Founders and senior executives at startups frequent speak about the future of their companies and markets with grand sweeping statements about how they are going to change the world. They also will say that every enterprise and small business or consumer should buy their product or service. While these might be legitimate statements and required when speaking to the press, when used with IT industry analysts they are often a credibility killer. After hearing such claims from a tiny vendor without many existing customers or demonstrated ability to execute, an analyst will often quietly smirk and not consider mentioning the startup to clients – potential prospects for the startup.
If analysts perceive that you are so scattershot in your target markets that you won’t be effective then they won’t risk their reputation putting you on short lists. What is more effective is being very focused on what markets you are targeting. By being focused it will increase your credibility because the analyst will think that you are being realistic in matching your ambitions to your resources. When analysts have that mindset, they are much more comfortable recommending your company to their end-user clients as “an interesting small vendor that has potential.”
- Develop a series of credible focused target markets to use with the analysts
- Determine which of these example target markets are relevant to a specific analyst based on their client base
- During the briefing confirm the type of IT buyer (aka end user) the analyst advises on a regular basis and adjust your example market to use depending on what you learn
- Position your target market statement in phrases like “If you are talking to someone in _____ market needing ____ functionality, then we should be on that short list”
- Use candor to increase credibility by eliminating markets in phrases like “if the IT manager needs ___ functionality and ____ vertical expertise, then we are definitely not the company to mention”
Bottom Line: Briefing IT industry analysts can be excellent way for startups to generate highly qualified leads and general market visibility. However, if the analyst perceives the startup has bit off more than it can handle in terms of breadth or depth of target market they will not recommend the startups for IT buyer short lists. By being more narrow and targeted about markets or verticals they are going after, startups will improve their credibility and increase their chances that analysts will send leads their way.
Question: Analysts – What is your opinion of startups that say they can do everything for everybody?
Are you delivering the most credible story you have to the analysts? SageCircle can help. SageCircle strategists can:
- Critique your analyst briefing content for hype and credibility killers
- Review your target markets 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.
Since 2000, SageCircle has helped analyst relations teams to focus on business value by encouraging innovative thinking that leverages insights and drives revenue.