain of the internal team – these open discussions deliver real value, and real savings, to our customers.
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