A briefing is one of the best ways to inform an analyst of the value that your company provides to a given market. And, anyone can do it – it doesn’t require a subscription, plus it’s a great way to test into the analyst channel to see if it works for your business.
It seems so simple. Create a few slides that outline what you do and meet with the analyst. Done… then rinse and repeat.
Reality proves to be much more difficult, however – especially if you want to be memorable. That’s why at Spotlight our rallying cry is, “Rise up. Stand out.”
The first thing to know is that this is more than a transaction. No matter where you are in the process, you have to realize you are building a relationship. Every interaction is an opportunity to both inform and learn. To build rapport and to build on your last conversation.
Analysts talk to hundreds, if not thousands, of companies every year and it takes dedication and adherence to best practices to stand out. Here are a few tips and tricks that should help.
Master the basics
- Do your homework: Be sure to get up to speed on the analyst’s latest research (subscription required). If you don’t have subscriptions, then check out their blog and/or Twitter channel. These often provide insights into how and what is important to the analyst. You’ll want to try to connect their thoughts with your value proposition – or at least identify potential landmines.
- Have a plan: What do you want to communicate? Why is this conversation important? How will you demonstrate your value? What materials will you need? Who is the best person within your organization to deliver the message? These are just a few of the important questions you should ask yourself. Make sure you have plenty of prep time and ensure you provide something (usually slides) to guide the conversation. Pro tip: it’s always good to send your presentation in advance.
- Focus on the work: It’s easy to tell someone what you do. It often proves harder to show and prove that you do it well. Case studies are king, so be sure to curate the best examples of driving customer value from throughout your organization.
- Etiquette: Dial-in early, turn on your video camera (if applicable), be pleasant, pause for questions and don’t be afraid to divert from your plan. Often something you say will spark conversation and you should take that as an opportunity to dive deeper. You can always schedule another briefing if you don’t get through all of your content.
How to stand out
- Transparency: You must be believable and authentic. Part of this is communicating not only what you do well, but also what are not focus areas and where you’ve struggled to gain traction. Analysts want to be helpful, so these topics can lead to future conversations.
- Competition: One of the hardest things for analysts to comprehend is that you are in a market of one. Not only is this often not true, but they want to be able to place you in his/her mental map. Help them by talking about who you compete against and, of course, tell them why you are different or how your approach is better.
- Thought Leadership: Here’s where you can really make a difference. Communicate a vision and deliver it with conviction. Talk about how you measure success. Discuss where you think your market is going and how you are future-proofing your business. This often promotes the exchange of ideas AND can make your interaction memorable… which is why you are doing this in the first place.
- Lessons Learned: Business is hard. Customers can be tough. Turn potentially difficult situations into anecdotes that can be used to help educate the analyst’s readership.
- Bring a Customer: Analysts often like to hear first-hand from your customers. Joint briefings are a great way to bring a case study to life.
Analyst relations is a long game that can reap rewards down the road, but it all starts with building rapport and recall. Creating a lasting impression will most likely take more than one conversation. That’s why repetition and relationships are so important.
Remember what I said at the beginning – these analysts hear from companies like yours every day, most likely making similar claims. It takes dedication and adherence to best practices to rise up and stand out.
Agree? Disagree? We’d love to hear your thoughts and stories. Leave a comment below to join the discussion.