“May I introduce you to our Sales Lead, our Sales Delivery Owner and our Sales Administration Maker, our Director of Customer Insight, along with our Head of Making Things Happen, our Customer Appreciation Ninja, the Production Pathway Principal and then there is Jonny who carries the bags and charges the phones”.
So, result. You’ve got the meeting and you’re in.
You’ve navigated the gatekeepers, persuaded the influencers and nailed the identity of the decision maker. They’ve responded to your approaches and granted you an audience. Surely you are home and dry. Well, not quite.
Go into a meeting introducing 8 people and you may we well turn straight around and shut the door behind you.
Not only is it essential to have the right team at a pitch meeting (people who have the authority to make decisions), but it is vital that you make the right impression by having the correct number of people.
Turn up mob handed, even with the good intention of making a positive impression, and it can quickly turn sour. Although the statement above is exaggerated for effect, it is not uncommon for suppliers, especially larger businesses, to attend pitches with way too many people.
Walking through the pitch door with a football team in tow can often raise some real concerns for the buyer.
Take too many people and the buyer worries that the supplier will be difficult and time consuming to deal with. Presentations need to be slick, with all attendees taking an active role in making a pitch. This no time for passengers and nice-to-haves, a pitch has to be precise and productive.
There needs to be clarity around who is responsible and accountable, which can be difficult to nail down if the pitch is overrun with people. Determining the actual contact is vital for any buyer as this is the person who will deliver on all their promises, and confusion here will quickly alienate the buyer.
As well as the potential issues around confusion, pitching up with a large team also plants the “expensive” seed with the buyer. Turning out with way too many people screams cost, and cost needs to be reclaimed: from the customer.
So, although it may seem that rolling out all the big guns and a few more besides suggest enthusiasim, it actually suggests confusion, lack of accountability and cost.
So be careful. Better to be light on your feet and agile that burdened by a cumbersome team of people best left outside the meeting door.