How Startups Can Crack Pitching to Corporate Clients?
A huge global client - wow wouldn’t that logo look good on the creds deck! Our product would be perfect for them but how do I get them to test it, let alone navigate their corporate jargon and processes. Sound familiar? Well, Alex Dunsdon co-Founder of The Bakery a bespoke accelerator connecting startups and corporates is here to help.
Getting a foot in the door.
Cold emails and calls are not the winning route. Build your network! Put real effort into finding opportunities to meet your key targets. Be that at relevant industry events or introductions from friends or colleagues. Open yourself up to serendipity and ask interesting questions you never know where they may lead you.
At the same time build your profile online. When you meet someone they’re going to look you up. So make sure you’re actually doing things online. Be that posting insightful industry comments, creating discussion on linkedin or updates on where your business is at. If you’re online presence falls flat chances are your attempts at getting the client will too.
Look out for initiatives dedicated to helping startups and corporates work better together. We built The Bakery to do just that. We’re not like traditional accelerators we start with the corporate problem first and then find startups with the potential to solve them. Meaning startups get a foot in the door to relevant revenue opportunities.
Nailing the pitch itself?
Before we introduce startups in our network to corporate clients we coach them to make sure their pitch is spot on. Pitching is about persuasion. Persuasion is a form of selling. Selling is understanding what people want then giving it to them. Only talk about yourselves for 10% for the time tailor your pitch to their needs. Show how your product could be applied to something they do to make things better. They don’t want to hear your growth predictions or how much money you think you’re going to make in the next year. They want to see real life examples of your business in action and how it can help them.
Managing the relationship?
So you’ve done it - you’ve landed a big client! Now the real work kicks in. Your ways of working and that of a large corporate aren’t going to be a perfect fit. We help our startups negotiate the best possible terms with the clients they win from our programmes and project manage the trials so they can focus on delivering results.
Make sure you’re up front with the client about what you can achieve, don’t over sell and under deliver, meet your deadlines and exceed your targets rather than falling short. Build a rapport with your client, take them for lunch, ask about their family and their holidays celebrate their Birthdays and promotions. Be brave enough to challenge - if they’re offering crazy payment terms or disjointed approval processes ask them to meet you halfway.
You get what you give
Make sure when networking you’re not just taking, people will see right through that. People respond best to others when they offer to help them out or say something insightful rather than just a hard sell. Appreciate the people who get in touch. Demanding to speak to the COO of a large multinational instead of the manager you’ve managed to get an intro to isn’t best approach… though it does happen more than you’d think!
Want more support?
Since launching in 2013 The Bakery has run trials with startups and corporates in a range of sectors including Automotive, Finance, Food and Beverage, Healthcare, FMCG and Consultancy. With millions of pounds of from corporates turned into startup revenue we’ve got plenty of experience helping people land large clients like Unilever, BMW and Barclays. Join our network here to receive our briefs. Hopefully, you can be the next startup we help to crack the corporate pitch.