Have the answers to your speakers’ questions, before they even ask them

Aug 09, 2018

Best practices

Have the answers to your speakers’ questions, before they even ask them

“Why am I talking to this analyst?”

How many times have you received this question from one of your speakers? Or maybe it was this question, right before the call started: “Oh yeah, Joe Analyst, I remember him. What did I talk about with him last time?”

Regardless of whether it’s your CEO or a technical subject matter expert, analyst relations is never the full-time job of your speakers. Setting them up for success through deliberate coaching is a critical function of a well-run AR program.

How do you prepare your speakers?

We know AR pros are tasked with making sure whomever is speaking with an analyst is prepared for the conversation. But what does being prepared for an analyst interaction mean? What kind of context and background information does your speaker need to know? How can you make him or her feel the most confident and convincing when speaking with this analyst?

We’ve prepped many speakers at Spotlight, and we’ve found focusing on the following aspects not only gives speakers context they need for an interaction, confidence in their product and strategic knowledge, but also trust in your AR program. When prepping speakers for inquiries, briefings, or even 1-on-1 meetings we suggest you:

  • Dig up the history: Remind them of the last time they spoke with this analyst. Summarize the high level points and key takeaways from the interaction. Make sure they remember any deliverables that were sent afterwards, or any lingering, open-ended questions the analyst had the last time they spoke. Analysts keep their own set of well-kept notes, so it’s possible an analyst will reference topics from the past interaction. Make sure those items are top of mind for your speakers too. And if they have never spoken with this analyst before? Remind them of that, too so they can make a proper introduction.

  • Set the stage: Make sure your speakers know which type of interaction they are having. An analyst would be very bothered if in an inquiry your product team spent 20 minutes talking through your sales deck about your number of customers and revenue growth. It’s critical that your speakers understand the difference between a briefing and an inquiry and are prepared for either. Let them know ahead of time which talk track they need to have – a succinct company overview or a series of thoughtful questions from which they can gain analyst insight.

  • Establish a goal: What are you hoping to gain from this interaction? What is the analyst looking for? Align your desired message with your speaker’s talk track to ensure the time is well-spent. Without a high-level goal in mind, your speaker could derail (or allow the analyst to derail) the precious time you have allotted for this meeting. Make the most of everyone’s time by establishing clear interaction goals with your speakers beforehand. Are you trying to influence the analyst? Introduce him or her to new product features? Get feedback on your roadmap? The types of goals are endless, so make sure your speaker knows what needs to be accomplished before you dial in.

  • Thoughtfully connected through context: You may use certain terminology in your organization, but the analyst may use different words to describe the same thing. The best conversations with analysts are when both parties are using common language. Using the same words helps you know where the analyst is coming from, and it helps your speakers be productive more quickly. Help your speakers prepare by giving them reports to look at so they have context of the type of language the analyst typically uses.

  • Review your long-term strategy: At Spotlight we know that having specific interaction goals only works if you have a long-term AR strategy that’s helping you reach your desired state with your key analysts. Building advocates and influence in the analyst community takes time, and interactions should be well-thought-out and smartly-planned. If you establish this long-term strategy it’s easy to explain to your speaker why exactly you’re having this specific type of interaction at this specific time. Tying it back to the long-game helps them see not only that you are in control and running the AR program strategically, but also are making sure their valuable time is well-spent. They too want the company to advance, so show them you’ve done your part to strategically set them up for success with the analysts.

Create a comprehensive AR plan to help answer your speaker questions

If an analyst interaction goes poorly with your speakers, the onus is not going to be on them for the mistake – it’ll fall on you. Have the answers before they even ask them, to help them feel not only confident in themselves, but also in your ability to drive a successful AR program.

Prepping speakers is just one component of a successfully-run AR program. At Spotlight we create a comprehensive engagement plan built on advancing our relationships with analysts through a series of strategically-timed interactions. We use this engagement plan to explain the context and purpose of each individual interaction to the speakers who are presenting.

Planning AR Activity with Context and Purpose (Part 1) Webinar

We’ve found having a visual into all of the activity that impacts our clients’ analyst relations strategies is critical to running a successful AR program. In our free on-demand webinar we talk about how we do this. We also have made our Comprehensive AR Planner available for download upon viewing the webinar.

Watch the On-Demand

Planning with Context Webinar

We’d love to know how you give your speakers the context they need to help advance your AR program. Leave a comment below to join the discussion. 

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