Earnings calls and capital markets days offer companies an opportunity to engage with investors in a group setting, to reiterate their key message and build credibility within the investment community, but these calls may not always go to plan.
How companies can better prepare for earnings calls, unexpected questions during Q&As and ensuring the key message remains in play were all unpicked during the latest IR Magazine Webinar, in partnership with Lumi.
Kicking off the webinar, speakers looked at the practical steps IR professionals can take to ensure a better quality of engagement between their company and the capital markets at events.
Karen Sansot, vice president of IR at BILL, said the most important thing an IR professional can do is to invest time engaging with investors and analysts to keep aligning conversations with the company’s key message.
Sylvie Harton, chief business strategy officer at Lumi, explained that to help organizations increase the level of their engagement it should start before the event takes place.
‘What I’ve seen in the past with organizations that do very well is that they engage with their investors in advance to try to understand the gaps in their understanding and the concerns or questions they have. And very often that drives the agenda, particularly around investor days, for instance,’ she said.
More importantly, she noted, engaging with investors before the event helps the management team ‘really be crisp and clear around the key messages it wants to hone in on during those events.’
During the webinar, delegates were given the chance to vote on the question: what type of tools and processes do you use to anticipate/predict analyst and investor questions?
They were given the option to select from perception studies/surveys, media monitoring, company intelligence, peer-benchmarking or market research. The results flagged company intelligence as the main tool, with 30 percent of the audience choosing this category, while media monitoring and market research both came in last, taking only 7 percent of the votes.
In response to the poll, Harton said a ‘well-rounded preparation’ should include all of the listed things. ‘All in all, they’re all really good tactics, I think they all play a role,’ she said. ‘Delivering, in my opinion, what analysts and investors are looking for is a really good way to hit the nail on the head to meet the goals.’
In a similar fashion, Sansot added: ‘We use all of what you listed in the poll. Most important is our internal notes that we have from these conversations: we have a big Google Doc where we keep track of all our talks. We’re then able to easily search for words by specific investor as well as certain topics.’
Prerecord or recite live
During the Q&A portion of the webinar, a lot of the questions that came through from delegates asked speakers whether it’s best to prerecord opening remarks or recite them live.
Harton said that while prerecordings are increasing and remove the pressure of delivering in front of an audience, she prefers to hold the remarks live.
‘If I record, I have to listen to myself and then I will find all [sorts of] problems with it, but it’s really a question of preference,’ she said. ‘The benefit is that if you do record it, the stress is [gone and] you can focus on your Q&A because some executives don’t perform as well live.’
Sansot agreed, stating her preference for live events as they offer a better opportunity to engage with investors: ‘It’s really an opportunity for investors to come and meet the management team and see [people] face to face.’
To view the IR Magazine Webinar– Deepening investor engagement and managing Q&A, click here.