Updated: Jun 6
Great briefings are like great dates. You connect, you talk for hours, you look lovingly into each other's eyes. Well not that last one, but you get it. Hit it out of the park with a briefing and you develop a fan that believes in you, wants to know more and stays engaged. And that’s the ultimate goal.
In my book, Analysts on Analyst Relations, I have a ton of content on what analysts like and don’t like in a briefing. You’re likely working very hard to impress them, so you might as well consider what the analysts actually want.
Here are some overall common themes of great briefings:
Target the briefing to the analyst’s interests. Read their research and understand what they care about, the terms they use, and how they see the market. You’ll connect better if you understand their story before you tell yours.
Don’t waste time on general industry background. They know this. They study this. They consider themselves an expert on this. They'll either be bored or insulted. It’s okay to show that you understand what’s important and get the head nod, but do it quickly.
Be open and honest. No company is perfect and the analyst will dismiss you if you try to sell yourself as such. Share your challenges and how you’re meeting them. Admitting negatives can make your positives more believable, and may also get you some insightful feedback.
Have the right spokesperson on the call. This depends on the analyst, the relationship you have, and the depth they are interested in… which goes into setting clear objectives for the call. Some briefings call for a strategic overview by the CEO and, some for a technology deep dive by product management. And everywhere in between. Matching up the right spokesperson with the right analyst can lead to briefing magic.
Talk in business terms about the problem you’re solving. Even the most technical analyst needs context. Always talk first about the problem you are solving in business terms.
Below are a few other interesting points.
Start off by telling me what you’re selling. If you can’t get me interested in a couple of sentences, then you either don’t understand what you’re selling, or you aren’t confident that you’re filling a need.
Do not bring a 110 slide deck and then fly through it. Analysts will not retain the information.
Do not focus on bashing your competition, but do provide a crisp, fact-based comparison to the competition you fight in the field.
If an analyst asks a question, please answer it concisely, and take no more than 30-60 seconds doing so.
Don’t say you’re the “first” or “only” company to do something. That just makes me want to prove you wrong, and 9 times out of 10, I can do it. Just give the facts.
You need to stand out in the marketplace. The marketplace is so large and varied, you really need to stand out in the eyes of the analyst.
Listen to us. We analysts make our living as strategic, research-based advisors. A briefing is hardly an advisory session, but we may well make an observation or remark that could serve you well. Listen for those nuggets.
And we could go on. And on.
It’s all about nuances. Tell them just the right story, in just the right way, with just the right amount of detail…and do it in a respectful, honest, clear and compelling way. Not easy, but you can do it. Take advantage of help, prepare carefully, and breathe deeply. Remember, analysts sometimes struggle to put their pants on, just like you. The vast majority of them are cheerleaders, just waiting for something to be excited about. A great date gets them cheering for you.