What makes the difference between a brilliant analyst presentation and a horror show? Ask any IT analyst why some vendors’ briefing decks leave them cold and you’ll probably hear the same answers coming back again and again.

At some time or other, we’ve all been subjected to an awful performance: The stand-up comedian who’s ‘dying’ on stage, the dreary warm-up act for the band you’ve paid to see, or even the big-mouth holding court on a crowded train.

But these end mercifully quickly. Instead, spare a thought for the long-suffering IT analyst. Over a period of five years, these professionals typically sit through up to 1,000 hours of briefings from IT vendors.

Worse still, 95% of presentations in general suck. That’s the famous quote attributed to Guy Kawasaki, the US marketing specialist, author, and Silicon Valley venture capitalist.

But this can be good news … for you

Poor presentations are deadly for analysts but they present a great opportunity for you to stand out. Even if you’ve never engaged with analysts previously, or you’ve briefed an analyst but had an unfavorable response, then this is your opportunity to shine.

Avoid these five common mistakes and you could radically change an analyst’s perceptions about your company and what they then tell others about you — which can lead to a dramatic boost in sales.

Blunder #1: It’s all about us, not the customer

Bad briefing decks usually follow the inside-out approach, when they should be outside-in. Vendors often can’t resist launching into a big speech about themselves — as if the world revolves around them. This is a serious error because analysts are the champions of IT users. They’ll see right through any hype.

Analysts really want to know about your customers, which pain-points you solve, how this happens, and why this works out better for the end user. Follow this approach.

Blunder #2: Trying to fit in too much

It’s quite common to see briefing decks that are 40-50 slides long for a 45-minute briefing. Some IT vendors feel they must say everything. But analysts are really busy. If you dump a ton of information on them, they will likely simply miss the most important points completely.

Instead, craft your briefing deck using only the slides you need to tell your story. Less is more.

Blunder #3: Getting distracted by the competition

Companies often want to tell analysts about the perceived weaknesses of their competitors. But this can backfire. The analyst will automatically assume these rivals are major players in your market and they’re giving you a hard time.

Rather, make the briefing about you alone. Don’t supply oxygen to your competition.

Blunder #4: Looking small and amateur

If you’re trying to be seen as a big dog in your space, then look like one. It’s not possible to transform bad content into a good presentation through design flair alone. But you can ruin the impact of a great presentation by using distracting backgrounds, fuzzy images, garish charts, mixed fonts and different text sizes. These give the impression you’re a small dog.

Leading companies tend to use professional editors, graphic artists and brand templates to make their content look slick and polished. Do the same, or at least make it appear so.

Blunder #5: Being boring

It’s an uncomfortable truth but most analyst briefings are all the same. Companies sound identical to each other — same vision, strategy, and value proposition. It’s no wonder that analysts start to drift off, check emails, and send IMs.

What you really need is a clear and interesting story, told with passion and armed with evidence. You’ll be refreshingly different. The analyst will sit up — and their assessment could change your fortunes.

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