Disclaimer: I’m not an analyst. So keep in mind that these tips are from my point of view based on what I’ve learned from working with analysts. But every analyst is different and will have their own preferences on how they prefer to work with vendors. So get to know the analyst as best you can before requesting a briefing and don’t assume anything.
Building personal relationships with analysts not only facilitates awareness and coverage for your company, but analysts also represent potential advocates who know what the market’s doing, who’s buying, and how your company’s brand fits into the overall equation. These influencers not only provide coverage and ensure inclusion in the purchasing conversation, but also competitive intelligence and market insights. For all these reasons, it makes sense to develop relationships with them.
Most analysts will be open to scheduling a formal briefing and/or seeing a demo of your HR technology product, but since they’re constantly barraged with requests, breaking through the noise and booking time requires a mix of high tech and high touch (and patience). Most larger analysts firms have formal vendor briefing policies outlined on their websites. Study them. HRmarketer Research also provides detailed profiles and briefing policies for hundreds of analysts.
Do Your Homework
Before you do anything, familiarize yourself with the analyst. Read their bio, understand their briefing policies, know their coverage areas and read some of their work. Most analysts are on social. Follow them, and if they tweet (most do) take the time to read their tweets (topics they engage with, content they share). When you speak with the analyst, it is nice if you can reference something about them — such as a report you read or their recent research.
Analysts are always researching, and seeking ideas for new reports, or technologies and case studies that might influence or inform current projects. And they’re always seeking people and companies that their clients might benefit from knowing (and vice versa). Personalize your initial pitch for a briefing, and not only clearly say why the analysts should be interested in your company/product, but also what’s in it for them. The answer should never be marketing messaging, but rather, selling a story that positions your company into the bigger HR picture, speaking to end users or focused on broader trends or industry issues instead of functions or features. In other words, leave the marketing hyperbole at home. It also helps to share a case study with client objectives and measurable results.
Note: if you are wanting to schedule briefings at major industry conferences — like the HR Technology® Conference — the time to do so is months in advance. Waiting until September for an October conference is way too late.
Send your deck to the analyst a day or two prior to the briefing. If an analyst hasn’t met you before, provide them with a one-pager about your company — headquarter location, year founded, number of employees, key executives, investors, financing, revenue, and the names of a few key customers.
Most briefings are between 30 minutes and one hour in length. Analysts often book back-to-back briefings — especially at conferences — so don’t expect to go over and be respectful of analysts’ time. Here are some other tips. They sound obvious but they are really important:
- Keep your deck to a manageable length — nobody wants to sit through your 30-slide, death-by-PowerPoint presentation.
- Be honest and don’t exaggerate.
- Rehearse your messaging; know your priorities and the key points you want to convey.
- Be prepared to have an interactive conversation.
- Be upfront about your product’s limitations and where your product/technology may need improvement.
- Be clear about your business model and where your product/technology fits into the larger marketplace.
- Do not exaggerate or be promotional (e.g., “there is nothing else like our product in the market”).
- Don’t dominate the conversation.
- Don’t bad-mouth the competition.
- Remember, the analyst has heard briefing after briefing after briefing. Your job is to be engaging and memorable. A great way to do so is if you can provide the analyst with new marketplace information.
Here are some additional resources you might find useful as you prepare for your analyst briefings:
The Art of the Analyst Briefing (How to Engage and Reduce Skepticism)
How to Nail Your Gartner Vendor Briefings
Top 10 Tips for Briefing Industry Analysts
And of course, get a license to HRmarketer Research which has detailed profiles for hundreds of industry analysts including their bios, contact information, vendor briefing policies, research reports (if publicly available), blog and social media details.
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