Five Basics for a Good Analyst Briefing

Briefing industry analysts is more of a learned art, rather than a formulaic science.

The main objective is to connect with the analysts so they understand your company and solution enough to describe it accurately to others. Some of these “others” include journalists and potential customers who may subscribe to an analyst service. While this objective seems quite straightforward, the desired result is often not achieved. The benefits of success can be so powerful, it’s important to get it right.

Companies need to learn the best practices for briefing industry analysts to help make sure their company connects the dots with these top influencers.

  • 1. Get the Right Analyst

    A good analyst relations program starts by identifying a list of top candidates by proper research and adequate planning.  While it seems obvious, analysts sometimes are pulled into briefings when they do not belong there. This can be quite embarrassing and/or irritating for all parties involved. You can learn about most analysts by looking at their biography on the analyst Web site, reading the titles of their research, looking for their quotes in the trade press or following their social media updates.  Not doing the proper research shows a lack of preparation and can definitely get you started on bad footing.

  • 2. Prime the Analyst

    Do not assume an analyst knows about your company or product. A briefing always goes better when the analyst has time before the discussion to learn about your company. This gives the analyst a chance to think through what you do and is better prepared to ask relevant questions and provide valuable input. Vendors or their PR agencies need to provide information to analysts ahead of time including links to recent press releases of significance. They should also provide the analyst with names and titles of people that will be participating in the briefing. If the analyst does not have this basic info, more time is wasted on background discussion and the analyst is less likely to be prepared to add much value, which is not ideal.

  • 3. Preparation, Presentation and Protocol

    When it comes to analyst briefings you can’t be too prepared.  A brief but informative presentation should serve to familiarize the analyst with the basics of your company history, vision and direction, as well as differentiating product information.  Don’t tell all – leave enough time for the analyst to give his or her feedback or both you and the analyst will be missing out.   Also, make sure your PR representative gives a backgrounder on analysts to the spokespeople to prevent disconnects and show knowledge. He or she should also teach spokespeople the most current analyst protocol and schedule a full-blown run-through of the presentation with briefing tips.  Preparation is the greatest form of believing.

  • 4. Get the Right People in the Meeting

    It’s important to choose the best and most relevant spokespeople from your company to attend an analyst briefing. Things to consider when deciding who should attend a call include: the analyst’s seniority, level of technical expertise, vertical industry, and their coverage areas.  You should limit company attendees to 2-3 people at the most and offer follow-up communications with other members on the team if necessary. Avoid confusion at all costs.

  • Proper Introductions

    When hosting a briefing, It is imperative to take the time for proper introductions before jumping into the company spiel. Nothing is more awkward than when company X launches into slide ware before everyone on the call knows who will be involved and why. While the more seasoned analysts may interrupt and suggest introductions, some will not.  For the best results, everyone should know who is on the call and why.  Also, it’s very respected to let the analyst/s in the briefing provide a brief summary of his/her background , coverage areas and specific items of interest before you start, even if you’ve sent the info previously. When everyone is clear who the players are, you can tailor the conversation for the most success.

There is no way around it, industry analysts influence people in the business and it is important to be sure they have an accurate perspective on your company and solutions. And they need to be handled with care. In an upcoming post, we’ll look at more tips to help you make the most of your analyst briefings.