As an analyst on the Technology Go-to-Market Strategy team, I get to work with clients in a lot of different capacities. Like my colleagues who write for end-user IT organizations, I need to stay up on the latest technologies that might be of interest to my clients (which in my case would be marketers at technology and service providers), so I get briefed by vendors. But a number of our clients also seek our advice on how to best craft and deliver then vendor presentations to the core analysts that cover their markets. That gives me a unique perspective on vendor briefings, which I thought I would share.
Most of the vendors that brief Gartner (both clients and non-clients) have great ideas and promising technologies. They wouldn’t receive funding if they didn’t have those things. But the quality of the briefings differs dramatically and it sometimes has as much to do with the delivery, the optics and the style as much as the substance. If you are briefing our analysts, keep these simple things in mind:
- Keep Intros Short- If analysts aren’t familiar with your company, it is good to give a quick background. But we don’t need to know every detail about the bona fides of your leadership team or the chronology of your funding rounds. Give us enough to establish credibility and provide context and move on to the meat of the presentation. This will keep us engaged.
- Highlight Your Unique Value Proposition- Unless you are in a brand new market, we’ve likely talked with many of your competitors, both direct and indirect. We want to know what you makes you different, what unique capability or approach you bring to the game. It’s okay to establish a quick narrative to set this up, but highlight your value proposition early on.
- Provide the Right Amount of Product Detail- Depending upon your particular market, you’ll need to provide different levels of solution depth an detail. Provide us enough that we can get a sense of what the product does and how it does it, but don’t go overboard. If an analyst wants you to drill-down further, you can always go to some detailed slides in the appendix.
- Finish with Case Studies and Proof Points- Showing us who is using your solution and how they have benefited from it is critical. Actual client names rather than descriptions are best and provide quantifiable metrics on what they have saved, gained or otherwise achieved using your solution.
If you structure your presentation this way, you’ll definitely have a better chance at making a positive impact. But there are some small stylistic things that can sabotage even the best presentation, so here are some practical tips:
- Don’t Show Up Late- Many of our days are pretty packed, so if you show up late, you’re briefing time will be compressed.
- Avoid Speakerphones- This is straight out of Presentations 101, but use a handset or headset and keep the volume at a steady level.
- Don’t Show Your Slide Notes- Also straight out of Presentations 101.
- Expect Lots of Questions- Analysts are curious (job requirement!) and we ask lots of questions when we like something. Be prepared for frequent questions and keep your pitch short enough to accommodate lots of them.
- Be Honest About Your Competitors- It drives analysts crazy when a vendor says they have no direct competitors or the primary competitor is internal IT. There might not be anyone else who does exactly what you do, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have competitors.
If you are a client of our service, I’d also encourage you to schedule an inquiry with Hank Barnes or myself and do a dry run with us. We might not know your particular space, but we can provide an outside set of eyes before the real thing and help you crystallize your message.