28 April 2006

How do you get to pitch?

The other day I made a post about a pitch that I had made jointly with one of our clients. It's probably worth spending a little time thinking about how you can get in the room to pitch. In B2B sales there is little rocket science. Let's assume that you have a product without a strong market profile. In that case there are still a range of things that may introduce you to prospective customers:
  • create an issues-driven White Paper for download in exchange for contact details
  • hold an issues-driven seminar or event which you promote using a mailing list through multiple mailings and telephone follow-up. Follow-up attendees and non-attendees after the event using regular newsletters
  • support a seminar run by someone else and provide issues-driven content
  • make appointments through outbound telephone calls
  • network and use other meetings to get referrals
  • provide response mechanisms on your website to capture data and send out regular newsletters which maintain contact with the newly created database and allow them to develop their understanding of the offering over time
  • advertise using ads with a clear call to action
  • provide PR articles, case studies and white papers for technical journalists
These activities can be made more complex and multi-levelled but the core activities are as listed here.

While it's vital not to invest all your time on activities which create awareness, it's also important not to rely on a single channel. We are back in advertising territory again - OTS (opportunities to see). You must work on the assumption that very few of your targets will see any of your activity in any of your channels. Increasing the number of channels that you use increases your coverage in the target market. Some businesses use a single approach because it works, but times move on and if you are not using a variety of different channels then it is difficult to spot the changes in real time.

As you identify people who have expressed interest in the issue, focus on them and develop the relationship to the point that they are happy to see a pitch.

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