A briefing allows you to provide an analyst with important information about your company and products/services. But it’s quite different from a sales pitch. You’re not trying to convince them to buy your product or service; your goal is to help them understand the value you offer to clients. It should tell a compelling story and leave an analyst thinking, “They’re credible. I trust them. They understand my coverage. I want to learn more about them.” Unfortunately, many vendor briefings fall flat. In fact, Forrester’s own research suggests that at least 85 percent of briefings achieve nothing of value. Read on for tips on how to rise to the top 15 percent.
Have a strategic narrative. What is a strategic narrative? It’s the story that you tell about your company’s journey. Your narrative should describe your company’s momentum in a way that’s unique to you. What problems are you solving for clients? Where are you having the most success? Who are you buyers, and why do they care? What deals are you winning and how are you beating your competitors? Weave the important details into a narrative that best tells your unique story.
Put your stake in the ground. Have a clearly defined vision and positioning. Be specific and focused when it comes to describing what differentiates you from competitors. As the saying goes, if you try to be everything to everyone, you’re nothing to anyone. Think about what you want the analyst’s takeaway to be. In short: Be clear. Be bold. Own it.
Share where you’re strongest (and not). Just like in a client pitch, you should highlight the areas where your business excels. Every company has areas where it’s strong and areas where it’s not. And while you probably shouldn’t mention those weaknesses in a client pitch, here’s where an analyst briefing differs. Pretending weaknesses don’t exist does nothing for building credibility. Nobody’s perfect, and analysts know this. In fact, you can turn a weakness into a competitive advantage by showing how you plan to improve it.
Know the analyst. Every analyst has his or her own coverage area. Do your own research ahead of time and stick to the analyst’s focus area. Your company might be great at digital asset management, but if the analyst’s coverage is artificial intelligence—well, he’s not going to give a damn about DAM.
Describe problems you solve. Whether it’s helping clients conduct business faster, operate more efficiently, or save money—show the analyst how you’re providing real solutions to real problems. Include client examples with results and describe why you—and no one else—are best at solving these problems.
Predict what’s next. The analyst relationship should be mutually beneficial. You’re in it for the credibility, awareness, leads and referrals the analyst offers. The analyst is in it for unique insights, client work examples, and thought leadership. Don’t hold back! Help add to the analyst’s knowledge and inform future research by sharing insights into what’s down the road for your clients, the market and the industry. Your opinions and perceptions will be appreciated.
Stay on topic. While briefings can be quite thorough and may include proprietary information (analyst firms maintain differing NDA policies), it’s a good rule of thumb to not include market analysis or trends (that’s literally the analyst’s job), company process, awards, or information about or from other analyst firms.
Be prepared. That’s right, you can’t just wing it. Depending on your SME’s experience with briefings, you’ll need a prep meeting or two along with a prep document that includes information such as the analyst’s background/research focus, any previous interactions, recommended briefing content and flow, and best practices. And, of course, you’ll need to send your briefing deck—required for every briefing—to the analyst in advance.
A briefing is an important first interaction with any new-to-you analyst. It’s the opportunity to make sure they understand your business and how you help solve client problems so you can start building mindshare and credibility, which can ultimately drive leads and referrals over time. It also requires preparation and nuance to be great, not to mention patience—after all, you wouldn’t expect a marriage proposal after a first date.
For more tips on how to conduct successful analyst interactions, or to learn more about Spark 180’s analyst relations programs, schedule a 30-minute complimentary consultation today.