Making the most out of Symposium

28Oct08

With Symposium just next week, people often attend without thinking ‘how can I make the most of this opportunity. Here are a few of my tips…

Gaining Analyst Mindshare

·         Conversations prior to the conference to influence the position of a vendor is vital to the outcome and discussion with their presentations to attendees. Inquiries, customer briefings and SAS days from June are critical to getting on their agenda. Also it might be worth a quick call to some of your analysts this week simply to touch-base.

·         Positive engagements on-site during the week will likely get reflected in the analyst’s presentation.  If it’s front of mind for them, they’re more likely to represent that when they’re up on stage.  Thus, meetings with them before their sessions and especially immediately before the session (and even sitting in the front of the room during the session) are high value influence opportunities.  

·         The key to effective competitive AR is to infiltrate the messaging of our competitive vendors.  Not only will you miss an opportunity to influence competitive positioning at the event when the analysts are presenting, you open up the opportunity for the competitive AR teams to influence your coverage.

 

Relationship Management

·         It really is one of the best times to build durable relationships.  The social and structured activities provide chances for engagement that really are unavailable at any other time.  

·         The show also provides a chance to build relationships with new and under utilized analysts and to continue to enhance relationships with key analysts. All the key Gartner analysts will be on hand for meetings and relationship building.

·         If you’re not there, the analysts will notice, especially the senior analysts most responsible for the event itself. They take pride in their event and your absence would send a message that you don’t really care.  I don’t want to be overly dramatic here, but the analysts will notice and they expect that the lead AR director should be there (as are your peers/competitors).

 

Sharpening Insights and Knowledge

·         One of the obvious benefits of the attending is to refine and acquire knowledge of not only competitive positioning, but on the industry itself through presentations and discussions.

·         You can gain competitive insights from the activities of the AR staff of your competitors.  It’s not just a matter of positioning ourselves favourably with the analysts. We should also be working to actively deposition the competition and understand their approach to the conference.

·         You can and continue to learn from your peers.  These are large gatherings of AR professionals and you can learn first-hand what issues and opportunities your colleagues perceive. I know several people who are going – and would be happy to introduce you to them in advance.

 

Mining Opportunities for the Future

·         Being there is essential to closing  the loop. We spend so much time and effort leading up to the event to influence the analysts so that they present favourably on you.  The event is not the end of the engagement.  Having helped to make the event successful for you, you need to make sure that you understand where we succeeded (and how to exploit those opportunities) and where we need improvement.  You can’t make an intelligent assessment of the outcomes and your companies overall performance if you’re not there. 

o    Customer insights. 

o    What’s the mood of the event. 

o    Are people optimistic? 

o    What sessions are well attended and what messages seem to resonate with them.

o    What’s going on the show floor? 

o    Where are customers spending their time? 

o    How does the HP booth support what we are trying to accomplish from an analyst messaging perspective.  The analysts look at the booth;  You need to know what they think of it and bring the insights and influence opportunities back to the company and turn the event into a catalyst for future influence and insights?

 

I hope this helps – and good luck next week.



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