A week ago, we ran another of the PM Forum’s “Helping fee-earners prepare the perfect pitch” sessions which was hosted by reputation management consultants Regester Larkin. Here are some of the main issues arising.
The delegates had a variety of challenges that they wanted to address but the most pressing were: getting partners and fee-earners to engage in the pitching process, conveying complicated ideas in a simpler and more persuasive way, developing value propositions and compelling differentiation, dealing with procurement people, gaining insight into current best practice, qualification of invitations to tender and establishing effective systems for pitch process management.
Sales training and experience
Whilst the majority of those at the session were highly experienced in pitching and spent a large proportion of their time on pitch related activity, very few had had any formal sales training and even less had direct experience of selling. So we spent some time considering basic ideas ideas such as the Decision Making Unit (DMU) and the Iceberg model of needs and wants.
Repositioning the marketing/BD team
Whilst we marketing folk always do our best to be helpful, sometimes we are our own worst enemies. If we always respond quickly to requests for administrative or graphics support then it is not surprising that we are not sought for more strategic input on pitches.
Furthermore, if fee-earners remain unaware of some of the basic principles of selling in a competitive environment then it is hard for them to know what support we are able to provide. It was also interesting when we debated how we would ideally like the marketing/BD team positioned. Articulating the value that the marketing/BD team can add to the pitching process is important.
This was explained with the diagram below.
We addressed all of the identified challenges and at our final round up there were the following key takeaways:
· Talk more to fee-earners – and empathise with their point of view
· Plan how to position the marketing/BD team
· Educate on the strategic and sales use of research results
· Be clear about the aims and outcomes of all internal and external meetings
· Be alert to visual and non verbal communication of fee-earners and clients
· Check that features have been successfully translated into benefits
· Develop a compelling value proposition
· Define the key stages in the pitch process and provide appropriate support for each
· Ensure that the marketing/BD team adds value – not barriers
The following blog http://www.kimtasso.com/blogx/post/Helping-fee-earners-prepare-the-perfect-pitch.aspx describes the main issues discussed in the previous session which ran in November 2012.
Future PM Forum training dates are available at http://www.pmforum.co.uk/training/index.aspx and this session runs again in November 2013.