Below is the second part of a two-part blog post on analyst relations. For part one, click here.
BE READY TO LISTEN
Too many clients want to run through their PowerPoint presentation with the analyst over the phone. I find most people are much worse on the phone and throw all pleasantries aside. Remember, you are building a relationship. Make sure you have read the analyst’s bio prior to the call and take the time to get to know them a little bit.
Also, remember some analysts want to stop and interject between slides or make recommendations. Be ready for it and open to it. That’s where the value comes in! After all, he or she takes enough of these meetings a day to know what will sell or what will strengthen your point.
If you let the analyst do some of the talking, you will glean insights on his or her larger view of your competitive landscape, based on all of the briefings he or she has had with companies in your industry. If you ask if they’ve seen anything like this before, be ready for a frank answer. You will quickly find out if the competition is heating up faster than you thought, if you’re leaps and bounds ahead of the competition, or worse, if a newcomer has jumped into the market with something that might disrupt the industry.
KNOW THE FIRM
There are a tremendous number of analyst firms, both big and small. Know the list that is most appropriate for your business and narrow it down by going to analysts that reporters call for commentary in your market.
Also, know the difference in analyst firm business models. Some analyst firms only take briefings with paying clients and others will take briefings with the best companies that come their way because they like to be in the know on emerging companies as well as on established firms.
The size of the firm shouldn’t indicate the value of the relationships. Remember some of the top analysts from big firms have left to start their own firms, focusing on specific vertical markets. You may be briefing different sized analyst firms, but the value is in the analyst who truly understands your industry the best, writes about the industry and does the research.
GET THE RIGHT GUY IN THE ROOM
The reality of setting up analyst meetings can be a major pain, in that you’re often going through a scheduler who doesn’t understand the business you represent and is trying to put a note out to analysts in order to best pair you together.
When you contact the firm to schedule, know exactly who you want to brief. The bios are on the analysts’ websites, and you should be seeing them quoted in your target trade press. That level of cross-referencing will help to make sure you secure the right people for your executives or your client.
PREPARE AND USE THE TIME WELL
Most firms expect you to submit your PowerPoint presentation a few days before your scheduled appointment. Get their expectations, time commitment and build your approach with this in mind. Keep in mind that if you aren’t meeting in person with the analyst you may not be able to provide a demo. Therefore, make sure you have slides that show how the product works.
But most important – have a tight agenda that fits this time period and gives the analyst plenty of time to speak with you. As a rule of thumb, ten slides at most should allow you to tell your story. Don’t over-do the slides, as you want a compelling deck and plenty of time to banter. Look through any presentation and eliminate heavy text slides and stick to visuals, like product screen shots and or a mini demo.
While many analysts will do their research in advance, you can’t expect that the analyst has read about your company. In some cases, they have read just enough to be hooked and say yes to a meeting. Now you have them for one hour, so wow them and engage in a great dialog!
MAINTAIN THE RELATIONSHIP
I’m always amazed at companies who do a briefing and don’t keep the analyst in the know with news updates, emails and following up. You have now developed a relationship with an analyst who is willing to give you their honest opinion. You want to respect that and keep them informed.
In addition, you want to reach out and ask their opinion from time to time. As a PR person, you should always follow up with the analyst after the meeting to get any additional, honest feedback. At that time, you can gauge whether or not the analyst would be okay with being contacted by reporters that you will be briefing. This approach works extremely well, as it underscores the importance of the relationship and shows that you plan to serve the analyst up to top press who are writing about the subject. A win-win situation indeed!