I bet that many of you either work inside an organization or spend time pitching marketers who do. How’s that going? Spending time on both sides of the fence, membrane or wall — depending on how you see the divide these days — I can tell you that there is a lot of room for improvement. Let’s start by talking about the person inside.
With the shrinking of resources everywhere, the marketers inside organizations have found themselves having to do much more with much less …. and being under pressure to deliver on results without there being a very clear definition of what that means sometimes.
That’s a lot of pressure. Plus, there is often the need to educate colleagues from other areas of the organization about what marketing delivers and why it is an important function vis-à-vis sales, engineering or finance, which by and large continue to drive most B2B organizations — technically, culturally and politically.
Your starting point in pitching marketers inside organizations is the awareness that they need more than just a brochure or a new logo. When approached the right way, the conversation may lead to being selected as more than a vendor and becoming a partner. This of course assumes that you’ve done your part –
- Do your homework — learn more about the organization. Google it, data monitor it. Talk to people who can give you a first person account, not just a name. You are going to want to be considered after all.
- Think in terms of benefits …. if you were to buy your own services from the point of view of the marketer you are pitching, what is the key strength?
- Be persistent *and* patient …. it takes a lot of time to break through the noise today. It may also take time to find the right fit between what you offer and what is needed. Find ways to be helpful without becoming a nuisance.
– which leads to the Main Don’ts:
- Don’t be a nuisance …. – if you send a brochure about your company, that’s essentially a cold call. You compound it by calling a couple of days later to follow up on what amounts essentially to unsolicited mail.
- Invoking the power of higher authorities is the shortest path to the exit door …. – how does this grab you? “I was talking with your CFO the other day–” This is the equivalent to saying to someone you want to date that you were talking to their Dad, and therefore they should go out with you.
- Pressing people at networking events …. – people who represent service providers are often in the majority at professional associations’ events. Some of them may insist on pitching you every single time. If you haven’t read the very entertaining book He’s Not That Into You, you might take a look at the concept. Yes, I’ve seen you, I know what your company does, and I’ll call you when and if I need those services from you.
These are my main dos and don’ts.
I can tell you that the most successful at pitching me have been those companies and agencies that (1) had a core skill I needed at the moment; (2) where flexible and willing to work as part of the team, which means with other agencies and firms for me; (3) found ways to be useful above and beyond the call of duty (this is valid in any relationship).
I’m sure by now you are hitching to tell me your stories …. both from the agency/consultant side and from the corporate side.
What are your top dos and don’ts? Any story that could be the poster child for a do/don’t?