The Company Pitch - No Time to Show Up and Throw Up

Posted by Bob Apollo on Fri 30-Jan-2009

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John Holland, co-founder and co-author of CustomerCentric Selling(r) has just reminded me how painful company presentations can be to the audience - and how damaging they can be to the vendor's change of establishing rapport with the prospect.

I've sat through many toe-curling moments listening to some of these "spray and pray" presentations - as I am sure you have, and I may well have inflicted unintended suffering and a fair amount of collateral damage on a few audiences myself.  Sometimes, the largest vendors are the worst offenders.  You would think they ought to know better.

I recently sat (fidgeting) through a 45-minute presentation from A Very Large Database Vendor filled with Most Uninteresting Facts about their history and market leadership, backed up by a few slides about their customers and partners.  The analyst quotes formed the light relief, which says something for the overall tone.  Nothing about the prospect's needs, and not attempt to engage the audience.

Maybe the strategy was to bore us into submission.  Needless to say, it didn't suceed (at least, not the second bit).  Fortunately, there is a better way, and it is nicely encapsulated in John's latest blog.  I'll leave you to read the full article for yourself, but here are a few points that I felt resonated particularly strongly:

  • Do your research: find out who is going to be in the room, and familiarise yourself with their objectives - particularly if they are key players
  • Tune in to their buying vision - and tailor your presentation to match it - share the business issues you have uncovered in your research-and seek to gain the audience's agreement
  • Align your capabilities to their needs - and illustrate - perhaps with reference to the potential consequences of not achieving them - how you can help
  • Offer a way forward - and suggest how they could go about evaluating your offerings
Simple, but compelling advice.  Makes you wonder why so many ignore it, and why they fail to avoid the "show up and throw up" trap.

Topics: B2B Buying Process, Complex Sales