Do's and Don'ts for Analyst Briefings

Last Updated Oct 16, 2007 10:48 AM EDT

Michael Coté -- analyst at RedMonk -- shares some off-the-cuff do's and don'ts for companies participating in analyst briefings:

Increasingly, I like short calls. Most calls I do are an hour, but 1/2 hour would be nice.

I've seen other analysts get upset when people quote numbers and whatever from other analysts: don't tell analysts how their competitors commented on something.

If you want the call to go well, don't dig yourself into a whole by disagreeing with what the analyst is saying over and over. You'll just get distracted arguing about some stupid thing -- stupid on either end -- and never get to getting your point across.

Claims that "this is industry changing" or "people love us" or any claim that isn't backed up by something are useless. Of course every topic someone is briefing us on is going to be Penicillin 2.0. I call this the Mom and Apple-pie problem, I'm not interested in hearing all the 'how you do all the usual great stuff. 'Being awesome is a dime a dozen in presentations. That's pretty cynical, but a lot of people waste time dressing up the presentations with bold claims. Let the product and its customers speak for itself rather than telling us that we should just believe that it's awesome.

Know your analyst well. If you have time to tailor the diction and even arrangement, use it. Different analysts want different things. Giving the same presentation to every analyst firm results in stupid, distracting discussions.

Use the IM back channel is possible and appropriate. The best AR people (and company people) I know will IM me directly both during briefings and otherwise. Back-channel discussion can be extremely valuable and save time. (That's sort of my theme, right? Not getting distracted with stupid discussions).

Talking with analysts isn't like talking with press. Analysts will want to gather info, engage, and even try to sell you services and consulting. If you want to be devious, whet their appetite for sales suggesting, "we outta look into spending $XXX on some project XYZ." I can guarantee just a mention like that will make the analysts think "the call went well" and maybe even bend their impression of your technology/topic in your favor. It's sort of black ops, but, hey, smoke 'em if you got 'em.

The standard disclaimers that selling vaporware/bullshit will eventually, and quickly, back-fire apply.

People will always talk about weather, their kids, and "exotic" places people live (I end up talking about Austin all the time). Try to avoid sports, that's not a sort of universal solvent for small-talk.
I like getting a PDF of a presentation on my own. I HATE, HATE Webex's and other preso things. I like to be able to flip through the presentation on my own, keep it for notes, and otherwise have it. Desktop sharing stuff pisses me off.

The real question is: "how can we get ink/posts? How can we get the analysts to say 'company XYZ rules!'" I think the answer there is finding out what the analysts like and showing them something new and novel in that field. Also, just showing how you have a lot of users, made a lot of money, and testimonials from end users is good as well. The customer's voice is the most powerful you can have, and if you can just have analysts talk with customers instead of you, the company, that's your best bet, really.