Can you share your tips on making a great analyst briefing deck?
Afraid that this is a confidential item I can't share---sorry! A few thoughts though about how we do this well (and I have to credit a colleague, Michael Dunne, who does this work and is an exceptional AR expert).
1) Sales slides: If they're good enough to sell with, they should be good enough for the analyst.
2) Growth & leadership: Show your momentum, your success, your profile in your market. Anything you'd show to a potential investor here too. Be bold without lying...
3) Format like the analyst: See what the analyst has published themselves and structure any custom slides in the way you think the analyst would create them. For example, some analysts love charts of data, others like consulting-y flow charts.
Hope that helps a bit!
I covered the basic flow of an introductory briefing deck in another question. I'd be happy to connect with you 1-1 to walk through yours and share a bit of mine :) Find me on LinkedIn!
I've found 3 things that have really helped me have good analyst briefings.
Being very thoughtful and very direct about why I've requested a briefing with that analyst. This gives the analyst context on why they should care about your solution, i.e. if you do a good job connecting the dots. As an example: You wrote X in Y report, and that's exactly what our customers tell us we solve for them. I thought it'd be helpful for your research to share how we do that... Or, You wrote X in Y report, and I found that very insightful and I'd love to share a slightly different take on it with how we do it and get your feedback on it in a follow up inquiry.
Use this opportunity to share a unique POV. I love working with analysts because I learn so much from them. At the same time, they are also learning a lot about the market and the ecosystem by talking to customers and vendors as well. A brefing is an opportunity to educate analysts not just on your product, but on the customer problem you're solving. They care about customer problems, how customers are solving those problems, and trends/shifts in the technology landscape. That's how you wave yourself into the conversation.
Customer stories. Customer stories. Customer stories. My rule of thumb is always include customer stories in your analyst briefings. If you don't have case studies yet, even quotes from prospects on the problem you're solving. Something, anything! Analysts care more about their clients, the problems you're helping their clients solve, and their research which hopefully you are making them smarter about.
- Competitive differentiation and/or where you "fit" in the ecosystem. This is about connecting the dots, being very transparent, and getting to brass tacks ;) They're going to put you somewhere. They're going to compare you with others. They're going to hear about you from customers. Be direct about your competitors (who you come up against in deals, who you anticipate), where you're different, and if there's not a clear category you fall in, where you fit (overlap, integrate) in the broader ecosystem of adjacent technologies. If you are still developing this, involve them in the process. It's a win-win because they enjoy this type of advisory, are very knowledgeable about the ecosystem, and it's great to include (and influence) them on your journey.
The best analyst briefing decks that I've either seen or helped build are not filled with marketing messaging. They clearly layout what analysts typically care about, which could include the following: trends you've observed in market you operate in, the challenges your product(s) solves, overview of your growth trajectory, industries you touch plus key use cases for each, unique differentiators, and insight into the product & (high level) GTM strategy and company vision.
Other elements I'd suggest: Include customer success stories, lay out the ecosystem that supports your products (ie. partners, integrations, develop engagement), and share how you support your customers. Also, it may seem obvious, but I'd caution against including stats/proof points that were produced by another analyst firm. In general, have a clear agenda that includes space for Q&A and listening to their feedback.
I think the mistake here is making it too long. I’d suggest an inverse triangle approach, and keep it short depending on the length and purpose of your briefing, probably no more than 5-10 slides. My typical lay out is:
- Company slide (founded in, team, key logos, etc)
- Market context (TAM/SAM/SOM as needed)
- Problem statement: Key persona & pain points
- Unique perspective: What’s your thesis/why you
- Product overview: Perhaps a traditional marchitecture slide to start and then some screenshots or even better a 10min product demo walking thru a fictional user problem
- Customer case study, ideally with metrics
- End on questions/discussion points you have for the analyst
As you think thru your talk track, make sure to really frame your language in the same language that the analyst your talking to uses. Talk about the category the same way they do, and just be honest with them about your products strengths and weaknesses. Analysts are curious people and enjoy learning about new things, they will ask you lots of questions. Make sure that you’re giving them the right path of questioning to go down so that you can also take away valuable insights from the conversion!
While briefing decks may vary, I believe there are a few key elements that you should consider to make it a 'kick-ass' deck:
- company overview
- solution overview
- competitive landscape
- customer proof points
First, you start with an overview of your company. You don’t need to tell the entire founding story and should focus on the key facts to tell the analyst how long you’ve been in the market, how many employees you have, how much revenue - if you can share - and key markets you operate. You basically need to give the analyst a good idea of who the company is and how big of a player you are in the market. -> Note: if this is not the first briefing to the analyst team, you may skip this part unless something significant (e.g. new executive team, new offices, etc.) took place since the last briefing.
Then, you go through your solution and here’s where you want to talk about what problem you are solving for what particular persona and market and how your product can uniquely solve that particular problem.
This then leads you to discuss how you see the competitive landscape and why your company is better or different or why you think other vendors in the market are falling short.
Then, you showcase a few customers as proof points about everything you just said. This is to show that is not just you saying you are good or better, you have customers that back you up.
Now that you have told the analysts why should they care, is time to show them your product in a live demo. Here you want to avoid going too deep in specific features and toggles and make sure you highlight not just the overall user experience but show the capabilities that make you unique and support the story you just told.
And last, leave a few minutes for a Q&A. The briefing is typically a one-sided afair, in which you talk and the analysts listen but they may want to dive deeper into different product areas or something you showed them. Make sure to pace yourself and rehearse the briefing with the team that will be supporting you.
I've been on both sides of the table. Before you set pixels to powerpoint...
#1 - What questions do you have for the analyst to help validate or refute your assumptions about the market?
#2 - Can you describe the customer problem and your offering clearly enough that when a customer who fits your ideal target calls the analyst, the analyst thinks of you.
#3 - Do you have a unquie perspective or better yet data on customer behaviors that would help the analyst do their job more effectively?
#4 - Have you read the recent research of the key analysts you will be briefing?
#5 - How is your snizzle different / better / cheaper than what the analyst already knows well?
Some good posts on the topic: