Posts Tagged ‘Sales Engine’

What Pitch Dropping can tell us about Pitch Presenting…

Friday, August 15th, 2014 by Justine<

Pitch (the tar like substance) is one of the slowest moving things around. It sits somewhere in the murky hinterland between solid and liquid and scientists have proven that getting it to do anything of interest takes a very, very long time.

Pitch (the ‘oh bugger they want to see us on Wednesday, what are we going to do?’) business kind is at the polar opposite of the action/reaction spectrum. It can evoke panic in even the most level headed of presenters.

So how on earth can the first type help us with the second?

It’s not about pitch itself but rather more about its place in one of the longest running scientific endeavours in the world – The Pitch Drop Experiment. For those of you unfamiliar with this particular phenomenon it involves waiting for some apparently solid pitch to fall through a funnel. As you might imagine this is not a whistles and bangs kind of experiment, in fact it’s quite the opposite.

The School of Mathematics and Physics at The University of Queensland began their experiment in 1927 since when it has dropped only nine times, In fact the custodian of the experiment for over 50 years Professor Mainstone never saw the actual event. In 1979 a drop fell at the weekend, in 1988 he was fetching a drink when it happened, in 2000 a video camera set up to record the event failed.

In fact it wasn’t until 2013 that anyone managed to capture a pitch drop on film and that honour was taken by a similar experiment set up in 1944 at Trinity College Dublin. In April 2014 the Australian drop was not only filmed but watched live on line by thousands of enthusiasts.

The scientific reaction was best summed up by Dr Shane Bergin, a physicist and senior research fellow at Trinity, “Eventually, when our one was caught on camera, it provided the world with a kind of scientific ‘Aaaah’ moment,” he says. “As in, finally, we see it!

Everyone knew the pitch was dropping but until they saw it for themselves it was difficult to make a personal, emotional connection to the event.

Business pitches face a similar problem; it’s relatively easy to explain the theory behind your product or solution, to provide statistics to back up its qualities and to regale your audience with how it has been successful at other times and in other places.

But what your audience really needs is the equivalent of seeing the drop fall for themselves.

They need to be able to experience your pitch in a way that connects with them, and they don’t have 86 years to hang around.

Getting it right is about understanding their viewpoint, motivation and situation and then placing your solution right into the heart of their world.

Unfortunately these are things that get the least consideration when panic sets in.

Eyeful and our sister company Sales Engine are on a mission to make sure that every pitch contains that moment. The pitch process can be an arduous journey littered with an unnerving trail of consonant ridden acronyms and intimidating processes that conspire to make the final scene, when you actually get in front of the decision makers, much more intimidating than it needs to be. Having experts at your side on every step of the journey makes a real difference.

So if you’ve got an upcoming pitch and you’re a little concerned that your drop is a long way from enthralling its audience simply pick up the phone, and while the professionals work their magic you can take a step back and possibly find a little time to enjoy the progress of the latest drop (ETA 2028).

pitch drop blog

Guest Blog – Gaining A New Perspective on Bids

Thursday, April 18th, 2013 by Simon<

We’re damned proud of the impact our sister company, Sales Engine, has had on the bid success of companies large (nay, huge) and small.

Over the last few years they’ve honed and toned their approach and recently launched their very successful “Bid Perspectives Model“.  We thought it churlish not to invite them along as part of our Guest Blog week to share a little more about this recipe for bid success.

We hope you agree…

The world of bids is a complicated and often head-ache inducing one. There are many moving parts, stakeholders to consider, and plenty of well thought-out messages needed to ensure that a bid stands out from the rest.

Done right, it’s a beautiful amalgamation of selling, design, copy-writing, presentation and lots and lots of strategy.  Done badly and it becomes a time consuming, costly and diverting mess.

To address this and bring some order to the potentially chaotic world of bids, we’ve created the Perspectives Model.  As with all very clever things, it’s remarkably simple on the outside but gets a little more complex once you get into it.  To keep things palatable, we’ve broken down the entire bid process into three key perspectives:


Bid Strategy

The quality of the initial strategy and your first approach to the bid will ultimately inform the presentation structure and will also determine your overall chances of success.  Building a strong foundation, and being crystal clear about why you’re bidding and how you can win is at the core of success when it comes to both pitch presentations and bids

To achieve this, we challenge the standard corporate approach that tends to bog down most bid teams.  We’ll bring in “tame” procurement experts that work alongside our experienced sales professionals to act as critical friends/devils advocates and generally shake things up.  From this point, the strategy can start to form or, occasionally, end up being judged a “no bid”.


Bid Creation

The creation phase is about getting a perspective on how to ensure the strategy plays out into the physical document.  On top of ensuring that the message comes through loud and clear as well as dotting all the I’s and crossing all the T’s in terms of completing the bid questions, we need to also focus on maintaining the consistency of tone and design.

Headaches which once existed for a single salesman can now be delegated to a specific Sales Engine guru for that task.


Bid Coaching

The presentations our customers need normally come at the end of weeks of sales effort. If things have gone well, they are often asked to present their proposition.  Previously calm and rational professionals can turn to jelly overnight when faced with the prospect of presenting in front of an audience of procurement experts.  As such, we have a process of support and training to not only calm the nerves and clarify the communication but also help the presenters to control and guide the audience in the direction identified way back at the Bid Strategy phase.

The Perspectives Model was born out of years of working across of range of sectors.  We’ve learned a fair few things along the way and have created an eBook that highlights the Top 7 lessons that all bid teams need to know.  Drop us a line for a copy.

Nice People Saying Nice Things – Kuehne + Nagel

Monday, September 24th, 2012 by Justine<

We’ve had the pleasure and privilege of working with the K+N team for many many years.*

As one of the World’s largest logistics companies, they have an insatiable appetite for new presentations as they pitch for new business, report on existing projects and position themselves as experts in a wide array of specialist markets.  Add to this the fact that they are a great bunch to work with and you could say this is a marriage made in heaven…

But we’re bound to say that…so we thought we’d let K+N do the talking and tell us what it’s REALLY like working with Eyeful on their important presentations:

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* Eyeful fact fans might be interested to know that K+N were the very first customer to go through the Presentation Optimisation process way back in 2004 when it was little more than a good idea bouncing around MD Simon Morton’s head.

And So To Bid…

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012 by Simon<

We found ourselves in an unusual position a couple of weeks ago – we were asked to respond to a formal RFP from a huge Global business we’d not had the pleasure of working with before. This is a relatively rare occurrence – most of our business comes from existing customers, word-of-mouth referrals, our website and via our marvelous telemarketing bod, Clare.

Now, I like to think I know a fair bit about the whole process of bid response. I’m actively involved with our sister company, Sales Engine, who do this sort of thing day in, day out for companies large and small (Eyeful works closely with them to develop and design their customer bid presentations).

I’ve always been assured by Sales Engine’s MD, Steve Robinson, that the creation of a really outstanding response document is a bit of a “black art”. Over the years, he’s built a team to manage the whole process, even pulling in a couple of “tame ex-procurement directors”. With this in mind, I called in a couple of favours and got the team to review the RFP.

This is where it got interesting on a personal level

Here at Eyeful, we’ve worked hard to understand the value we bring our customers and our position in a rapidly growing marketplace.

  • We know our USPs and the benefits they bring.
  • We know how our pricing compares against the competition.
  • We’re able to pull upon a long list of very happy, very senior people across all manner of sectors who will sing our praises all day long.

Yet, despite all of this, I couldn’t help being more than a little nervous. Why the sense of rising panic?

I was experiencing what I now know to be a well recognised phenomenon – RFP Blindness. According to Steve, this is common affliction hitting businesses of all sizes who, despite having all the answers and being in pole position in the tender process, have to fight a rising sense of panic as the deadline looms.

How to fix it..? Well, I was in the lucky position of being able to call upon the services of the Sales Engine team at short notice (God knows what it will cost me in beer and cakes over the next few years).

Failing this option, I’d recommend running your approach, your document and your concerns past a “critical friend”. This can be someone internally or, better still, a friend in a different industry. They’ll cut to the chase and let you know if you’ve communicated the value you can bring and, more importantly, if you’ve answered the prospect’s specific questions fully.

On a more personal level, have confidence. Nothing kills the ability to think clearly than panic so plan ahead, build sufficient time into the schedule to allow you to do a proper job and never lose sight of your prospect’s needs (this is the reason you’re going through this process after all!).

Oh, and just so you know – we found out last week we were successful and have been awarded the contract! Bring on the next RFP…

What’s in it for me..?

Monday, February 22nd, 2010 by Simon<

WIIFM FramedYou can’t judge a book by its cover, but a prospective client can tell a lot about you from your PowerPoint presentation.

When you’re trying to sell your products or services, remember one simple truth – the person you’re presenting to is more interested in what you can do for them, how you will solve some problem or help them achieve a business objective.

All too often, we are called in to “fix” presentations where the prime failing is a focus on the features of the company’s products and services (the characteristics), when it should be communicating the advantages (the service it performs) and benefits (the payoff of the advantage, or the value it provides to the buyer)

So before you give your next presentation, ask yourself these three questions, to ensure that you’re focused on the benefits of what you sell, rather than just the features.

1. Have you done your homework?

Have you invested sufficient resources to produce a presentation that will impress them? Have you tailored your presentation by researching their company? Do you know the problems they want to solve?

2. Are you demonstrating respect for their time?

If you are, you will have carefully planned your presentation and meeting in detail. You’ll have rehearsed what you’re going to say, selected the most relevant presentation material and presented it in an efficient and interesting way.

Ultimately, you should make your audience feel like the meeting is the most important thing they’re doing today, rather than just a typical sales pitch full of features.

3. Are you passionate about solving their problem?

Chances are that if you demonstrate this passion, your presentation will be dynamic, interesting and exciting. Your enthusiasm will carry the day, as you show you care about what you do.

WIIFM2On the other hand, if you’re not passionate, the presentation will put your prospect to sleep as soon as the lights go down (also, if you’re bored by your own presentation, someone else will be too!).  Focusing on the benefits will bring out your passion.

Face facts – your PowerPoint presentation is a direct reflection of what you think about your business and about your potential clients.

The more information you have, the better a decision you can make.

So, ask yourself these questions before you make a presentation and you will be three key messages closer to showing someone ‘what’s in it for them’ and winning a new client.

To bid or not to bid?

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010 by Simon<

We’re pleased as punch to announce that Eyeful have teamed up with our friends at Sales Engine to offer bid support services.  Our full press release can be accessed here.

Long story short, this blessed union was prompted by clients coming to us in a bit of a flap over large pitch presentations.  We spotted that some clients would have benefited from more support earlier on in the process so approached bid support experts Sales Engine for help.

Sales Engine & Eyeful logoMajor bids and pitches tend to be driven by sales teams, and the focus is always on making sure that the information conveyed is as convincing as possible. But decisions by the customer are often heavily influenced by procurement, yet we see very little input from these specialists in putting bids together.

This is what got us so excited about teaming up with Sales Engine on Bid Support.

They pull together a support team of sales experts and died-in-the-wool procurement people to challenge and hone your bid from every angle to ensure you tick all the boxes.

A marriage made in heaven, we think…

So if you’re faced with the challenge/horror (delete as applicable) of formal tenders and bids and need a steady hand and cool head to support you, Eyeful and Sales Engine are on call.