[GUEST POST] Vendors: suggestions to maximize briefing value, by Carol Rozwell / Gartner

Carol Rozwell from Gartner (blog, @CRozwell, bio) kindly allowed us to reproduce here her post on Vendors: suggestions to maximize briefing value. It neatly complement her peer Linda Rowan from IDC’s Briefing tips and best practices.


Last week, I was treated to a number of interesting vendor briefings, the most engaging of which was conducted in Second Life. But despite having the opportunity to view some innovative product offerings, I also had to contend with some frustrating vendor practices. In the spirit of helping vendors maximize the short time they have for a briefing with an analyst, I offer my list of five worst practices I wish vendors would curtail:

1. Don’t tell me about the market I cover. It’s important to understand how a vendor positions their product in a market, but taking 10 minutes of a 30 minute briefing to tell me about a market segment I’ve covered for years is a waste of precious time. It takes time away from what I really need to see – the product.

2. When I ask a question, please answer it – there and then! If I ask a question about sales revenue or product design, I do so because I want to hear the answer – right then. It’s incredibly frustrating to have the vendor say “we’ll get to that later in the presentation.” You should know that analysts have short attention spans. So if you gave me a slide deck, I’ll go off looking for the answer myself and ignore what you are saying about what you thought was more important than answering my query.

3. If you are going to make me log into a web meeting, use the interactive nature of the tool – don’t just present PowerPoint slides. We try our best to keep the briefing appointment once it’s been confirmed. But is sometimes means that I will have to take the call from a location other than my well-appointed office. Logging into a web conference may be inconvenient and it always wastes time. So if you are only going to show slides, save us both the headache.

4. Don’t read slides to me – do the demo. I’ve done lots of briefings; I can figure the rest out. Factual information about location, personal, revenue, etc is important. Unfortunately, too many vendors feel compelled to read every line on every slide before progressing to what I really want to see – the demo. Provide the info, but make the demo the centerpiece of the briefing.

5. If you ask me what I want to hear about, don’t ignore me and talk about something else. It is refreshing to have a vendor ask what information would be of most interest to me in my research. But once I’ve told you, don’t ignore me! If I told you I know enough about strategy and would prefer to hear about recent wins, cover that topic.

There, I feel better now. And if you are a vendor who will be briefing me in the future, I hope you appreciate these constructive suggestions.

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