Last week we hosted a Breakfast Session with Alick Mighall (MD at miggle), Catrina Baker-Bassett (Digital Business Manager at DabApps) and Dominic Gomez (Founder and MD at Snorkel) who shared their knowledge and expertise on ‘Delivering the Perfect Tech Pitch’ and answered questions from members.
In case you couldn’t make it, here are some key points from the discussion.
Evaluate. Improving how you evaluate leads increases your chances of coming first in all those selection processes you choose to compete in.
Establish their expectations. If an inbound lead doesn’t come with clear expectations set around scope, budget and timeline, then you need to ascertain what those are and whether these can be agreed in the discovery or scoping phase.
Affirm your expectations. A common phrase from a potential client is ‘we don’t have a budget, that’s why we need an estimate’ or ‘can’t you just give us a ballpark figure?’. Rather than say yes or no, look for and question these shortcomings, then you can say ‘we would love to help you, but…’. By saying this, you create an opportunity to shape the process – and maybe win the work on your own terms.
What is driving the deadline? If the deadline seems unrealistic for you, it can often be unrealistic for the client.
Ask yourself questions. Is the client a good fit culturally? Does their brief show they have a clear understanding of what they need? What made them come to you in the first place? How many people are you up against? What sort of business are they? Who are you competing against? On what basis will the client make their decision? What does the process look like? Then you can better access whether it’s a good opportunity that’s worth you committing time to.
If you don’t win the pitch, ask for feedback. You may have lost out because the winning supplier just told the client what they wanted to hear as opposed to what they needed to know, or they may have missed a risk that you identified as part of the qualification procedure. While you won’t change their mind once they’ve made their decision, if you are right the work may come back to you if the project hits trouble. However, you’ll never know if you don’t ask for feedback.
Alick also expanded on his #WiredBrekkie talk in a guest blog post.
Catrina Baker-Bassett (presentation slides)
Be realistic. If you have other projects in the works, ask yourself if you have the capacity, resources and time to take on this project too.
Assemble the right team. For example, a Junior Project Manager may struggle and lack the confidence to answer the deeper technical questions, while vice versa your best coder might not make for the best presenter to lead the pitch. Ensure you have the right people present and play to their strengths.
The more people you can involve, the better. Even if only one or two of you are pitching, involving more people in the discovery phase can help create a deeper understanding of the project and lead to better solutions, some of which you may never have thought of without allowing for wider input.
Flat hierarchy. Try to give everyone in your team the opportunity to learn, grow and develop their talents – this is especially true when reviewing new opportunities before a pitch.
Be transparent with your team. Talk about the expectations of the client, discuss past pitching experiences (successes and failures) and what you learned.
Dominic Gomez (presentation slides)
Mind your language. Try to avoid buzzwords and industry jargon, as these can be confusing and seem exclusionary to people outside of that field.
Don’t over complicate. Keep your pitch short and simple – talk to your potential client like a reasonably intelligent 15-year-old. “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t know it well enough” – Einstein.
Take them on a journey. Give them a beginning, middle and end. Put yourself in their shoes, make an emotional connection, use inspirational, persuasive and memorable anecdotes, and make them the hero of the story.
Personality sells. Find your unique selling voice.
Wired Sussex Breakfast Sessions are monthly events taking place on Thursdays from 9.00am – 11.00am at The FuseBox. These events are designed to be very practical and to give you access to expertise and knowledge that will help you and your business.
The next session will be on ‘How To Be a Thought Leader, and Why You Should‘ (23rd November).