How to Build a Winning Pitch Team
Once you’ve identified a prospect and built a relationship with them to the point where you’ve agreed on a time, date and place to deliver a new business pitch it’s time to start going about building on the foundations you now have in place.
The new business team has done all of the groundwork, discovering the lead initially and then giving them the personal attention needed to get to the pitch stage, and now it’s over to the rest of your team to work on the pitch.
When you sit down as a new business team to work on the content of your pitch it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of simply adapting a previous strategy or pitch that may have worked before, or amending a weaker section of a previous pitch to ensure that it works this time around. The problem that you have here is that there is no one size fits all approach to pitching, and actually it’s the pitch team that you have working on the project that can make all the difference.
So, having generated a new lead (hopefully through Clarity Stack, but if not you can sign up with us here for your next round of prospecting), it’s time to learn how to build a pitch team that can work on the project from the moment you receive the brief right through to the final delivery of the pitch in the boardroom. We’re going to give you five top recommendations that you need to consider when you start building your pitch team.
Client services and new business teams
Having worked hard in the background in order to identify the opportunity and then pursue the contacts, your client services and new business teams are in the best position to provide initial recommendations to the wider teams as to exactly what the prospect is looking for, and which of your services they could benefit from in particular.
Those initial conversations will go a long way to shaping the overall strategy and pitch that you put together, so always be sure to include those who have built the relationship in your early discussions so that you know where to focus your strategic attention.
You can then run any ideas by them as the pitch starts to take shape, and ensure that they are involved in the final presentation, too, as they will already have a pretty good idea on who will be in the room and the kind of approach you should be taking when it comes to delivery.
Data and insight experts
Data is an extremely valuable tool, especially when it comes to preparing a pitch document. Whether you’re presenting in a PowerPoint format or utilising a video to showcase your message and business, data can be the difference between success and failure when used the right way.
Right across the business you will have people who offer different skills, but those who can analyse, interpret and use data are extremely valuable and should definitely form a part of your pitch team.
These people can get their heads deep into the data, identifying trends and opportunities that the prospect may not know about their business or their sector, and this information can be used to shape your proposal and how you will start working together if (or should we say, when) you are successful.
It may be that these people don’t make it into the final boardroom meeting, but they should form a key part of the strategy team that put your pitch together.
Always adapt the strategy to meet the brief
Once you have the bones of your team in place, make sure that you’re working from a blank canvas.
You may have worked on countless pitches before – both successful and not so successful – but by simply changing the logos on your pitch deck you run the risk of showing that you’ve put minimal effort into the presentation and that you may have missed the brief completely.
Working from a blank pitch deck enables you to allocate sections of the brief to your pitch team members so that they can do what they do best, rather than editing sections of a previous presentation that they may or may not have worked on.
By all means factor in successful assets from previous pitches, but ensure that you always look to provide an up-to-the-minute strategy that targets every single letter of the client’s brief, that way you avoid the horrible phone call that says you were unsuccessful because you didn’t provide what they were looking for.
Involve passionate, knowledgeable team members
You might have a group of people in mind to work on the pitch deck because of various reasons: experience, their extroverted personality which makes them ideal for the final presentation, the list could go on; but getting people who either know of the prospect and are customers, or are passionate about the sector could be highly beneficial because these people will throw their hearts and souls into the pitch so that they get to work with them in the future!
Time and again businesses get certain team members involved in a strategy because they have the most free time, or because nobody else volunteered, but by opening up spaces in your pitch team to those who are passionate and knowledgeable about the sector or business as a whole can give you insights that money can’t buy. They could also be the key to your final pitch by delivering recommendations that your competitors just can’t come close to – all because of their passion and expertise.
As with the data and insight specialists, they might not ultimately make it into the final delivery of the pitch because they might be introverted personalities or young and inexperienced, but that’s no reason to exclude them from the actual strategy.
Get input from the final presentation team
Finally, before you submit your pitch to the prospect ahead of your meeting, ensure that the people who are going to be in the room view and provide feedback on the final document.
There is nothing worse than arriving for a pitch underprepared or attempting to deliver a strategy that someone else has prepared without having the opportunity to ask questions and thoroughly understand what it is they are delivering.
Client services and new business teams, who frequently attend the final pitches, might have no specialty when it comes to niches and industries, and a highly technical presentation that results in questions from the prospect in the boardroom could leave them scratching their heads and unable to provide a clear, concise, confident answer that may ultimately affect the outcome of the pitch.
Be sure to get everyone who has worked on the presentation together, to go through the pitch in preparation and ask questions – perhaps even to remove spelling or grammatical errors that might have slipped through the net – and then you can arrive in the boardroom ready to show the prospect just how good you and your wider team can be.
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