Analysts told us what they want, let’s follow their guidance.
Analysts take briefings from vendors so they can understand from the vendor’s perspective how they position themselves in the market; the vendor briefing does not determine an analyst’s viewpoint on the vendor, but these meetings are important to influencing the analyst’s mindset. Briefings give vendors a great opportunity to share what problems they solve, how they are differentiated from the competition and important data about the company.
Analysts get frustrated when vendors don’t take the time to get the basics right. If vendors want analysts to really understand their products, offerings and value, they need to nail the analyst briefings, but many do not. Gartner analyst Anton Chuvakin crowdsourced his best and worst briefing stories here. Two analysts recently commented on Twitter:
Joseph Blankenship @infosec_jb tweeted “Vendors, if the PR firm you hired to do analyst relations for you doesn’t know how analysts and analyst firms schedule their briefings, should that firm being doing your AR? What are you even paying for?” (Apr 4, 2019)
Rick Holland @rickhholland tweeted “I hate it when a vendor is asked who their top competitors are and you get: “we don’t have any actual competitors, we are unique” > if you aren’t comfortable naming competitors you aren’t confident in your ability to beat them.” (March 4, 2019)
Read below to keep analysts engaged and at the very least, a little less frustrated.
Prepare for the process
- Don’t ask an analyst how to set up a briefing. Ask the firm you want to brief, a firm sales representative, the IIAR, the Forrester AR Council, #archat on twitter, or me.
- Before you engage with an analyst, do some basic research about the processes of the firm, the analyst, their coverage. Read what they write on Twitter and LinkedIn. Be prepared to respond. Forrester analyst @Josh Zelonis has taken the time and effort to tell his vendors exactly what he wants here.
- Train your spokesperson. They need talking points and guidance on how to respond to key questions.
- One of the best vendor analysts in the world is Gartner’s Hank Barnes; he shared his take on the analyst briefing here:
- Take the perspective of a super saavy Senior Marketing Exec, who crushes this topic.
- Gartner’s Todd Berkowitz shared his quick tips.
Prepare your content
- During a briefing, analysts are in “listen and information gathering” mode. Be prepared to provide customer stories, key stats about your company, your go-to-market plans, your roadmap, share information about what problems your prospects and customers are trying to solve, and how your offering is different than other solutions.
- In Rick Holland’s presentation on the topic, he shares important and frequently ignored advice: Be prepared with your number of paying customers, pricing model, revenue, forecasted revenue and burn rate.
- Keep your deck relevant to what’s important to the analyst and to your differentiators.
- When in doubt, add more customer stories.
- Don’t quote one analyst firm to another. It’s not going to help the conversation.
- If your deck is 72 pages, something is wrong. Be concise! Former Forrester analyst @chenxiwang covers this requirement.
- Be real on this one: Quickly self-identify your top 2-3 competitors, but don’t spend valuable time on this topic.
- Don’t let conferencing technology waste your time. Send a pdf of your deck ahead of time.
- Avoid buzzwords. Former Forrester Analyst James Kobielus @jameskobielus tweeted it best: “When a vendor’s PR team includes phrases such as “world’s leading…” in their news release headline, I’m sure they think it makes them stand out. Seeing a steady stream of these marketing puff-phrases, all I can think is that it makes them sound like one of the pack. (March 22, 2019)
If you’ve read this far, you’ve realized there’s an art to briefing an analyst. Follow some basic guidelines to help your organization improve each interaction and your overall relationships with analysts.
Thank you Joseph Blankenship for the initial inspiration and for taking the time connect and share your expertise.
Please comment with your briefing twists or stories.