Business today is more competitive than ever. Whatever industry you’re in, it’s imperative that you succeed in winning new clients and expanding your portfolio of work with existing ones.
But all too often, pitches fail to hit their target. Of course, you can’t expect to win them all – but there are some sure-fire ways to improve your win rate; tips that every business developer should have in their armoury.
Here are our 5 great ways to win a pitch.
#1 Do your research
It’s not me, it’s you. A pitch should be built around the needs of your prospective client, not your whizzy software or solutions. The first step here is listening; ask your prospect about their current challenges – and then really pay attention to the answer.
Sometimes it can take a little time and effort to get to the underlying issues – the things they are really struggling with. But investing this time in properly listening to your potential client and getting beneath the skin of their problems is vital if you want your pitch to hit the mark.
#2 Make it relevant
Once you’ve understood the challenges your client is facing, make sure these are reflected in your presentation. This is where a business developer’s time is best spent; ensuring your pitch really gets to the nub of the company’s issues and suggesting effective ways to tackle them.
All too often, though, the effort put into pitch content and design is out of line with their respective importance. Sales people can spend more time finessing the design of a pitch document than focusing on the nuances of content that will secure them the new business.
This might be because you’re not a whizz with PowerPoint, or because it’s a challenge to find the on-brand document templates and content you need. Either way, you can waste hours of your time – time you should be spending really personalising your pitch documents – on presentation design.
If this sounds familiar, read our blog on developing winning bids and proposals in half the time for some actionable tips.
#3 Ensure your pitch is in tune with your brand
Your pitch is possibly the first meaningful interaction your prospect will have with your brand – you need to make it count. Because your pitch is a visual representation of your brand, you need to ensure that it reflects your business’s professionalism and personality, consistent with your wider branding. And not just in terms of look and feel but in the values you convey.
Brand is about reassurance and reliability; a sense that your customers can trust you to deliver a consistently high-quality experience. The way you deploy your brand underpins this, and your pitch documents are essential components of your brand deployment. Make sure that in design and content, they mirror what your brand wants to stand for.
#4 Make it look professional
If reflecting your brand in your pitch documents is the secret here, design is the key.
Today, it’s likely that you will be presenting virtually, without the advantages that in-person pitches offer. You can’t as easily read people’s non-verbal signals for clues on their reaction. It’s harder to bring your personality, and that of your business, to the pitch.
It’s therefore doubly important that your proposal is on point in terms of design as well as content. There’s far more focus on a shared presentation when you’re looking at a screen than in a meeting room with all its potential distractions; your pitch document is shorthand for the attention to detail the business can expect as a client.
And it needs to be memorable. Think about presenting content differently – could video case studies, animations or client testimonials liven up your pitch document? What design techniques could you employ to make your presentation stand out? Asking a design expert to help you can make all the difference when it comes to an unforgettable pitch.
#5 Make it compliant
If you’re a regulated business, governed by the FCA, SRA or other industry regulator, good design and targeted content aren’t the only things you need to think about. Pitch documents and proposals – like all your other marketing content and financial promotions – need to comply with your regulator’s requirements.
All too frequently, sales presentations are adapted from previous documents. This doesn’t just increase the chances of old branding being used, it runs the risk of outdated content or inaccurate data making its way into your proposals – which might scupper your attempts at regulatory compliance.
Make it easy for colleagues to find on-brand assets, up-to-date corporate information and company data – perhaps by using marketing automation software to store and share corporate templates. And ensure you get sign-off from your compliance team on any presentations you produce, so they have the seal of approval before being shown to prospects.
Get expert input to give your pitches the edge
Hopefully, these tips have given you food for thought when it comes to maximising your win rate in new business scenarios.
Nothing in this document should be treated as an authoritative statement of the law. Action should not be taken as a result of this document alone. We make no warranty and accept no responsibility for consequences arising from relying on this document.
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