IR Program Enhancement for public Campanies
Imagine your largest investor is an insider – someone with whom you can share your yet-to-be-released strategic plans and who can provide you with valuable feedback based on historical precedent. How will other investors perceive your plan? Where are the pitfalls and the risks? What have other companies done when faced with similar challenges and how did the market react to those? What have been the “best practices” other companies have pursued and how were these strategies best communicated to investors? We provide the answers to these vexing questions so that you can focus on actually running your business. Other companies that provide investor relations services can claim they do this, but have they ever sat in the chair of the investor like we have?
Presenting quarterly results can be a challenge – even for the brightest leaders and the most prosaic speakers – if they don’t properly understand how their audience (investors) has been trained to listen. We’ve listened to literally thousands of earnings calls and have dissected them, parsed the meanings of certain phrases, and compared current commentary to previous statements to discern changes – however minor or unintended. We know how investors “hang” on every word management says and how critical it is to craft a message in a manner that properly represents its meaning. We help shape your dialogue and set the tone and sentiment for your results to be best understood by the investment community. We are the only investor relations agency that has this training and experience.
Do investors constantly ask you how you’re faring relative to your competitors? Do you wonder sometimes how they seem to have better competitive intelligence than you? We know how these astute investors operate – by speaking with competitors, former employees, industry analysts, and customers because we walked in their shoes for nearly 20 years. We understand how to conduct this investigative research – both so that you can benchmark your product development roadmaps appropriately, and so that you can confidently answer investors about how your outlook fares relative to your competition.
Investment Thesis Development
How do you "tell your story?" Do you find that investors quickly "get it" and walk away from your meetings saying, "I understand. This is a really neat opportunity and I'm going to do some more work." Or do you find that analysts are often confused and seem to miss the key points that drive your growth in revenue and operating income? Knowing how investors decide to pursue an idea allows us to provide you with unique advice on how to tell your story.
Messaging and Positioning
You live and breathe every aspect of your business for 50 hours a week, 52 weeks a year. But have you ever considered how much time your investors spend on your business? A generous answer: 4 hours a quarter.
Think about how much information they don't have. Think about how much of the nuances of the business you take for granted but about which they're blissfully unaware. Without question, this affects your communication style because without recognizing this, CEOs and CFOs often speak with investors as if these overlooked topics are "common knowledge."
This is where we come in. We're outsiders. We haven't been toiling away within the walls of your business for the last several years for 50 hours a week, 52 weeks a year. Rather, we approach the business as an investor - with a clean slate. And as we delve into the details of your business and analyze it as an insider would, we still retain the perspective of an outsider. What would an investor want to hear? What are the key drivers of operating profitability? What are the big picture themes on which they should be focused? How should they measure and evaluate your progress towards your stated goals.
Only someone who has sat in the seat of an institutional investor can think about your business with the same "set of eyes" that an investor would. And investors are your target audience right? As the only investor relations agency with more than 20 years of experience acting as investors, we help our clients develop presentation decks that properly tell their stories in the way that investors and analysts can most easily digest it.
Roadshow and Conference Preparation
Do you wish you had a coach who spent nearly 20 years as an investor in companies like yours to help prepare you for your most important Wall Street speaking engagements? What questions should you anticipate? How should you handle them? What’s the best method to discuss unfavorable developments?
We “grew up” on the buy-side and have coached teams like yours through all parts of their business lifecycles. Jason has also conducted hundreds of 1:1 meetings and is known for his ability to ask probing follow-up questions.
The more you understand how investors will think about and analyze your business, the better prepared you will be for these follow-up questions. The last thing you want to do is come away from a roadshow leaving investors feeling like you were unprepared or don't fully understand the key topics on investors' minds.
Answering investor questions can be stressful as roadshows often present opportunities to speak with investors that run the gamut from growth to value, large to small, traditional to alternative, and from passive to active. Understanding how to best speak with each kind can pose a challenge; speaking the language of a passive, traditional, value investor to an active, alternative growth investor can create problems for even the most stable business. We provide actionable advice before your investor meetings and real-time guidance during your meeting schedule to help ensure your message is being received in the manner you intend
Analyst Relations Advisory
Have you noticed that not all of the publishing analysts that follow your stock are accurately following your guidance? Is the consensus being affected by one or two outliers? We know how to deftly and carefully manage these situations to put you in a situation where the consensus estimates properly reflect what you want them to reflect.
When you know you're going to miss consensus estimates or need to take-down guidance, it can be a very stressful time. How honest should you be about the problem? How much disclosure should you provide? Where can you ascribe blame and how can you instill confidence that things will turn around?
Remember - we've been the analyst on the other side of the table and know what it sounds like when a company deftly handles setbacks vs. when they fail to instill confidence in investors. We call on the best practices learned from nearly two decades of listening to companies across the entire technology sector to provide you with the most helpful and thoughtful advice for how to retain shareholder confidence as you deal with any crisis.
Sometimes shareholders and sell-side analysts feel comfortable sharing constructive criticism and feedback with management teams directly.
However, we know from our time on both the sell and buy side that being "too open" can sometimes damage a relationship. Sell-side analysts have a disincentive to be brutally honest, lest they offend someone and lose their standing for future corporate access, and while buy-side analysts can potentially be more open, they too risk losing access to management if their comments cause too much of a "stir."
This is where we come in. Having sat in the seat of both the buy and sell side analyst, we understand these political challenges and conduct perception studies on an anonymous basis while also empathizing with each party. Remember, we "speak their language" and can often get them to truly open up to us - providing highly valuable feedback that we can use to help management adjust the telling of their story or whatever aspects of their IR program need to be adjusted.
Investors have short attention spans. This is because they're focused on many other things beyond just analyzing your company. A typical sell-side analyst covers 10-12 stocks and a buy-side analyst can cover up to 100. This means they have limited time with which to spend understanding the basics of your company, how you make money, what your competitive advantage is, and why they should be interested in spending more time with you to decide if they should invest. We've sat in this seat and have read hundreds (perhaps thousands) of investor presentations and we have a list of "best practices" that illustrate how to best capture investors' attention.
How many analyst days has your management team attended? Probably none. What about your IR director? Likely a similar answer, right?
We've been to hundreds of analyst days and have read the transcripts of many hundreds more. We can rattle off the top 10 best analyst days we've ever been to and why and can also tell you which ones we fell asleep in. When it comes to best practices around crafting an analyst day and prepping management for the inevitable questions they'll get at the end, we have more experience than just about anyone on the Street. Our coaching sessions prepare you for the most demanding sessions and will leave you feeling hyper-prepared for the big day.