The Evolution of the Business Pitch

20/05/2015

Lizzy Chesters, Corporate Team

The Evolution of the Business Pitch

Whether you work for a start-up or an established agency, the business pitch is a crucial means of winning new business. Indeed, the success of a business pitch can impact the future of the entire company. The first obstacle is securing the chance to pitch for potential business. Once that is overcome, it is important to make the most of your pitching opportunity.

Overall, the content of the business pitch has remained much the same - how you will benefit the client, how much you will charge, etc. But the way we actually deliver a pitch is experiencing a transition. The thought of sitting through a thirty minute PowerPoint presentation often fills people with a sense of dread - transitioning slides and sound effects are not as exciting as they once were!  Today, the media tools and technology devices available for presenting pitches are numerous and varied; we have come a long way from the humble flip-chart and pointer. But it is important that we learn how to use these new tools to their full advantage.

Prezi is a brilliant presentation platform that allows one to move away from the traditional slideshow. It is far more interactive and allows the presenter to pan and zoom in and out of different sections. It looks highly professional and manages to portray material in an engaging way. Ultimately an attractive deck can set your company apart from competitors and improve the probability of receiving a higher investment or larger fee. Furthermore, Prezi is structured in such a way as to encourage you to plan your pitch thoroughly; in turn, this facilitates an engaging delivery.

An iPad is unquestionably a useful business tool but is also an excellent vehicle for communicating your ideas. Using an iPad in a pitch immediately gives the impression that you are ‘tech savvy’. Allowing people the opportunity to view a pitch on an iPad means they can view the presentation in their own time – absorbing the information at their own pace. It also gives recipients a sense of being in collaboration with you, rather than having a sales pitch forced on them.

Alternatively, businesses can produce interactive brochures detailing their product range and/or service. This makes it easier to provide the most relevant information in a timely manner to potential customers. In addition, an iPad is an incredibly practical pitching tool. Sometimes the only chance one gets to speak with an investor is in a coffee shop in the centre of London: having a pitch deck saved on an iPad means you can immediately demonstrate your work. The company Presentia is producing presentation software specifically designed for use on iPads and tablets. This illustrates the growth in this market – one that did not exist 5 years ago. 

Despite video being around for a long period of time, people are reluctant to use this type of media in a pitch presentation. However, in some cases a video can make or break a pitch. A video is a great way of telling your story in a clear, striking and proficient way – but remember if a video is too long you risk losing the interest of your viewers. Once used in a pitch, a video can be added to the company website as an additional means of communicating with potential new business. As with an iPad, having a video pitch to hand allows you to make the most of an impromptu pitch situation and enable key messages to be delivered in a concise and professional manner.

Whether the client thinks they need it or not, a necessary inclusion in a PR pitch is digital - search engine optimisation (SEO), blogging, social media and social media monitoring. These are the PR outlets of the future and without these you will immediately be behind the curve when compared to your peers.

Thanks to advances in technology, people have even greater access to information about your business. They can easily access your company website, for example, or employee LinkedIn accounts. In a way this has made pitching even harder since potential clients can form preconceptions about who you are. It also makes it more difficult to differentiate yourself from peers. Therefore having a good website and the right social media presence is paramount. A pitch should build on the messages expressed by you online. Focus on what you can do for the company in question and how you will tailor your skills to their business.

Nonetheless, it is necessary to adapt your pitch to your audience, taking into account the amount of time you have to deliver the pitch. Give emphasis to how you can add value to the company you are pitching to. Technology and presentation platforms should not be relied on to support a pitch entirely. But they can give you a substantial edge and should be regarded as an excellent means of enhancing your hard work.