by Jim Genis
October 29, 2018
When briefings, inquiries, and interviews can only get you so far, we know you use strategic advisory days to understand an analyst better, influence his or her perception, and ideally, get leads on new customers.
But, you know these days have to be done right. Advisory days are a huge investment in time and money, and nothing is more important than getting the day just right.
That’s where the prep comes in. Preparing for an advisory day is a critical step in making it a win-win for both parties – the analyst should leave feeling the time was valuable and your executives should think the day was worth the investment.
At Spotlight, we help our clients prepare for advisory days, and they have had the most success using our 3-step process.
Recently we worked with a global financial services technology firm who had a challenge: They were ranked as a “lower left” Niche player in a Gartner Magic Quadrant report, and they saw shortcomings in how they were ranked. Their goals were to 1) understand the ranking and how to improve their position, but more importantly 2) share their vision for the future and position themselves as a leader in this industry.
The result was a strategic advisory day with their most influential analyst, the author of the Magic Quadrant. To prepare, we started by asking simple, but very important questions:
With the financial services firm, we realized the sweet spot for the advisory day were questions about how new technologies are being deployed to solve customer issues in a whole new way. They realized this insight and made it part of their roadmap. And they knew the analyst would benefit from this point of view as well.
You now have your sweet spot. From here, you can design your advisory day with confidence, starting with the sweet spot and branching out from there:
Chances are, you plan to invite a number of key stakeholders to the session – general managers, IT experts, product specialists, marcom pros, and others. Inviting them is one thing; prepping them is another.
Prepping your players means that you review your goals with them before the advisory day. They should know the “rules of the game” in working with an analyst, and they should have a full background on the analyst. Help them understand their role in the day, and what potential speed bumps could occur.
Sending them this information via email is “okay” if you can’t align everyone’s calendars for a full prep – but know they may just glance at what you’ve sent. A better approach is to actually meet with them and discuss the goals, the flow, and their hot buttons. They should understand the analyst’s hot buttons too.
Preparation also includes pulling together the right materials, both from your team and the analyst. Provide guidance on the content, length, and how the materials advance the goals. Same with the analyst: Provide the context for the day and the business questions you’re trying to address; this allows the analyst to be much more targeted in his or her approach.
As we work with clients, this is what we call “finesse.” A personal discussion with your key players provides greater context and builds rapport and alignment much better than a detailed email.
Your role is conductor of this orchestra. Everyone has their part to play but at the end of the day, it’s your job to ensure a harmonic performance.
With the financial services firm, all parties left the advisory day with a clear, mutualunderstanding of their position in the ranking report. They knew where they had to go next. And they also left the day with innovative new thinking that was shared with the analyst who used it in his next publication. It was a win-win, both short-term and long-term.
By thoughtfully going broad and deep – while staying true to your goal and sweet spot – you will be strategic in planning your approach to a perfect advisory day. Plus, in the process you’ll build credibility with the analyst that matters most.
And you’ll all know the session is worth the investment.
How do you prepare for advisory days? Leave a comment below to join the discussion.