The initial analyst briefing for a startup (Startup Saturday)

rocket-for-startups.jpgAs part of our Startup Saturday series we have suggested that AR should be a significant investment for emerging companies and how analysts can play a role in building market awareness.  We offered techniques for introducing yourself to an analyst – so let’s be practical about the presentation you use for your first briefing.

The most important thing about the first briefing is to keep it short and focused.  Carefully evaluate your three key messages and leave EVERYTHING else out of the presentation.  If you bore the analyst with 40 slides with 93 builds of technology (aka death by PowerPoint) you will never get a second briefing.

Your goal for this first briefing should be to introduce the company and its customer benefits rather than trying to educate the analyst on your technology.  Remember that analysts are looking for information that will serve their advisory clients.  Positioning the customer benefit first will open the door to the technical or service solutions later. The first briefing is never the time to do a product demo.

Don’t compare yourself to the competition.  That will only serve to remind the analyst of other solutions.  Certainly a good analyst will ask, but don’t open that door yourself.  Good preparation will help keep you from being dragged into a defensive position and distracted from the content you want to present.  Don’t forget about spokesperson training.

Try to include a customer example, even if the customer is in beta or you cannot mention the customer by name.  Showing real-world examples will help put your work into context and encourage analyst dialog.  Again, keep this simple so that you have opportunities for future dialog.  Tell the analyst if you have other examples or would be able to elaborate on future calls.

Prepare questions that you want to ask, and weave them into the talk track you intend to use.  This will remind you to open the dialog without expressly putting the questions on the slides.  Avoid graphics that could make the slide deck large and hard to email.

Prepare background materials that you can send to the analyst after the briefing.  This opens the door for follow-up better than including that content in the first briefing.

SageCircle Technique:

  • Review your key messages before you start creating the presentation
  • Keep the presentation focused
  • Be sure the spokesperson has the proper AR training
  • Encourage dialog by asking questions
  • Include customer benefits and a customer example
  • Leave them wanting more

 Sample outline for a startup’s initial presentation to an industry analyst:

  1. Title slide (with AR contact info)
  2. Key messages (instead of an agenda slide)
  3. Basic introduction to your company, management team and financial backers
  4. Business problem to be solved and how you identified it
  5. Your solution (the service or product)
  6. Customer success stories
  7. Your key differentiators
  8. Business case for deployment
  9. Features and functions (product overview -one slide, not a demo)
  10. Screen shots to illustrate key unique functionality (very, very optional)
  11. Go-to-market strategy (optional, but recommended)
  12. Wrap up (repeat slide 2, key messages)

Bottom Line: As the old expression goes, you only have one chance to make a good impression. Focus your initial analyst briefing on topics that will make the analyst want to invest more time in learning about your company. This means going heavy on customer business problem, customer benefits and market insights while going light on features and functions.

Question:  AR Teams – what else makes a good first impression?  Analysts – What are the other common mistakes you have seen with first-time briefings?

Are you delivering the most credible story you have to the analysts? SageCircle can help.  SageCircle strategists can:

  • Critique your analyst briefing content for relevance to the analysts and eliminate hype and credibility killers
  • Review your target markets and knowledge of the business problems to ensure they appear realistic without being too narrow
  • Play the analyst role in practices to prepare you for the tricks the analysts use and help you develop credible answers to typical questions

For more information on how SageCircle can help startups leverage the market power of the IT industry analysts please contact info [at] sagecircle dot com or 650-274-8309. Don’t forget that SageCircle has an AR Effectiveness Seminar in June.  Details on the website at www.sagecircle.com

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