how to avoid common virtual pitching mistakes

How to avoid a very common pitching mistake

Despite the fact that we’re now well past the time terms like ‘unprecedented’, ‘work from home’ and ‘new normal’ started dominating our conversations, sales teams are still making one big mistake when pitching virtually: They are using the same ol’ pitch system they used pre-COVID! 

Before we explain why this is a problem, let’s clarify what we mean when we say ‘pitch system’. It’s important to elaborate on this, because a pitch system is more than just a single deck (or at least, it should be). 

A pitch system has touchpoints at three stages: Before the pitch, during the pitch, and after the pitch. The way these are managed virtually can be quite different for many businesses.

Master the Art of Winning

The art of winning pitches stretches far beyond the presentation itself.

It also includes all pre and post-pitch communication. It’s all part of the ecosystem of touchpoints that need to be carefully considered and mapped out to ensure that the sequence of information provided to the client is delivered at the right time. Think Goldie Locks – not too hot, not too cold, juuust right. 

Most businesses have a pitch deck (aka sales presentation) their team use and sometimes modify to suit the specific needs of a client. However, we’re finding that many sales teams are still using presentations from before March 2020. 

Now, one issue is that by now that’s nearly a year old and that information may not be fresh. Times change fast and we need to change with them.

The other problem is that those presentations were designed to be delivered in person (‘IRL’ if you’re hip like us), and it doesn’t always translate to the new way of doing business remotely. 

When you have the opportunity to make a strong connection in person, building on your good rapport with lunch or a cheeky drink after your pitch meeting, the pre and post-pitch touchpoints can be as simple as a casual email and follow up call. However, those opportunities are rare these days. As such, you need to be prepared to capture your audience in another way, creatively connecting with them and building brand (and personal) trust. 

Combatting Zoom Fatigue

Times have changed and remote working is not going anywhere. In fact, a Buffer survey from 2019 (before the world imploded) showed that a remarkable 99% of remote workers said they would prefer to work remotely for the rest of their careers. Post-COVID, that is likely to remain, with 41-60% of those who can work from home indicating that they would like to – at least a few days a week.

Add to that the substantial, and growing, presence of ‘Zoom fatigue’, and these pre and post-pitch touchpoints have become crucial to delivering an effective, strategic sales pitch. 

For example, can the standard slides including your company overview, mission statement and team be revamped into a 30sec video that is sent along with the calendar invite? 

If you change your approach, you open up opportunities to build intrigue and familiarity in advance. Then, when it comes time to present, you can jump straight into outlining how you can help your potential client solve their problem without wasting precious time.

After the pitch, you can send your thanks and share an infographic that revisits the key points you covered. This keeps your business top-of-mind and offers another opportunity to showcase your solution and personality.

Of course, this is just one way to effectively use the pre and post-pitch touchpoints. We suggest brainstorming different options with the team (we’re happy to jump in, too), so you can come up with something that reflects your brand personality and connects with your audience. At Persuaders, we do this in our fortnightly “Pinot and Planning” meetings on Friday afternoons, which is used for all kinds of big picture thinking and strategic planning.

persuaders team with wine at a pinot and planning meeting(Disclaimer: No real designer touched the above photo…that was all marketing)

The goal of this brainstorming exercise is to have a strategically planned, holistic pitch system that:

  • Gives your potential client the right information at the right time.
  • Doesn’t waste precious time, especially given shrinking attention spans.
  • Keeps your audience engaged.

What’s included in your pitch system? Have you updated it so it works effectively in a digital setting? 

For expert pitching strategy and design, contact our team.

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