Did you know that briefing an industry analyst is not pay to play? Unlike inquiries or access to research, a call with an analyst to brief them on your product is free-of-charge, as it ensures analysts have the latest market information and remain the top experts in their field. It contributes to their unique vantage point and is the chance for your company to wow a trusted industry influencer.
But free does not mean guaranteed –so it’s key to leverage this opportunity in its entirety. Often you only have one shot to brief them – fail that first impression and you may not see them for another 12 months! That means clear preparation of your spokespeople to ensure success. Below is Starsight’s advice on training analyst briefing spokespeople and making the most of your analyst briefing.
Industry analysts are an audience like no other.
Do not fall into the trap of treating an analyst briefing like a press interview or a sales pitch. Analysts are not journalists and your PR agency’s spokesperson training will not suffice here. Analysts are a different audience who wants full product overviews and future vision, not news updates. Nor will your own company’s sales training fit the bill. An analyst advises tech buyers but are not ones themselves. Analysts are market experts with a unique vantage point that means their briefings require extra attention.
Make sure that you know what you want from an analyst briefing and prepare accordingly. Consider which of the four impacts of analyst relations you are appealing to in this conversation and make sure your spokesperson is aware of that goal. Spokespeople must also have analyst-specific training and access to background information on who the analysts are and why they are important for your mission. Briefing one of the FIGs (Forrester, IDC, Gartner) for inclusion in their evaluative reports is vastly different from briefing one of the hundred other analyst firms to activate analyst recommendations in market conversations.
Craft a briefing that makes sense for analysts.
Frame and wrap your briefing appropriately for your audience. Consider the last time you spoke to this analyst and what things they know about you already. Even if you have never spoken to them before, they are a market expert and likely know your company already. Don’t spend your first 15 minutes establishing credentials for instance by droning on the history of your business and explaining the market you operate in. As Cindy Zhou says, analysts already know this and will switch off –or be irritated.
Focus on your “so what?” rather than your history. Analysts receive 100s of briefings every year and your mission is to stand out from the crowd. Craft a presentation that highlights your differentiation in market and truly shows the analyst why your product is a clear choice for customers.
Cement your analyst briefing in reality.
Use customer case studies and up-to-date proof points to bring your story to life. Consider presenting these at the beginning of your presentation to help set the scene of what your product really does for your customers. This also ensures that you won’t run out of time to share them if they are placed at the end. As Jon Collins / GigaOm says, proof points can also help tell your story, but don’t reference stats from 10 years ago, ensure you only share the latest and greatest figures. Also remember – never present data from analyst research in an analyst briefing.
Don’t just say what you already do, but share your plans for the future. A product roadmap is a standout in an analyst briefing that demonstrate an understanding of the market and a future for your business. It’s no coincidence that vision is an axis on the Gartner Magic Quadrant, this stuff really matters when analysts speak to customers about futureproofing their technology stack. A vendor with vision for the future is more likely to be recommended.
Master presentation skills ahead of time.
Deliver three key messages, three times. This is a presentation must. Speaking for your allocated 30 minutes is great, but if you aren’t clear on your message and key takeaways for analysts, then it can just come across as a jumble of noise. Delivering three key messages, three times ensures you have crafted your takeaways and that they are remembered by your audience.
Prepare your speech and your slides. A great speaker will always pace, pause and pronounce effectively, which only comes with practice. Ensure you have a dry run ahead of time to nail that delivery. Alongside your speech, ensure you have great looking slides that tell a story with action titles. Oftentimes, people feel that more content means more influence but this is not the case. Starsight spends countless hours helping clients pare their decks down from 80 slides to an even 10, to keep analyst briefings on track with those three key messages.
Remember: analyst briefings are your chance to impress market influencers.
Starsight’s three takeaways are:
- Understand who analysts are and how they relate your business.
- Curate your content carefully and purposefully.
- Practice, practice, practice.
Armed with this knowledge, go forth and nail your next analyst briefing. For more advice check out our booklet of advice on briefings, direct from the analysts themselves. If you lack the in-house expertise to train spokespeople for analyst briefings, please reach out to us as we have more advice and can offer training packages where required.