Earnings, known as results in Europe, are events hosted by a public company to share the financial results of a reporting period. Earnings calls are a formal way for businesses to relay performance and strategy information to interested parties, including institutional investors, individual investors, existing shareholders, and financial analysts. Many of these events are held virtually, which allows companies to highlight successes via webcasts and conference calls during prosperous times and calm fears during adverse ones.
With the critical need to have error-free, frictionless, virtual experiences from beginning to end, earnings calls can create anxiety, be time-consuming, and can make or break an IR career.
Because of their importance, investor relations teams often work with an outside partner(s) on their virtual earnings events. Check out the article below, where we highlight and quantify some of the most important characteristics to seek in a provider.
If an earnings call is disrupted during a crucial moment, your shareholders may decide the company is not well managed. Dropped calls or other types of technical errors can lead to regulatory infringements for any public company as well, making these calls high-stakes for IROs and the like. Quarterly and semi-annual earnings require a reliable partner for your event to be successful.
You can start by looking for a company with a track record for delivering stable, error-free events. A recent survey indicates that nearly 38% of marketers face technical problems when hosting virtual events. A good indicator of a reliable platform is when its error rate is less than 1%. The system should also have redundant technical backups to ensure that the event continues smoothly, even if there is an issue.
It’s always a better experience when you work with a consistent group of people to bring your event to life, as continuity of service can impact the ability to deliver event reliability and quality. The best event partners will have one point of contact to help manage your needs through the entire process. The client support team should take you from pre-event planning to live event support and post-event reporting, proving they are invested and dedicated to your needs.
If your earnings call doesn’t reflect your brand identity or communicate your message, that message can get lost in the sea of 58,000 quarterly earnings calls globally. This happens frequently, as many vendors provide general-purpose solutions that were not designed to specifically support the complexities of IR earnings events.
A top-tier earnings partner needs to customize the event to fit the company’s branding. Much more than just using the company’s logo and colors, your partner should provide multiple options for how investors and analysts can access the earnings event live by watching the webcast or logging into a conference call. If investors can’t attend an event live, recordings and transcripts should be available through your IR website immediately following.
In addition to its base webcast and conference earnings services, an ideal partner should offer end-to-end event planning and management. You also need to have the option to choose the right mix of tech and services and remove day-of stressors by giving you options like setting up pre-records and dry runs.
Between the influx of IPOs that ended in 2020 and the conditions of the pandemic that have been part of our working environment for many years now, several virtual events platform providers have been trying to expand into the virtual earnings market. But not all these businesses have a strong track record of having professional, successful events that meet their clients’ needs. Would you want to partner with an inexperienced organization when there are IR event industry leaders who can show you the value of their expertise?
The best benchmarks you can look for are positive reviews. If 90% of a provider’s clients respond to surveys with a 5-star rating, you know they provide excellent service. Also, corporate recommendations are key. Ask your potential partner if they service any prominent businesses that can vouch for the service, as these companies demand the highest level of service.
It is also worth considering the reputation of the additional vendors your potential provider uses to supply their services. For example, are their partners some of the most trusted brands in communication services? Are they known for their technology’s high quality, capacity, and performance? These metrics will tell you if the provider is one of the best options for delivering your message to your audience.
Understanding Investor Relations
Having experience effectively communicating with investors and analysts is hugely important. Many companies that say they support earnings events are actually businesses that don’t have a depth of knowledge specific to investor relations and your role in the capital markets. Instead, they just provide event hosting tools without role-based experiential knowledge.
So when you’re looking for an experienced client support team, look for one that can take you from pre-event planning to live event support and post-event reporting. In this case study of Sonos’ first earnings event, their biggest challenge was the newness of the whole process. In addition to establishing and learning the procedures for conducting the call, they had to effectively navigate and sequence the timing for uploading time-sensitive documents to their site. They were able to work with an experienced partner and established a simple and clear process for planning, coordinating, and hosting their first earnings call.
In addition to all of this, consider if the provider you’re considering offers post-event analytics and reporting to help measure the event’s impact and its correlation with stock value. How else will you know your event had the desired results?
Very few companies that host IR earnings events can support the full integration of the data gathered from the events with your other IR workflows, such as CRM, websites, and analytics. This means they can’t bring together information from all of your various platforms, so they can’t streamline the process and supply you with valuable insights.
Instead, you should look for a provider that integrates all of its tools to help track and manage interactions with investors and analysts, share relevant information and resources, and make data-driven decisions. This can be especially useful for targeting and threat mitigation, as it allows you to review all interactions across channels and tailor your messaging and action based on all comprehensive analytics, not just earnings call data.
Finally, analytics on the event itself can help you measure the impact and effectiveness. This should include tracking attendance, engagement, feedback from attendees, and analyzing the event’s correlation with stock value. This information can help the company to refine its IR strategy and improve the effectiveness of future earnings events.
Do You Have a Best-In-Class Provider?
As an investor relations professional, you know any issues or technical problems can lead to a loss of credibility and damage the company’s reputation. It’s crucial that you choose the right earnings provider who understands the breadth of potential challenges and can lead you through all the possible issues you might face.
Want to learn more? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Earnings
Want to explore Q4’s services? Check out our Earnings Event offerings here.