7 Tips for Hacking Conference Season

It’s That Most Wonderful Time of the (Quarter)

After recovering from the madness of earnings, buyside analysts have the pleasure of getting up face to face with company management in regular conference seasons organized by their sellside partners. These are usually spectacularly well-run affairs, as the sellside has made a great business out of combining management access and industry schmoozing. Once a quarter, cloistered buysiders emerge from their intense skyscraper offices, blinking in the daylight, and decamp to airports and hotels on either coast. It is an entirely different skillset, as one has to switch from trading stocks to trading meeting schedule; from the neat rows and columns of Excel to loosely structured “fireside” chats; from meeting familiar people on your own terms to rapidly gaining rapport with strangers on theirs.

Sellside analysts, too, apart from being part time party planners, have to bring their absolute A game as they play host to invited management teams as well as demanding clients, all of whom expect the analyst to match names to faces and have facts and key arguments ready at their fingertips. Many sellsiders even go the extra mile to organize field trips to company headquarters, increasing the logistical nightmare by an order of magnitude.

Oh, and while all this is happening, the markets are still open.

The Why

Why go to all this trouble when everything material, by regulation, needs to be publicly and widely disseminated anyway? The trite reply is that more than 90% of communication is nonverbal; but ultimately what really counts is being able to ask your own questions of management teams and having their replies truly inform your judgment of their strategy and competitive environment. Cynics will also point to the buyside schmoozing that goes on on the sidelines – and it doesn’t hurt to gain some personal benefit out of trading commission dollars.

This is big business; the going rate per meeting organized can get up to four figures, which multiplied by dozens of meetings and hundreds of participants can justify a lot of late nights. But the worst kept secret of Conference Season is that there is a ton of wastage, and we don’t just mean food.

Sentieo Helps You Focus on The How

Here are 7 things the modern analyst needs to be doing to get the most out of conference season:

  1. Offline Sync Everything
    • WiFi is unreliable in conference rooms and on planes. Why take the risk? You need your notes, financial model, and Q’s/K’s/Transcripts at your fingertips.
    • Sentieo’s iPad (and soon, iPhone) app allows you to offline sync all the above and more.
    • Now when the CFO dodges a question with “I don’t have the numbers in front of me right now”, you’ll have them.
  2. Search through prior transcripts
    • Asking a question that has already been answered is a waste of everybody’s time. Avoid the embarrassment and go on the offensive by demonstrating that you not only are you aware that the question has been asked in the past, you are pressing for more detail and asking them to directly compare their situation now to what they have said in the past.
    • DocSearch is a core Sentieo use case and we are the best platform at highlighting and integrating all your search results into one meeting prep document you can take with you to all your meetings.
  3. Use Plotter to illustrate the points you want to make
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  4. Modern Notetaking Software
    • Hands up if you are using Microsoft Outlook as your primary notetaking app? Or the generic Notes app on your Apple or Android device? Or -god forbid- legal pads?
    • Sentieo’s Notebook, available on all devices, allows you to tag inline stock ideas and themes as you type and sync to Evernote, OneNote, or your internal compliance tool of choice. Share it with your team automatically or in just a couple of taps. Pull in everything from Transcript annotations to Plotters to Web Clipper articles into your Notes!
    • Get in touch with us if you currently use voice notes.
  5. Play With Your Model While Discussing It With Management
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  6. Keep up to speed on the markets with Sentieo Edge and the Sentieo Edge Digest
    • Staying on top of your coverage is tough when you are rushing from meeting to meeting. Having a filter for what is important and market moving is critical so you remain as functional outside the office as when you are in, without drowning in a flood of email backlog.
    • Sentieo Edge can send you automated premarket and postmarket summaries of news, filings, and alerts all in one email. Choose between the daily Digest, or get the full Edge on your entire universe.
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  7. Set up Keyword Alerts
    • How do you keep on top of what is being said in other meetings you aren’t attending?
    • Sentieo lets you set up Keyword Alerts for the themes you are listening for, so if they get mentioned in conference transcripts, you get a realtime notification.
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  8. Bonus – Share Sentieo with your friends
    • Friends don’t let friends do conferences without Sentieo. Refer new customers to us and get referral bonuses for you and your friends! Check in with your favorite sales rep for more details.

To see how Sentieo can help with conference season, simply go to Sentieo.com and sign up for a free trial. If you would like to continually receive content related to topics of interest in the markets, don’t forget to subscribe to the Sentieo Blog so that we can notify you of new posts by e-mail.