Pitches can make or break whether useful sales conversations happen. Your communication channel matters, of course. Whether you’ve gone to a networking event, picked up the phone, sent an email or LinkedIn message: Your channel is going to have an impact on the response rate. So will a whole load of other factors, some of which you can’t control.
But if your message isn’t on target, then chances are that the target audience isn’t going to be receptive to what you are pitching. As they say, you only have one chance to make a good impression.
What is a sales pitch?
Also known as an “elevator pitch”, this is your chance to tell someone what your company does and why they should give you a little more time to talk about it.
Ideally, the most effective sales pitches should be delivered within 1 - 2 minutes. No one, especially a busy prospect, has 10 or more minutes, or even an hour, to listen to a pitch. No matter how many bells and whistles your product or service offers, if you need to go into a complex backstory or roll-out graphics and statistics to pitch the offering, it’s too complex.
Sales pitches should succinctly explain what you do and why clients benefit from your product/services.
What to include in a sales pitch
A pitch is a story. A short one. But like any story, it needs to contain a number of core elements.
1. A persona/character: Who are your customers? For example, tax accountants in Europe. Be specific. Even if you have multiple sectors and personas, focus on the one closest to the audience you are addressing. Talking about Fortune 500 companies won’t necessarily be useful when addressing an audience of SMB owners. Tailor your pitch to the audience.
2. Problem: What problem is your audience having that you can help solve? E.g. tax accountants always struggling with the implications of new tax laws.
3. Plan: How does your product/service solve this problem? Again, make it specific to the relevant audience.
4. Success: What does this look like for the customer? E.g. the accountants are kept up-to-date with specific national laws changing, therefore they’re able to provide excellent added-value service to their customers, increasing revenues and profitability.
Let’s take a look at some excellent sales pitches that embody the above, or core elements that can then be tailored to a specific audience.
Sales pitch examples
InsideSales, for example, uses this as a one-liner: “We help salespeople build and close more pipeline faster using artificial intelligence.”
Brightfunnel uses the following: “Brightfunnel is a marketing attribution platform designed to help marketers understand the true value of their marketing touches and their impact on the revenue and buyer’s journey.”
Another example of short being better. Pitches that take 35 seconds or less perform better than those that go on beyond 2 minutes. Audience attention spans are short, and you need to pack the value into as shorter timescale as possible to make the most positive impact.
Vidyard, a B2B video platform company in Waterloo, Ontario, is somewhat longer but does a good job of capturing the value of what they offer: “We are a B2B video platform for businesses. We change the way organizations communicate their video content through onboarding, training, and knowledge sharing as well as externally through sales, marketing and customer support. We can show the ROI of your video marketing initiatives by tracking who watches your videos, and for how long, so that you can justify the spend on those videos.”
With Xactly, a sales planning and performance management tool, they went slightly shorter: “We automate and streamline the commission process for sales organizations. For a lot of companies, that means getting you off an Excel spreadsheet or a home-grown cumbersome system.”
Sales pitches should offer a problem and a solution, and ideally a positive outcome. Who you are pitching at should feel like this is relevant to them. For tech companies, it can be tempting to make it all about the product. For more established SMBs, it can be tempting to make it all about the company, how long you’ve been in business and the number of clients.
In both and other relatable cases, resist those temptations. Pitches need to be short, sweet, to the point and focused on the audience: a potential new customer.