Briefings and balderdash: 7 top tips on the analyst briefing

In my role at InfoBasis I talk to a number of analysts about our human capital management software – with a recent surge in activity as the market place heats up. Along the way I have learned that there are better and worse ways of tackling the vendor pitch. So, if you’re facing an analyst briefing, here are my 7 top tips for briefing success:

  1. PowerPoint – you can’t present without it, but be sure to use it well. Get as many words on to each slide as you can.
  2. Content is all – 40 slides for a 30 minute briefing is about right, and don’t worry if you run over. The analyst can always ask you to stop (but they won’t if you use these sure fire tips!)
  3. Differentiate – ensure your company is clearly different by labelling it ‘ground breaking’. Analysts will be favourably impressed by products that ‘push the envelope’, are ‘best-of-breed’ and ‘advancing forwards’. This will show that your company ‘focuses on the bottom line’ and is thinking ‘outside the box’, or better still ‘outside of the box’. Check Technorati for the latest hot buzzwords and apply those to your product/company. Hot terms right now? SaaS, gaming, social networking and Britney Spears. An ideal product would link all 4 of these.
  4. Analysts are all the same – time spent reading their research or confirming the agenda is time wasted. Instead, use that time to build your slide deck and script (set aside a whole lunch break). Stick to the script throughout the briefing – it’s your railroad to success!
  5. They’ve been waiting just for you – this means two things: first, expect an immediate reply e-mail following your briefing request (if you don’t get one – mail them again. And again!). Second, they will read up on your company, so during the briefing you can skip the context and dive straight into a discussion of the code base.
  6. Silence is golden – analyst quiet for the whole briefing? Congratulations! You’ve struck gold! They’re riveted by your presentation (any keyboard tapping you hear is avid note taking). If they do interrupt with a question, tell them to wait to the end. That content won’t cover itself!
  7. Fire and forget – covering the ground is what matters. Once you’ve presented, get on to chasing the next analyst.

I hope you appreciate these hard-learned lessons. I wish you as much success as I have had with my briefings! (I have frequently been told that they are “like nothing else I have ever heard”!).

Of course, if you want another view point, check these postings:

11 responses to “Briefings and balderdash: 7 top tips on the analyst briefing

  1. “Get as many words on to each slide as you can.”

    I have to disagree on that one. Effective Powerpoint use favors descriptive images, not words.

  2. Leo, thanks for dropping by.

    It looks like I missed the mark on this one.

    I was sort of hoping that the tag ‘Humour’ at the bottom of the post (and indeed the content) might be a clue that these 7 tips are sort of … um … how can I put this? The complete opposite of how to give an effective briefing.

    If anyone else gets as far as this comment, please let me know. Did you think that this post was serious? (I won’t ask if you thought it was funny.)

  3. Honestly, I didn’t get by the Powerpoint comment. Re-reading it, it is pretty funny.

  4. Pingback: Pervasive Human Capital Management « Donald H Taylor

  5. Donald, I love this post. I LOVE YOUR comment that analysts are all the same. Trust me……it is humorous. Not to worry. I especially love the power point… fact you should tell them to write the whole SPEECH on it! We have similar senses of humor…….

  6. Great post. Would love to link to it on my blog:

  7. Nancy, I would be honored – please link away.
    Great blog by the way, for anyone in PR/marketing.

  8. I found you here:

    She pre-warned me that you were being humorous and yet it wasn’t until I got to #3 that I realized you were joking. I am American though, so go figure 😉

    My company focuses on large-scale link building and I’m currently digging into the methodologies of the Analyst Relations field. We seek to influence the people who impact the search results.

    Thanks for taking the time to make this post.

    Garrett French

  9. Garrett,

    My pleasure, thanks for taking the time to read and understand!

    I find the whole analyst-briefer relationship fascinating. In my experience the only way to gain credibility with an analyst is to first, ask them what they are looking for and then to be honest about what you and your company do.
    They have absolutely heard everything before, and you can’t impress them unless you’ve really got the goods – but as you work in this field, I’m sure you’re already way ahead of me on that.


  10. At first I didn’t get the humor and had to scroll down to see what others thoughts before I got it…

  11. Great stuff. After using my standard Analyst briefing template on one stubborn product manager, I sent him yours with the subject “Revised Analyst Briefing Best Practices.” A day before the briefing I was surprised that he read my memo at all. His initial response was “this is a joke, right?”. His next briefing was a huge improvement and he now references my “smart ass” memo as attractiing his attention. Thanks for posting Don.

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