Preparing for a Successful Earnings
8 September 2020
By Amy Statham
Earnings is a pivotal time for creating investor interest, influencing your shareholder base, and is arguably your best shot at making a strong impression on the Street. This period provides a new opportunity to communicate your company’s story, relay new strategies, and address your investment community. By taking the time beforehand to properly prepare for earnings, you can optimize your time and make the best impact possible. Here are some tips on preparing for a successful earnings.
Update Your Website Materials
While many focus on updating their IR website only after their earnings event is over, your investor website and social media channels are essential for educating your investor community prior to the event. According to Brunswick’s 2019 Digital Investor Survey, 98% of investors use digital sources to conduct research, and 88% are making decisions based on information they have learned online. A great example of a company that does this well is Electronic Arts Inc, who feature all earnings materials on its website to make it easy for investors and analysts to find, including past earnings and related information. Senior Manager of Investor Relations, Erin Rheaume, explains, “when you look at our recent quarter within the context of past earnings, it’s so logically laid out. You see everything you need at a glance.” For investors, “going back and looking at the numbers over the past few quarters is really helpful.”
Position Your Earnings Story Strategically
Consistency, confidence, and authenticity are essential in ensuring the right audiences see the right narrative about your company. Matt Van Tassel, Manager of Global Disclosure Services at Business Wire, advises IROs to “build a roadmap for all of your stakeholders.” Between the close of the quarter and your quarterly report, it’s good practice to inform your earnings messaging with critical analysts and investors’ feedback. Your core messages should weave seamlessly across every earnings communication, including the call script, press release, direct stakeholder communications, and even the Q&A. Even if you’re touching on previous earnings themes, ensure that your current messaging aligns with what you’ve said previously.
Prepare Your C-Suite for Analyst Questions
It’s incredibly important to have a well prepared, united front. So, spending time with your c-suite to ensure they’re ready for the call, as well as the Q&A period, is critical. To gauge the type of questions that may be asked, look back at your previous earnings – Were you expecting the right questions? Were there any surprises? Take a close look at what worked – and what didn’t. Another great way to help your c-suite prepare is by giving them a list that focuses on what you’ve told investors during that quarter to remain consistent. If you notice that they’re struggling with a difficult message, consider pre-recording your call to shift your preparation focus onto the Q&A instead.
Manage the Sell-Side’s Expectations
In order to effectively monitor and manage the sell-side’s expectations, start by watching for major media headlines and industry trends to identify stakeholder interests and the specific topics that will resonate. Additionally, conduct an online survey ahead of your earnings call with participating analysts to understand which issues they most want to be covered. You can also look to commonly asked questions tied to sell-side and buy-side analyst models to ensure you have your bases covered.
Organize Your Earnings Call and Webcast
Last and most importantly, you need to prepare the logistics for the event itself. You can help to lighten your lift by finding a qualified vendor to not only make your preparation easier but the execution itself. From there, prepare the set-up, carefully consider where the call will be taking place, and conduct a technology test-run: trial-run your equipment, audio quality, and any remote connections. By keeping things simple, you can effectively reduce any variables that could impact your event’s success.
By taking the necessary steps before earnings, you increase the likelihood of a successful event. It’s all about framing the most vital and most reliable impressions with the Street. That not only means the information you provide but also how you present it — from messaging to the tone of voice. To learn more about how your event can help set you apart during peak earnings period, keep our Earnings Preparation Checklist handy. You can download it here.