Charlene Li of Forrester Research on how to pitch industry analysts

John Shinal · March 3, 2008 · Short URL:

Here's more evidence that elevator pitches aren't just for meetings with investors.

As Forrester Research analyst Charlene Li tells us in this clip, if you want to get the attention of industry analysts, you better get to the point fast. 

She gets more than 50 briefing requests per week, and unknown startups have just one paragraph in a written pitch to get her attention. 

"What I look for is someone who's going to tell me something I don't know," says Li, who writes a popular blog on social media, called Groundswell, and is co-authoring a book of the same name.

Right now, Li is spending a lot of time thinking about ways that social network users and email users can port their data from one network to another.

"If you have a new way of thinking about that problem or approaching that problem, I would love to hear about it," says Li, who made the comments on a panel during Stanford University's Entrepreneurship Week.

While she schedules 30-minute briefings, Li usually knows within the first ten minutes whether the company will be interesting enough to include in a report.

And for those of you brand new startups thinking you're ready to pitch Li or other industry analysts, think again.

"I think it's definitely too early (too pitch analysts) if you don't have (customer) case studies, or you don't have growth or some sort of momentum. Otherwise you're just sitting out there... and I've just heard four or five other companies... who have something similar," says Li.

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