How to get constructive feedback on a client pitch?
August 22, 2006 10:10 AM   Subscribe

What techniques do you use to gather feedback about client pitch materials before they're presented?

Hi there,

I'm employed at a marketing firm, which actively does client pitches for project work. While we base our success on how many pitches are ultimately accepted, I'm wondering how I can improve the pitches that fall short.

Does anyone have any recommendations on getting internal feedback from our own employees (or others) on client pitches before they happen?

I could haul 2-5 people into a room and get their feedback, but I'm wondering if I can figure out a better way...

Please comment if you can spare the time.
posted by DCTapeworm to Work & Money (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Are you custom building pitch books? Or are you talking about an in-person pitch getting a trial run?

Who's responsible for the pitch work?

At my work, we do formal pitch books. An account exec owns it, but the team that will have to work the job if its won gets tapped to make it cool. That way, you've got resources, a team for feedback that actually has a stake in winning it and making sure the proposal is clear, creative and honest.

If someone doesn't have a personal/professional stake in it, I've never been able to get people to give a damn. But my work, we move super fast and juggle a lot of clients, so if you don't make it personally critical, it's going to get ignored.
posted by Gucky at 10:28 AM on August 22, 2006


To answer your question, these are in-person pitches done by about 4-6 team members from the project.

My aim is to show it to a neutral party, someone who doesn't have a stake in it per se, but can point out inconsistences in the presentation, the slideshow, etc. in terms of the message we're attempting to deliver to the client.

Does that make more sense?
posted by DCTapeworm at 12:11 PM on August 22, 2006


It does. Things I've learned about pitching: Focus on the client, not on you. Know your stuff, but make it sound impromtu even if you have it all back pocket. Bring as few people as possible to get the job done. Know your company's unique selling proposition and why the potential customer would give a damn and use that as the main theme.

There are companies that act as presentation specialists to analyze, and critique, your pitch style. We've worked with Rogen for presentation skills training, but not specifically for this, but I know their main focus is exactly this and I can endorse them for their professionalism and their "not a waste of time" factor.

I work for a very large company owned by a very big conglomerate, so price isn't a factor for us. I'm not sure how big your firm is, but it might be worth it for you.

As far as getting others internally, unless there's someone absolutely amazing, I'm not sure you're going to get good feedback even if they go.

As a cheap, easy solution, try videotaping the mock pitch and watching it together with a critical eye and with the question "and why would the potential client care" running through your head.

Hope this helps. Good luck.
posted by Gucky at 12:04 AM on August 23, 2006


Oh, unless you compete against me winning cool jobs. And in that case, "Oh, what do you need to get feedback on! Just go one in there and act cocky." ;)
posted by Gucky at 12:04 AM on August 23, 2006


Thanks for the feedback Gucky. :) The videotaping aspect for internal feedback is something I didn't consider.

I was also recommended a book by Gene Zelazny called 'Say It With Presentations' that had a lot of good ideas as well.
posted by DCTapeworm at 12:28 PM on August 28, 2006


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