Tuesday, 16 January 2007

AR 101 Series: Don't use a sales presentation with analysts

Most AR managers review a number of presentations each month, typically in conference calls or meetings with spokespeople. First-time critiques often result in recommendations for significant revisions because best practices for constructing the typical sales or marketing presentation do not produce the best flow or information content required for an effective analyst briefing. Unfortunately, when a sales presentation is used with an analyst, it frequently results in a negative perception of the company and its solutions by the analyst.

Some of the common errors are listed below.

  • Starting with the solution rather than the problem. The best sales approach starts by showing the value of solving a problem. However, analysts often complain that vendors spend too much time setting up the scene and giving background, and too little time explaining what the solution actually does.
  • Using the vendor's vocabulary, rather than the analyst's framework. Analysts work in models, so spokespeople need to gear each presentation to the analyst's model, rather than a generic sales presentation of the solution.
  • If the analyst follows a narrower segment than your solution, then match your comments to their narrow focus. If you speak to a broad sales deck, analysts will go negative -- either they will assume you can't target the right analysts, or they will think you don't know what they focus on.
  • Don't follow a script. Analysts want to feel vendors are open with them. Following the sales slides deck closely makes analysts feel that you are not confident speaking on other topics, and makes them feel that you are controlling the conversation too tightly.
What's the alternative? Focus on intended results and incorporate your understanding of the analysts and the workings of the industry analyst marketplace when preparing an analyst presentation, especially when confronted with a stubborn spokesperson who resists your suggestions for building an effective “deck.


Anonymous said...

Most vendors have a strict policy of only revealing puffy fluff to analysts. That's the name of the game...they save the "real" conversations for the consultants these days.

Duncan Brown said...

I can't see how "revealing puffy fluff" would achieve anything other than annoying a decent analyst. I guess it's up to the vendor whether they want genuine and useful input on their strategy or some sort of bland endorsement of a marketing spin. You get out what you put in.

From personal experience there are few differences between analysts and consultants, even within analyst firms. But I do see a distinction between good analysts and bad...

(BTW Love the term "puffy fluff")

Anonymous said...

Duncan - gotta disagree here, am afraid. Vendors are far more forthcoming with the consultants these days and deliberately keep the analyst schmooze at the fluff-level. Most of the analysts have to feign interest as they need to sign the vendors onto their advisoty services. Why do you think most of the good analysts have gone? They got BORED with the puffy-fluff!

Bob Smith said...

are you the same duncan brown who worked at IDC and Ovum?

free ps3 said...

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Tony D said...

If you take the middle ground and let the analysts, vendors and consultants find a meeting point and there laways is one even if it is not clear, lock them in a room or take them to a bar, let them laze around in garden hammocks it does not really matter as long as a solution can be found it will make a huge difference to any future meetings.