Blog post

Avoid a Gong during Vendor Briefings

By Marko Sillanpaa | October 01, 2019 | 0 Comments

Product Portfolio Vision and InnovationProduct Marketing LeadershipProduct Marketing ImpactDigital Workplace Applications

Tomorrows the day of your vendor briefing. You call your VP of sales and ask who is available to do a demo to the analysts tomorrow. Suddenly you hear a “GONG!”*

Vendor Briefing Gong

Vendor briefing are a great opportunity to showcase your organizations product that you don’t want to waste. An analyst will easy see over fifty briefing in a year. Your goal is to be memorable, in a good way.

Before the Vendor Briefing

A successful vendor briefing starts weeks before the actual briefing. Successful briefings are short, focused, and have an actionable next step. It seems obvious but plan what you want your message to be and what is your expected outcome. An outcome should not be, “to get published.” Analysts are not marketing teams and vendors briefing are not sales demos.

Keep these things in mind when preparing for your vendor briefing:

  • Know the Clock – Know how long you have for a briefing and optimize your time. Analysts have client calls. No matter how great the briefing, analysts will drop off to go to client calls. Make sure you have ample time for your presentation and questions afterwards.
  • Know the Analysts – Following the first rule, know who you are talking to before the briefing. Every analyst should have a profile on the website. If they don’t, ask for one ahead of time. Look them up on LinkedIn. Read a note or two. With limited time, don’t waste ten minutes with introductions.
  • Know the Plan – Elaborate presentations and demo from a large team are rarely successful. If that’s your plan, know who’s talking, when, and about what. A lull as you transition from one person to the next, especially when you forget who has the mike next.

The Day of the Briefing

It is the day of the vendor briefing. You know the analysts attending the briefing. Your presentation is right on target. Remember, vendor briefings are not inquiries and analysts do not provide feedback. The only way to measure the success of a briefing is by noting if the analyst was engaged and asked questions.

It’s really easy to keep an analyst engaged:

  • Don’t be late – A thirty-minute vendor briefing that starts ten minutes late will not get your message across. It’s better to reschedule as analyst usually have back-to-back calls.
  • Don’t provide a history lesson – A vendor briefing is time to showcase your product, not relive history. State how your product and organization is relevant today. Not why it was relevant twenty years ago. There are lots of successful twenty-year-old organizations, just as there are successful two-year old organizations.
  • Don’t play guessing games – Don’t make an analyst guess your market or your competitors. And if by some strange reason an analyst makes a guess, don’t make us guess again. Vendor briefings are an opportunity for vendors to present their product to analysts. It’s not an inquiry.

The Briefing is not the End

Make sure to follow up with an email of your presentation deck. Provide an official contact for any follow up questions. Offer to provide a quarterly newsletter with updates. This is your opportunity to create a dialog with the analysts.

Most important part is to start plan for the next briefing. Remember what you said this time, so you don’t repeat yourself next time. Successful vendor briefing should be a regular part of your organization’s product strategy.

Here are more posts from the CuSP.

* In the ‘70’s there was a TV talent show where when an act was really bad they were gonged off the stage.

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