With the economic downturn and the possibility of a recession looming, the need to secure new business is becoming increasingly essential.
Remembering these points when entering the boardroom could be the factor that separates you from other prospective vendors.
Here’s what you need to remember when pitching enterprise companies.
1. Know The Opportunity
In the past, I have provided insight into getting through the RFP process.
You’re past that point now, having been chosen to present in the hopes of being awarded new business.
The RFP process gave you strict guidelines in the ask, as well as likely outcomes.
However, don’t simply approach the task with blinders on. My point here is that the ask might not be your strong suit, but completing the task will likely open opportunities for your organization.
For example, website development may not be your claim to fame, but a successful completion may lead to ongoing marketing and advertising work. Be open to stepping outside of your comfort zone in your willingness to work.
There may be more lifetime value potential from this relationship, and it also may give you a chance to case study an offering you do not have much experience in now – but may in the future.
2. What Does Success Look Like?
Yes, to this point, you have been told what the prospective client is looking for.
However, as digital marketing experts, it is our job to listen – not necessarily to find the solution, but to define what KPIs may look like that can lead to success.
Often, the success metric may be offline, but it is your job to be the digital bridge in finding that success.
Listen to the end goal. The client is telling you what keeps them up at night, but also listen to discern what would make them happy.
You may not be able to make their wish come true directly, but you can leverage your expertise to envision the content strategy, ad platform, and tactics that will eventually lead them to success.
3. Don’t Be A Stranger
The hour that you have with the prospective client team is your chance to prove you are the right choice.
No one wants to feel as if they are entertaining a stranger.
This is your opportunity to show that you are not an untested relationship but more so an extension of their organization.
Take this time to showcase how you have seamlessly blended into other company workflows in the past. Speak to your agility in working with groups of different industries, company sizes, and workflow demands.
4. You Are Smart, But So Is Everyone Else
Drop your ego at the door; Don’t mistake ego for confidence.
You need to consider that with the evolution of AI, the ability to resource, research, and complete tasks will be a level playing field.
Showing your intelligence needs to lie in what you provide that others cannot. What do you provide that a robot does not?
This is the time to talk about company and team structures. Speak to dedicated account staff, internal process, and why the client will be excited to join the next meeting with you.
5. Take Advantage Of The Executive’s Ears
Don’t get ahead of yourself; you haven’t been granted the business yet, but you have been given the opportunity to meet with senior company management.
Consider that you need to understand their wants, needs, and success metrics.
Moving forward, you may likely have a day-to-day contact in a middle-management role, where access to chief decision-makers may be sparse. Be the person that they want to talk to again.
6. Don’t Give Away The Secret Sauce
This can be so very hard in your attempt to sell who you are and what you can do. I have personally found myself revealing too much about what can be done to answer the ask in an attempt to show my digital expertise.
Keep in mind that you may reveal too much, which may make penny-pinching prospects believe they can simply take your idea in-house.
If you have the solution already, the client might not be incentivized to cough up the budget for campaign discovery, research, etc.
Know the need, but also be honest that you don’t know the solution yet.
However, you know the next steps and can convey how your process and expertise will find the way.
7. Be You
The best pitches are the ones where you don’t even make it through your deck, as you are so heavily engaged in fruitful conversations and questions.
While the prospective client wants to engage your intelligence, they also want to know what working with you will be like.
Show your ability to collaborate, generate quick ideas, ask questions, etc. Especially in the world of digital marketing, simply showing off your toolsets of software will not impress your audience.
What will impress them, is showing how you use these tools creatively to achieve successful end results.
Showing how your personality and creativity shine through your work will help you to be the vendor candidate that stands out.
8. You Are The Case Study
Anyone can point to a screen and brag about a potentially made-up success metric that grew by X amount. A case study should not simply show that you got a job done and were able to get it done well.
Add emotion to the story. Don’t just speak to the high points; be real.
Talk about what went wrong. Talk about the challenges and the times you didn’t think it would work – then explain how your team came up with solutions and ways to persevere.
9. Pack Your “Columbo”
You don’t have to give away the secret sauce, as I just mentioned, but don’t be afraid to do your homework and find a very quick fix that can immediately create change in the prospect’s site or advertising campaigns.
This is why access to analytics, content management systems (CMS), or ad platforms can help supercharge your research.
A wise friend once educated me on this technique, and it is a helpful way to go from hopefully being remembered to being a necessary solution provider for the client.
10. Enjoy Yourself
The pitch process can be a hectic and nerve-racking time of trying to put your best foot forward.
While your eyes may be on the prospective client and closing the deal, this is also a great time to enjoy the journey and evaluate your team.
It’s your chance to show your talent and knowledge in your craft, but also a chance to experience great teamwork in action.
Though trying times may be ahead of us, it’s our job to help others and find great partnerships.
While you may feel you have these communication styles and presentation approaches down pat, it doesn’t hurt to reflect on what are sometimes the small things that help you win.
These tips are meant to help you understand that in a time of robotic evolution, being human is what will help you get that new contract.
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