Earlier this week I led the first of a new training session on this topic (Helping fee-earners prepare the perfect pitch) with 18 delegates representing global law firms, medium sized law firms, accountancy practices, economists and actuaries with varied experience of pitching and selling.
Initial discussions centred around the challenges. The two key themes emerging were time management (getting fee-earners to involve marketing early, maintaining the schedule, deadlines) and qualification (managing the “Go-No Go” decision). See the diagram below.
This naturally led to a debate about what fee-earners most wanted from marketing/BD support, which raised concerns about the lack of awareness of what was involved in preparing an effective pitch (low sales awareness) and a discussion around ownership of the process.
Perceived risk and reward for fee-earners were also a key challenge from a cultural perspective. The need to develop a better understanding of the sales process, particularly to make effective use of research and briefing/scoping meetings and identify the difference between rational and emotional decision making processes was an area identified for progress.
There was some debate about the level of involvement of marketing/BD and we explored the pyramid comprising: process and resource infrastructure, administration and processing, team support/coaching and ultimately strategic sales consultancy.
Most subsequent exercises revolved around the impact of these challenges on the process of strategy development, document production and the presentation/meeting preparation. There was valuable insight shared into how to improve the development of value propositions.
At the end of the session, the key images, ideas and actions were summarised as follows:
|Process pyramid||Value proposition||Review process|
|Go/No go decision||Document to pitch||Communicate process|
|Traffic light experience||Cost of tendering||Tailor to clients|
|Pitch preparation process||Team work||Revamp content|
|“Bored” clients||Client view/empathy||Increase interaction|
|Power of diagrams||Features and benefits||Adaptive behaviour|
|Mind maps||Hidden needs||Procurement learning|
|Colour coding||Attend scoping meetings||Produce toolkit|
|Reinforcing bad behaviour||Value propositions|
Thanks to DMH Stallard solicitors for hosting the event.
Further details of PM Forum training sessions can be found at http://www.pmforum.co.uk/training/index.aspx and this session will run again in February 2013.