Face-to-face meetings with key members of the institutional investor community can be critical to your company’s success in the public markets. However, it can often be challenging for companies to reach the right institutional accounts and appropriately balance these IR activities with the many other demands on management’s time.
Maximizing the benefit of investor interaction without sacrificing other priorities requires a strategic approach. Here are three tips to improve your company’s strategy:
1. Start the year with a formal plan for your IR conference and non-deal road show strategy.
Creating an annual IR conference and non-deal road show (NDR) strategy at the beginning of the year allows your IR team to take a proactive approach to planning IR activities and ensure that you are making the most of your time spent on the road.
Begin by identifying potential dates for NDRs that don’t conflict with major institutional investor conferences and other important events on Wall Street. Boston can be a great place to build a quality schedule of investor meetings, except when everyone is attending an investor conference hosted by a prominent investment bank in another city. Where possible, optimize your time spent away from the office for business-related travel (e.g., medical meetings, regional sales meetings, etc.) by squeezing in NDRs with key investors in the city that you’re visiting.
Once you have identified possible dates, prioritize potential NDR locations and identify target accounts in each. When organizing an NDR hosted by an investment bank, you can offer the analyst and their institutional sales team a choice between several of your target cities. Without these suggestions, most banks will want to take you to NYC, where there is the highest concentration of investors (and trading commissions). This approach will allow you to avoid the pitfall of allocating too much of your time to a single city or visiting the same city multiple times in the same month.
Ask the analyst to connect with their institutional sales team to confirm where they can build the best meeting schedule, and then follow up by providing the team with a list of target accounts in that region that you would like them connect with once they start to build your meeting schedule.
2. Use NDRs to strengthen relationships with covering and target sell-side analysts and help them better understand your company’s story.
When organizing NDRs, be sure to express that you would like the sell-side research analyst to attend if possible. While many buy-side firms will not allow the sell-side analyst to join you in your meetings, these NDRs are a great way to cultivate or enhance your relationship with the analyst in between meetings.
Ask the analyst what feedback he or she has been hearing from the buy-side in recent weeks. What is the current sentiment on the company from an external perspective? What are the primary areas of focus and sources of confusion for existing and potential investors? Use time on the road together to explain aspects of your company’s story that are underappreciated or poorly understood by the investment community.
Following NDRs, many analysts publish research notes highlighting their interaction with management. The better analysts will use these notes as an opportunity to clarify potential issues and highlight important areas of potential upside based on their conversations with management. This can be a valuable opportunity to leverage your discussions with the analyst and deliver key aspects of your messaging to the broader investment community.
3. Optimize conference meeting schedules by taking a proactive approach to outreach and scheduling.
When it comes to investor conferences, small- and micro-cap companies can be plagued by one-on-one meeting schedules that are only partially full. While it’s important to be in close communication with the conference coordinators to optimize the meeting schedule, you can also supplement this effort by organizing additional meetings on the side:
- Reach out to current investors and buy-side accounts you have met with in the past. These accounts may not be participating in the conference, but might be interested in meeting with you at a nearby café.
- Schedule breakfast and dinner meetings with target sell-side analysts and investment banking teams while you’re in town to provide them with an update on your company’s story and continue to build your relationship.
- Offer local board members and venture capital/private equity shareholders the opportunity to meet with you outside of the conference when you’re in town. Even if they decline the opportunity, the gesture is always appreciated.
By thinking ahead and planning your IR activities strategically, you can optimize your time dedicated to investor conferences and NDRs and maximize your outreach to key institutional accounts across the country. Learn more about creating a successful IR strategy by downloading our checklist, 6 Core Elements of an Effective IR Plan.