For social enterprises working to secure impact investment and revenue-based partnerships, the way you frame your sales pitch is key.
To help the social enterprises in our network do that most effectively, the TRANSFORM Support Hub teamed up with Mercy Corps Ventures to host a two-part webinar series about how to win sales when they’re in the room by using their social impact mission to their advantage.
On July 20th, we had the pleasure of hosting two members of the Mercy Corps Ventures team – Platform Associate, Hebe Foster, and Managing Partner, Tim Rann – for the first of the two sessions: “Using Social Impact as a Sales Advantage.”
You can access the full recording here, and below, we’ve included seven key takeaways to help you take your pitch to the next level:
- Pitching is more than a marketing or branding exercise – it’s also about the way you run your business. Companies that bake impact and resilience frameworks into their businesses will have a core sales advantage in the coming 5 to 15 years. It’s not just about how you tell your story; it’s about how you demonstrate impact at the core of your business.
- Know your customer. Do the due diligence necessary to understand the pain points that the customer you’re pitching is facing on a daily basis in relation to their role, and be prepared to demonstrate how your solution alleviates them. Consider any risks they might encounter by switching to/engaging with you – for example in terms of cost or reputation – and address them head-on . Be sure you can prove the value-add of your product or service in terms of their ability to execute their role more effectively, and back it up with your brand story and impact data.
- Be strategic with your target customers. Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability teams have historically been responsible for building inclusive supply chains, but that is quickly changing. You should be prepared to pitch sustainability as a hook, but be ready to change context swiftly to pitch to the procurement needs of your target customer. It’s important to know immediately who you’re talking to, their influence level, and the potential for scale across the company. Then, work to manage relationships up and down the supply chain.
- Know how your impact mission adds commercial value. Most impact-led companies are trending towards a commercial advantage because regulators require impact data, and it’s what consumers are seeking. Take that context as a founder or builder and figure out how to effectively wrap your customer’s impact requirements around where you see your product taking the world. Know how you can help them meet regulatory demands, and what branding assets you can offer to promote their sustainability perspective.
- If you’re an enterprise with a digital solution for markets without high adoption of smartphones, you will need to go through large MNOs and telecommunication companies. This can be a critical opportunity, but most MNOs and telcos operate as monopolies and are able to set their share of any revenue accordingly. Even once you’re onboard and able to distribute through the MNO or telco, it doesn’t guarantee customers will come to you and you’ll still need to cut through the noise. You will still have to work to drive adoption through strategic marketing and partners. Weigh key distribution opportunities against sales cycle and cost of acquisition.
- Be a consultant by asking lots of questions. This will help you validate the pain points of the person you’re selling to, and give you insights or additional angles to incorporate into future pitches. This allows you to validate your pitch while you’re in the process of pitching.
- Get them hooked. Find ways to get your product in the potential buyer’s hands for free, so they’ve already experienced its value when you pitch.
Consider these best practices when preparing a pitch and getting in the room. For even more detailed guidance with case studies, watch the full recording via this link. Then, join us for the follow-up webinar on August 17th to get real-time pitch coaching from the Mercy Corps team.