The Dark Art of Magic Quadrants and Pitching Analysts

Sally Yates_MetiaGuest Contributor: Sally Yates, Head of Influence, Metia

Tap in Magic Quadrant into Google and up pops a raft of press releases happily announcing the ‘winners’ in the latest two by two grid wars. Like them or loathe them, MQs have become a bit of a holy grail. Rarely do you come across a fintech firm who doesn’t care about getting in that leader quadrant. It’s no small task either; MQs typically take about a 100 hours. Getting that pitch right can seem a bit of a dark art. So what’s the right approach?

To be fair, we should really be talking about the art, per se, of presenting a fintech firm to any analyst house. Given some of the presentations and pitches we hear some analysts talk about; it appears it can seem like a forgotten one. Let’s get to the juicy part then; how do you fair?

The don’ts:

  • Buzzwords & the competition: everyone’s an industry leader in something and totally unique at something else – how often have we heard the phrase ‘to be fair, no one really does exactly what we do – so we don’t really have direct competitors’. Honestly? Competitor landscape of one? The analyst is there to provide potential buyers with an informed view of the players in the market so cast a critical look at your [true] competitor landscape and take a clear position within it. You’re going to be put in a slot anyways, so make the most of your time with the analyst positioning yourself properly within it.
  • Sell: The analyst isn’t buying product, they want to build understanding. You don’t need to present as the perfect firm as you would in a sales meet either– they back check lots of stuff anyways, so if you’ve had some dodgy moments, fess up and turn it to a positive. How did it improve your client approach/product strategy? How has it enabled you to trump the competition?

The dos:

  • Analysts like numbers. There’s a caveat of course, as the numbers need to be validated and meaningful to the analyst. For example, saying you’ve improved x by x% is all well and good but how does that relate to your competitors? Why is it an important benchmark?
  • The differentiator: set out your stall. Tell them what you actually do differently (again, self-critique and get rid of the marketing speak, it doesn’t wash). What is truly different in how you approach an age old problem? Why does it make a difference?
  • Third party validation. Provide client references. If you can’t, be upfront and say so, explaining why. Never pretend you can and think stalling for weeks on end is a good plan.
  • Demos: Safe to say we could do with a few more of these and few less powerpoints.

This list is by no means exhaustive and it’s far from unique. I’m hoping we’ll hear of some other great tips and stories as there’s a lot to be learnt. One of my favourites has to be Jeremiah Owyang’s post from way back in 2009.

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