How do I pitch my product to a large company?
I list this because it is a question we are often asked. The hard work of product development is complete but to monetarise it you need revenues. I would like to hear some real life answers.
In my previous role we used to pitch to larger corporates', and we found that there were 3 challenges:
- Getting the pitch to being with
- Pitching it to them
- Following up on the pitch
Getting the pitch involved a long networking process that sometimes took 6 months to a year, involving a string of coffee meetings, regular contact and invitations to social functions. You can also try and get onto agency pitch lists or find out where requests of pitches are found in your industry area.
The actual pitching process. One of the biggest clients we landed involved an almost 8 hour pitch in one day. No joke. Everyone was exhausted after the ordeal. It was a lengthy process and in particular the bigger clients look for examples and case studies not only of what you have previously done, but they also prefer to see a mock up of your services that is customised to their company. So therefore prepare to do some free work for them upfront to show then that you can handle it. Just talking about what you are GOING to do is not enough. For design agencies in particular, the pitch process involves providing the potential client of the actual web design mock up before they even pay you. It really depends on how competitive your industry is and how many other people you are up against. Sometimes going that extra mile can land you the client.
Following up after the pitch and sealing the deal. The biggest difference between a smaller client and a large company is the approval processes and the amount of time this can potentially take. Regular follow up is crucial and I've seen lots of potential contracts abandoned due to people changing roles, not getting approval, or the paperwork taking so long they just forget about it. In addition if you can prepare most of the paperwork in advance and in a timely manner you are more likely to get it signed. Even with larger clients that has given us the ok, it sometimes took a couple of months to get our signed contracts back from them. This wasn't out of the ordinary.
There are a few things you can do before hand to minimise this and ensuring that you can help your contact get through the layers of approval before you even pitch. try and talk to the Marketing Director as opposed to the Brand Manager to start off with, as there will be less friction once you decide to go ahead. Sometimes you will get a request for a service even before it is technically approved. We've done pitches to larger clients and then were told that they couldn't get the budget approved or they now have to convince the Director to put aside a budget for Social Media etc. This can be very real for spends that are not put aside as a norm.
I hope this helps :) As every industry is different my observations come from the viewpoint of an online marketing agency :)