Preparing For The Pitch

Preparing for the pitch


Start with the companies priorities. This gets more important the higher up you go with your audience. Do your research. Financials of the organizations, the investor relations website, quarterly business updates are helpful. They give you directional insight, key priorities, and tips to align your idea to position.

Here’s the top tip. Senior executives are very aligned with the rest of the leadership and their peers. Start with the published material and do discovery with the wider organization. This will highlight what is top of mind and weed out any inconsistencies

Has your company done this before?

Here’s a key learning working at a large consulting firm. I wasn’t paid for what I alone, brought to the table. My ability to leverage the organization’s knowledge was also critical to the outcome. After all, when you hire a 20yr organization, all that experience should show.

Reach out to your network, internal groups, focus teams. Ask around if there has been something similar done. You are likely to find something close. Sometimes even a different perspective could spare a new idea. It could open up a new dimension to what you planned to address.

Leverage the collective wisdom.

Know your audience

I touched upon this at the start. Your audience has influencers - people who work for them or people they work for. Speak to them where possible. Understand how your prospect likes the message delivered. Do they prefer stats, pictures, a storyline, detailed or in brief? Adjust your narrative to their style - and see the result in a very engaging conversation.

Look up your audience for their public presentations. Youtube is a great place to start, especially for senior stakeholders. I somehow find comfort in having seen my prospect speak ahead of the actual meeting. It is something to do with familiarity with your audience that helps with the nerves.

Align on the agenda

Sounds obvious enough, but how do you go about it? Engage an internal coach or supporter in the customer’s organization. Run the agenda past them. Priorities change often. Sometimes due to last-minute internal meetings. So while you might be preparing a storyline, the expectation might change.

Beyond this, the insider view will also help contextualize your agenda better.

Align with your internal stakeholders

Like external stakeholders, you have internal ones too. You would buddy up with them during these presentations. The usual suspects would be your sales counterparts. Even senior execs from your end might also join. A wider representation is to enrich the conversation, with varied perspectives.

Bring them into your prep work early in the process. Share your line of thought early on. This would give everyone a heads up to align their thoughts to support your idea. This will help drive a shared sense of outcome with unified messaging.

Share the presentation as a pre-read

The cost of not doing this - mismatched expectations. You can do all the prep work but on the day if it’s not aligned it could be disastrous. Share the presentation or the outline ahead of the meeting.

Unless there is a grand unveiling of an idea like a big offer - sharing early has its merits. It gives you more time to engage, get feedback and agree on the next steps than focus on level setting.

Having said that - it’s also safe to assume that a percentage of your audience will not read the content. For what it’s worth - it will only make for a more accommodating audience in case you are off track.

Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash