1. Be prepared to share remotely.
Briefings are a professional pitch to an influential party. Imagine you are pitching to the CEO of a large company, this is the impact that you want to make from an impression standpoint. This means that you must be prepared ahead of time. Vendor briefings should include a presentation deck over a remote viewing solution like Webex, Join.me and be sure to schedule it and send it to the Gartner vendor briefings team ahead of time. An analyst sits in front of a keyboard for the entire day, most of it interacting with end user or vendor clients. The last thing they want to do is sit listening to dead air while you scramble to get sharing enabled.
2. Use a clear phone and a quiet location to communicate.
No speakerphones, cellular phones or free VoIP services should be used for your vendor briefing. The goal of a vendor briefing is to have an analyst understand you, if this cannot be accomplished you will not have the impact you want – i.e. to be memorable to the analyst. The last thing an analyst wants to do is sit on a phone for an hour and not be able to understand the audio during a call. I’ve sat on many meetings where the audio from a cell phone etc disrupts the quality of the communication. This is an important meeting, so make sure you don’t schedule this interaction on the fly, don’t be in a car, traveling or checking into your hotel when doing a briefing. One exception to this rule would be background noise from work at home, many analysts work from home and we certainly understand the uncontrollable sounds that might occur. However, you should make every attempt to minimize background noise.
3. Don’t ask for feedback on a vendor briefing!
Analyst briefings are a one-way conversation. This means you do a pitch and the analyst for the most part remains silent, only asking probing or qualifying questions to understand your company or your offerings. I’ve been on many calls where start-up companies that don’t understand how analyst firms work want feedback. Feedback is something we charge for along with our services subscriptions. We call feedback sessions “inquiry” and the purpose of inquiry is to ask an analyst about their research or ask for advice that has the goal of positive affects to the outcomes of your business, marketing or product and service strategies.
4. Structure your call.
Vendor briefings follow a common structured format. Think of a vendor briefing as a sales call. Often, you can use the sales deck that you pitch to your own customers with some slight caveats specific for analysts. Follow along with your presentation deck in a progressive manner. Don’t get stuck just talking forever off-topic. Stay on point and move through the slides poignantly articulating only the most important information. Remember, it’s called a “briefing” which indicates not to go into way too much detail, else not be memorable.
Some elements most common in vendor briefings that are helpful to analysts are:
- Business Overview
- Management Team Overview – Historical Leadership Roles
- Market Revenue – Product/Service being pitched as well as company overall revenue. Detail on regions is also helpful.
- Business Strategy – i.e. Which market you believe you participate
- Current Product/Service offering – What is it that you sell? What technologies do you offer to do so.
- Execution/Differentiation Strategy – How you expect to win against competitors, what marketing, sales or engineering efforts you have underway and what features/functions of your product or service differentiate you from the competition.
- Product or Service Demonstration – This is very useful and makes the interaction much more real, so if it is possible, its best that you do a demo during the last 15 minutes of the call.
5. Avoid boring the analyst!
In presentation decks, avoid conversations that give a historical background on the market, unless an analyst asks, they hear this all day. For me, I cover security, so when a vendor goes into a diatribe about the threats that exist and what hackers are doing with a bunch of stats it bores me to death. The real reason is that an analyst KNOWS THIS STUFF COLD. The only stats or news we’d really want to know is only that which are directly relevant or published by your own organization. You can rest assured that analysts most often have deep understanding of the market and technologies – They are in fact normally talking to your clients and all your competitors. Stop assuming we don’t know what you do cause that is annoying as all get out
Most of all, have fun with your interactions with analysts and realize most of us are on your side! Many analysts actually want to help you, so don’t just view us as a re-marketing function, we certainly can be directly trans-formative to your business. I often explain to my clients that if they listen to my advice on an inquiry and we help them win one deal it pays for their Gartner subscription!
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