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Getting heard in the herd

Updated: Mar 25, 2023

Blah blah, blah blah blah.

Ever feel like this is what they’re hearing? You talk but they don’t get it. You clearly lay out your strengths but don’t improve in the report. You think you’re relating well, but see no increase in recommendations.

Arghh! Frustrating.

I’ve been in B2B tech marketing my whole career. I know how to write. I know how to message. At least I thought I did. But bringing those skills into a briefing wasn’t enough. We were making some progress, but not enough impact. Then I started to get it.

Briefing an industry analyst seems like a pretty straightforward affair, until you look at it from their perspective. They hear from all your competitors, each trying to dominate, They hear from the up and comers looking to grab some of their mindshare. They hear similar stories all day long, all week long, all year long. Hundreds of briefings, hundreds of thousands of facts.

Please help them. Tell them a good story that they will enjoy and will be memorable. Don’t wait for them to recognize the so-whats and get it. Hit them over the head with a feather.

Analysts-- even the speed and feed guys-- need the customer story to make sense of the world. Looking at technology without understanding how it fills a need or delivers value is a bunch of gobbledygook, even to them.

So, I start with a story. I start with a real company. Tips I’ve learned:

  • Don’t talk in corporate-speak about the company. Bring it down to an individual who’s faced with the human challenges we all are. They have to get things done, solve problems, bring value. They want to shine, no matter how shy. They have a career to worry about. Make them a person we can relate to. Give them a name. Becca.

  • Give specifics of the company, too. Size, industry, region. This should represent the target you go after.

  • Tell the analyst about Becca’s challenges, but don’t bore them with generalities they know. Bring those challenges to life so they can feel them.

  • Show the analyst the landscape of existing solutions Becca has at her disposal and solutions she needs to solve this problem. Create a big gaping hole for yourself.

  • Give her your solution and make her a hero. It’s about her, not you. You are in the background, helping Becca deliver value and shine.

  • Show the results. Numbers are best. Analysts want proof points of the value a company realizes when adopting the approach your solutions represents. These numbers stick in the brain and make the story more real. This they remember.

Now we can tell them the details and talk about the feeds and speeds when we need to. And, why our solution is the best on the market for precisely this scenario. We’ve organized their brain so they know why our solution exists, where it fits and why we’re different.

Do it right, you’re golden. Do it wrong, you’re just one of the herd.

What has worked for you? Not worked? Please chime in.

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14 comentarios

Marc Duke
Marc Duke
10 jul 2020

Lovely piece, I tend to start with what the analyst wants to cover first and how much time they have. The rest flows from there assuming we had read your great post!

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 I like it. A lot!

Another aspect of this: analysts have to cover the top handful of firms in a segment when they write about it, but below those, they have flexibility. Your job, when you work with an analyst who is writing a report on your segment, is to make your company one of their choices (unless it's already in the top handful, but most aren't). A story such as you suggest will make your company memorable, but you also need to provide a reason to cover it and not its equally memorable competitor across town. Being memorable is a necessary, but not a sufficient, condition.

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Great post Robin. It’s forevermore about the value prop; with Becca it becomes a story worth remembering.

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Spot on Robin! And most vendors need someone like you to help them. My pet peeves:

  1. Too much techno-babble. Perhaps this is just me because I speak to and write for the business person. But I don't think so. And if the vendor needs help making that technical talk meaningful... well, that's what I do.

  2. Messaging is abstracted to such a high level as to be meaningless. I get that they want to connect with top executives and for that you need to stay out of the weeds. I can spot marketing spin immediately.

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Love the advice to tell a story, but if you can share real customer stories (that are referenceable) all the better. Good, real-world examples make the value of your tech that much clearer.

I write a lot of case studies, and when I talk to vendors about which customer to choose for a case study, I always advise them to pick the poster child for their biggest growth opportunity. Sure, household names are good for sparking interest, but you want as many prospects as possible relating to the story and nodding their heads because they share the same challenges. That's not going to happen if it's a super niche example that doesn't fit your biggest overall market opportunity.

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