What is the anatomy of a great analyst briefing deck?
In general, a good flow for an introductory briefing deck is:
- Introductions, and why you're here: I always like to start the conversation with a little context on why you've requested a briefing with the analyst. So I'll have a slide or just a few talking points on their specific research that sparked my request for a briefing.
- Company overview: Before you jump into what you do, it helps to give analysts a bit of context and be very direct. This isn't a sales pitch. Analysts want to know a few basic things about the company like primary buyers, funding, size of company, leadership, etc.
- Problem you solve: This isn't your sales pitch. You are educating the analyst on the customer problem which they should really care about too. You're sharing some new insight, some shift, something that they can bring back to their client inquiries. Perhaps even challenging them to think about it (or the solution!) in a new way.
- Solution and where we "fit": This is where I share how our solution/platform works and how our solution/platform plays with other existing and adjacent categories. This is also where I speak directly about our competitors. They always want to know this and you want to be very intentional on what you say here.
- Customer stories: Finally, it's a best practice to include customer stories anytime you speak to analysts. First, because it brings the solution to life and gives it credibility. Second, customer stories can help influence their research. Over time, you may have a chance to feed customer stories to analysts that get included in their reports (which is always a major win!)
Finally, because most analyst briefings are 30 minutes to start with, I like to keep it to 15 slides or less. Leaving time for questions, both throughout and at the end of briefings. You'll notice there's no demo above. Most of the time, analysts don't want a demo on the first briefing. If they do, they'll usually give you a 45-60 minute briefing.
Also, if you haven't checked it out yet, both Gartner and Forrester have great research on this topic, with analysts who cover analysts relations!
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!
An option here also is to really start with a point of agreement around how the market is changing and as a point of discussion. If it intersects with their research then all the better. Then use that as a setup to flow into why you exist are different/better. Finish with all the customer and company metrics to end on a strong note:
1. What has changed in the market.
2. Why current-state solutions are no longer a fit given this.
3. Founding vision and why your solution is different/better than the current state
4. Some detail to show that it's not BS.
5. How your GTM is different/better than existing solutions.
6. Real customer examples of success (metrics, outcomes)
7. Finish with company metrics (logos, growth, employees, review metrics).
A great briefing deck is a mix of big-picture positioning brought to life with customer stories and value drivers demonstration. And while it’s perfectly fine to have a go-to baseline deck, you want to tailor it to your audience, meaning the specific analyst’s interest and POV.
Here’s the structure that’s been working for me:
Start at the 10,000ft view - what are we trying to solve - the pain and our vision; continue with high level GTM strategy (main use cases, who are our buyers, growth motion (i.e. land and expand/ freemium/…).
Why us - here’s where you’d have the typical ‘about us’ slide; I pepper it with customer or ROI stats. Then, how we’re connecting the dots between the vision and product. I finish this section with a how we do it/why we’ve been successful - where I outline our strategic advantages. There I mention in the details section some specific features but I don’t talk about them at length. I view this as a demo-primer slide.
How we do it - I like to start this section with a specific customer example and results (again, tailored to the analyst expertise), and then we kick it off to the demo. It should highlight the main a-ha moments that we introduced before - why us.
I would always err on the side of fewer slides and feature-light demos to leave room for an interesting conversation and Q&A, and to leave the analysts ‘thirsty’ for more, hoping they’ll ask a follow up briefing with a deeper demo that they can invite more of their peers to.
Remember, you can always follow up with more slides; no need for 4 customer stories in the meeting itself or countless slides about features!
One last thing to keep in mind - who delivers the briefing? Although PMM owns AR, I don’t think we should deliver it alone.
Depending on the company stage and role the founder/CEO has in it, I’d encourage having them involved in some capacity. Some might carry the pain and vision part really well and could come back for the customer stories—again depending on their closeness and passion to these topics and of course, ability to present well.
We (the CMO and head of PMM) usually tackle the meaty part in the middle - we know the buyers, we know the GTM, we know the value drivers to our core. The demo is usually performed by our best SE. This has worked well because they speak to countless buyers and are trained to use features to deliver value.