Four observations about analyst briefings I want to share with you. I am not an industry analyst but have been part of plenty briefings. I made these mistakes or have seen colleagues make them.
1. Get this idea out of your mind: Analysts are pay to play
This is not right and even if you believe it, this belief hurts you more than it helps you when talking to analysts. Do not ever talk trash about other analysts. For example, if you are briefing Forester, do not say how bad Gartner is. The analyst would think what you are saying about them to others.
There is plenty of evidence that analyst firms try hard to have an independent voice. The truth is that analysts are humans and can be influenced. If you go to their shows, sessions, talk often to them, they may be more familiar with you than your competition. But, you can not operate under the assumption that somehow your annual subscription will get you a good spot in an MQ or a Wave. Several analysts I know do this job because of the independence it provides them.
2. Tell a narrative
Have a story about why the problem you are solving is important for customers. Why does market care about the way you are solving the problem, why you are different and better fit for your target customers. An analyst briefing is not a demo of powerpoint skills. Its neither a contest to show your intellectual superiority. Even if you are smart, in a briefing, an analyst has final say in the outcome. Your goal is to represent your product/company and communicate its value. It has nothing to do with your IQ or your ability to speak non stop for an hour.
Verbal diarrhea is a real problem afflicting our industry. Given a chance to present, we go into a monologue about life, world, business. We often do not know when to stop. Keep small talk less, leave it for social events when you get to meet analysts ( tradeshows etc).
Importantly, there is tons you can learn from analysts if you just shut up and listen. They talk to your target customers, competitors and have a better pulse of the market than you. Its possible an analyst is unfamiliar with specific problem you are solving, but they still can provide insights on market.
4. Do not trash talk your competitors
First of all, your view of competition is most likely wrong and analysts detect it easily. Its not like you are not the only one these analysts are talking to. Also, talking about competitors wastes time you can spend discussing your product. If you want to trash talk your competitors, there is always twitter.
That’s all folks. Do share what mistakes you see when briefing analysts.