Since becoming an industry analyst almost two years ago, I’ve sat in on nearly 100 vendor briefings and have some tips and do’s/don’ts to share to help you prepare for your next analyst session. First, know that Constellation is a firm very accessible to technology companies of all sizes and no, you don’t have to be a client to brief us. Based on availability and relevance to my coverage areas, I’m happy to take the call and enjoy helping young start-ups.
Let’s ensure we both get the most out of our limited time together, so here are my tips for you :
- Be respectful of the analyst’s time. Our free briefings are 30 minutes, and if I’m able to, I will often extend to 45 mins (at my discretion).
- A little light research to understand who I am and my coverage areas (Marketing (B2B and B2C), Sales, and Customer Experience. I prepare by visiting your company website and learn about you on LinkedIn before the call, please extend that courtesy.
The best way to utilize the 30 minutes is to have a concise/tight deck to walk me through the following:
- 1 slide on company background – Where’s your headquarters, who your investors are, revenue (or you can share a range), highlight any unique experience of your executive team, and the space/market you play in.
- 1 slide on who your customers are – “Nascar-style” logo slides are fine, but please highlight 3-4 customers and tell me what you do for them. For example, I often see the same logo for multiple competing marketing companies. Tell me the group using your solution and the context. Also, Who is your target customer and their role?
- 1-2 slides on your go-to-market strategy.
- 1 Marchitecture slide to illustrate your product or market slide on your solution and where it fits.
- Tell me about your pricing model, how do customers buy?
- Share what’s new or coming soon. Whether it’s an upcoming product launch, you sign(ed) a new customer, secured new funding, etc. You would be surprised how many times the news gets buried and forgotten in a briefing.
- Prepare a demo. Especially if I agree to extend to 45 minutes, I want to see your solution in-action.
Send me your slides the day before the briefing. This way I can save you time by not asking questions answered on a later slide.
- Spend time to educate me on the market. If you looked at my background, you’ll know that I was a practicing marketing executive then an industry analyst. I do understand what the market challenge is for marketers/sellers and have the battle scars to prove it. So telling me the marketing technology landscape is more complicated than ever with 6000+ vendors or that the sales process is broken – is well, wasted time.
- Come unprepared and attempt to do a “discovery” call in a briefing. Talking through your product architecture with no visual representation only adds confusion. Our time together is limited, preparation is key.
- Ask me or emphasize every 5 minutes, “This is under NDA right?”. As an analyst, I respect our confidentiality and take it very seriously as a matter of integrity. If there is something I’m interested in tweeting about or sharing publicly, I will ask you if the information is public or ok to share. Otherwise, understand our briefing is confidential.
- Say, “we don’t have any competitors” when I ask who your competitors are. I am not asking because I don’t know. I want to know who YOU think your competitors are.
- Follow-up with me asking what kind of “article” I will write after the “interview.” Please understand the differences between industry analysts and the press/media.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with many of the best Analyst Relations (AR) teams in the business, people who understand how to best engage with us and if you work with one – take their advice! If you use a PR firm to help with Analyst Relations, make sure they can demonstrate to you they understand the differences with AR.
If we haven’t spoken yet, I hope this was helpful and look forward to a productive briefing from you!
Cindy Zhou (@cindy_zhou, LinkedIn)covers digital marketing and sales effectiveness at Constellation Research. Originally posted on her LinkedIn and reproduced with permission. Opinions expressed in this guest post are not an IIAR position and may not reflect IIAR members individual opinions.
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