Mar 16, 2011
Cece Salomon-Lee

Getting Noticed by Industry Analysts

By Litandmore via Flickr

There was a recent discussion on Focus regarding how start-up companies can get noticed by Gartner analysts. One misconception is that you have to be a paid customer of the top analyst firms – Gartner, Forrester, Altimeter, etc. – in order to meet and brief analysts about your company. In addition to my response to the question, I’m including an overview of what you should do before, during and after a briefing.

PREPARATION

1. Be succinct and clear about your company’s objectives, value proposition and business model (including your target audience, market potential, competitors and existing marketshare). Market share will depend on what stage you are and how mature your industry is.

2. While most companies prepare a presentation for the analysts, I recommend looking outside of the box. Can you communicate point 1 in a video? Can an infographic visually communicate this better? If you opt for a presentation, keep it to 10-12 slides.

3. Research the appropriate analysts for your industry/company. Most firms provide analyst bios, areas of expertise and past research reports on their websites. Identify the top 2-3 analysts who are most appropriate in your area or for your upcoming announcement.

4. Complete the briefing request form on the website. The briefing form will ask for information about your company, founders, and other pertinent information. Be as clear as possible in your responses.

Typically, you can arrange to brief key analysts once a year without being a customer. In the case of product announcements, the analyst may make an exception to meet with you again, but you must distinguish between “incremental” improvements for your company and within your space to something “innovative” that will change the dynamics of the existing market place.

5. If possible, schedule the meeting in person. If the analyst is not local to you, then consider coordinating your business travel dates to coincide with the briefing or plan a larger media/analyst tour. If you’re meeting over the phone, keep in mind that most calls are recorded, which serve as a resource for analysts who are unable to attend.

6. Consider engaging a sales person to assist in the process. Why? They want to demonstrate their value to entice you to become a paying customer. The sales person will help coordinate with the analyst’s calendar and may also provide you with a sample report or two written by that analyst.

7. Analysts also list what their upcoming research is. If there is a research project related to your industry, then connect with the analyst. Make sure to tailor your communication based on the report. For example, the analyst may want to speak with Fortune 500 customers versus do an overview of the technology.

8. And most importantly, rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse some more. This includes preparing a presentation at least 1 week in advance and forwarding it to the analyst at least 2-3 days in advance. This allows an analyst to review your information beforehand; thereby allowing more time for discussion.

In the case of a remote briefing, rehearsing enables you to determine if demos or remote screen shares will work correctly versus having technical difficulties during the briefing.

THE BRIEFING

Once you’ve scheduled a briefing, here are some things to keep in mind.

1. The analyst briefing is not an opportunity for all founders and executives to meet with the analyst. Rather, analysts are seeking to determine how your company/technology fits in with their existing customers and their needs.

I recommend having the company visionary, which could be your founder or CEO, and a product marketing/technology person participate in the briefing. And finally, a PR representation can be present to take notes and conduct any follow-ups after the meeting.

2. Most companies think the briefing is an opportunity to talk only about your company. While you’re there to introduce yourself to the analyst, you also want to take this opportunity to get insight from the analysts about your market place, their thoughts on what you presented, and possibly competitors.

As such, I recommend limiting your presentation to no more than 20 minutes to allow the remaining 40 minutes for discussions and questions.

3. Be clear, concise and realistic. This means avoiding marketing speak, such as the first, the best, the only. Clearly outline what your company does, the value proposition and how this helps customers achieve their business goals. If possible, include one to two customer examples.

4. Analysts are keenly aware that part of their role is to sell you on services. Allow for some discussion about how the analyst firm can assist your company toward the end of the presentation.

AFTER THE BRIEFING 

1. Review all your notes and follow up on any to do’s discussed during the briefing.

2. Regularly communicate significant technology updates or customers wins with the analyst. Provide a brief on why the news may be of interest. But don’t include the analyst on any marketing lists.

3. If something significant happens in your industry, such as a competitor get acquired, take the opportunity to write to your analysts with your perspective on the news and what this means to your company. Better yet, write a blog post and send the analyst a link to the post.

What other tips do you have for working with analysts? Or analysts, what do you prefer?

Other Resources

Wikipedia on Industry Analysts

Quora: What elements are in an ideal industry analyst briefing?

Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang: What an Effective Analyst Briefing is Like

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About

Cece Salomon-LeeCece Salomon-Lee is director of product marketing for Lanyon Solutions, Inc. and author of PR Meets Marketing, which explores the intersection of public relations, marketing, and social media.

This blog contains Cece's personal opinions and are not representative of her company's.

Learn more about Cece.

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