Three things to always include in speaker preps

Apr 21, 2020

Best practices

Three things to always include in speaker preps

As AR professionals, we know there’s a ton of work that goes into an analyst conversation. In most cases, we are only given 30-60 minutes with an analyst before they’re moving on to the next vendor – so how can we ensure the interaction will be successful and memorable? 

At Spotlight, we believe a great way for analyst relations professionals to show value is by properly preparing their teams for every analyst conversation – and analysts appreciate this too. In our recent survey, they listed relevancy and preparation as top characteristics for building good vendor relationships. 

We recommend connecting with speakers via meetings (preferred) or emails to ensure they have the right information before each interaction. Whether it’s a company overview briefing or a mission-critical inquiry, below are three items we always include when preparing speakers.

#1. Level-set with ALL the logistics

Although it sounds obvious, the first things speakers want to know are the logistics. This often includes, but is not limited to: 

  • Analyst: Who they are, what firm are they with, their coverage areas, title, and team 
  • Topic: What the analyst is expecting to talk about. It’s often helpful to include what language was submitted in the original request to align with analyst expectations.
  • Date and time: When the call is scheduled for, including day of week and time zone (this is a great opportunity to double-check it’s on their calendar!)
  • Interaction type: Clarify that this is a briefing, inquiry, scoping call, advisory day, etc. with a brief description (ex: “we will be presenting to the analyst” or “we will lead the conversation and ask the analyst questions”)
  • Duration: How long the call or meeting is scheduled for 

#2. Put it in context

If you have a fairly active AR program, you may tap on the same speakers frequently. For them, interacting with analysts over and over again can often blur and become overwhelming. It’s important to communicate the intention behind each analyst conversation and how they can continue building the relationship.

First, I recommend taking the time to set the stage for why the analyst matters and the reasons behind scheduling the interaction. A few examples are comments like:

  • “This analyst is a lead author on the XYZ ranking report, which is scheduled to kick off next month. During our recent briefing in December, they questioned whether we had enough B2B functionality to be included in the Magic Quadrant.” Or…
  • “This is our first interaction with this analyst. She is now the lead analyst on retail coverage since the other analyst’s recent departure and will be writing about our space later this year.” Or…
  • “During our last conversation with this analyst, he mentioned he’d like to dive deeper into our artificial intelligence and machine learning case studies to feature examples in his upcoming report.”

Once you’ve provided some background information, take it a step further by sharing value-adds specific to the analyst:

  • Emphasize the analyst’s POV: Encourage your speakers to highlight how your company is aligned with how the analyst sees the world. Share with them what you’ve learned from reading their research, blogs, and social media.
  • Surface feedback they’ve provided in the past: Make sure your speaker knows the interaction history to help them stay on-message and signal to the analyst that you’re listening. Take detailed notes during all interactions and share relevant nuggets of feedback from past interactions with your speakers during your prep.
  • Provide analyst-specific tips: If there are specific preferences or pet peeves about this analyst’s style, bring that to your speaker’s attention.

#3. Outline how we win the conversation

Now that your speaker understands the why, let’s ensure they are set up for success by emphasizing the how. Always align on the objective and desired outcome for the conversation, which will help steer your team in the right direction to make the most impact. Objectives and outcomes will vary per program or interaction, but here are some examples we’ve used with speakers:

  • “Our objective is to highlight the integration progress given last year’s acquisition, by discussing roadmap alignment, combined sales team, and go-to-market strategy to positively influence the analyst’s perceptions of our organization.”
  • “We need to receive feedback on our recent briefing to inform our product team for roadmap purposes.”
  • “Our goal is to showcase our customer momentum by leveraging APAC case studies to increase our chances of being included in the analyst’s upcoming report.”

While preparing speakers may seem like something you can skip, we know taking the time to share all of the details suggested here will have a profound effect on the success of your speakers’ analyst conversations – and the success of the overall AR program. As keepers of this information, it’s crucial that we capture, filter, and share the most relevant and important pieces in meaningful ways to our speakers before their next interaction. We know your team will feel more supported, analysts will find the conversations more relevant, and your AR program will ultimately be more impactful! 

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