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How To Make a Good Sales Pitch: 9 Tips

A photo of a sales rep making an enthusiastic sales pitch
The sales pitch is now a fastball. To close more deals, go beyond the slow pitch and solve pain points your customers didn't even know they had. [Syda Productions/AdobeStock and Caitlyn Schloneger/Salesforce]

Crafting a good sales pitch is not easy — but it might be one of the most important things a sales rep can do.

Let’s be real, the sales pitch has evolved. It’s no longer just a pitch, it’s a fastball. You have about 30 seconds to hook your audience. In those 30 seconds, you have to connect, persuade and provide value to a complete stranger — it’s no easy feat.

Your potential customers today are more informed (and skeptical) than they’ve ever been. Our latest State of Sales Report shows 81% of sales reps say buyers increasingly conduct research before they reach out. Pitching with information your prospective customers already know shows apathy — and a lack of awareness. 

That’s why the work you put in before you deliver your pitch, and the follow-up once you’ve aced it, are so critical to closing the deal. We have some tips to ace the pitch — before, during, and after those critical 30 seconds. 

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Why the sales pitch is still so important

A report from research firm G2 revealed 68% of buyers don’t involve sales until they’re ready to make a purchase. That means your sales pitch is likely to be a prospect’s first interaction with your company — so make it count. It’s an opportunity to expand their understanding of your company and create a valuable exchange in the process. And of course, it’s still an opportunity for sellers to learn more about the customer’s pain points, requirements, and expectations. 

Customers may be showing up more informed, but that doesn’t mean using the pitch to educate them is no longer useful.  An effective sales pitch should be a two-way street that adds value for both parties. By showcasing your expertise and sharing information they can’t find on their own, you can validate their reasons for reaching out. 

The components of a perfect sales pitch

A common mistake new salespeople often make is launching straight into their sales pitch without asking any questions. 

A good sales pitch is more about understanding — and it starts long before your first engagement with a potential customer. Effective sales pitches require a bit of homework to understand your prospect well enough to personalize your presentation instead of sticking to a canned script. 

“Salespeople are under the impression that pitching their product is what makes deals,” said speaker and author Jill Konrath. “Anybody who is a victim of the pitch has their defense mechanisms up in full steam whenever they’re talking to somebody. They don’t trust them because they feel that they’re going to be pounced on.”

Considering this, here are nine tips to put you on the path to the perfect sales pitch.

1. Prioritize your sales pitch with data

How are you prioritizing the deals you’re chasing? A recent study shows that top-performing sales teams are 1.6 times more likely to prioritize leads based on data analysis — and half as likely to prioritize based on intuition. Data can be the guidepost in your pitch prioritization. Where it used to be enough to pursue the deals you “had a good feeling” about, you can use real data insights, like scored leads that indicate likeliness to close, to help make sure your focus is in the right place.

2. Personalize your pitch based on research 

Your product isn’t going to sell itself. According to the latest State of Sales Report, 87% of business buyers expect reps to approach sales conversations as trusted advisors. Craft a pitch that shows you understand their business and delivers information beyond what they can find on their own. Do your homework and research before your first conversation to maximize your chances of closing the deal. Conduct thorough research on their company, their industry, and competitors. During your initial contact, be sure to ask the right questions so you can tailor your message to address their specific needs and ease the deal to the next step.

Personalize your sales pitch to the company and role you’re pitching to, based on your research. Are you pitching the chief marketing officer, service vice president, chief operating officer, or the head of legal? Knowing the role of your buyer (or buyers, more likely) will help shape how you personalize your pitch. Understanding common pain points of your buyer’s role is a great place to start. If you come in with the story that’s only from your perspective, how will the buyer see what’s in it for them? AI tools built into your CRM can help you create personalized messaging, but it’s not a replacement for the work that needs to go into building the right pitch for your customer. 

Before presenting your pitch to the buyer, conducting research will also eliminate unnecessary noise distracting them from the sale. For example, show them you care enough to understand their business with a relevant message highlighting product features that could benefit them the most.

3. Get access to the actual decision-makers

All the research and customer information in the world won’t help your pitch if you aren’t in touch with the actual decision-makers who can approve the purchase. This point poses a growing challenge, as research from Gartner shows the six to 10 people are involved in B2B purchase decisions. 

Essentially, you have three roles to consider: those who will assess the logistics, those who will implement the solution and those who will have final approval. Before the actual sales pitch, ensure that you’re talking to the person who not only truly understands the business, but is also a decision-maker. This is easier said than done. Oftentimes, getting access to the actual decision-maker in a deal is a primary hurdle that salespeople face, and requires building trust with a more value-based relationship over time. 

4. Paint the picture for your buyer

Being a storyteller is a skill not often discussed on sales teams, but it can be the secret that sets a good sales pitch apart from the best sales pitch. Tell the story of where they are now and the vision of where they could be. 

To borrow advice from author and storytelling expert Nancy Duarte, “The audience does not need to tune themselves to you — you need to tune your message to them. Skilled presenting requires you to understand their hearts and minds and create a message to resonate with what’s already there.” 

Inspiring change and getting buyers to think differently is a way to stand out among your competition. If you can paint the picture of how the buyer will feel with your product or service, you can show them value in a whole new light. 

5. Share your insights

You’ve done your homework and listened to what the buyer has to say — now it’s time to share the solution to their problem. You can do this by adding value at each touchpoint. Give them more than they can find on their own online or otherwise — for example, share insights, customer testimonials, or case study results from other customers to help them see the value in your solution.

Again, this is a good case for data. Showcasing data points like customer satisfaction, overall engagement with your product, or positive responses are all ways to reinforce trust with your buyer. After all, proof is in the pudding, right?

6. Stay on message 

It’s no easy feat to get in front of a potential customer, so don’t waste their time or yours with a long-winded, boring sales pitch that isn’t relevant to the unique problems your potential customer faces.

Keep the pitch on-message by being clear, and you’ll keep your buyer’s attention. Review it until it’s as concise as possible without losing the intent. For instance, remove unnecessary buzzwords, like “synergy” and “best practice” — you won’t need these if you know your customer’s needs. And, whenever you get stuck, always go back to your brand’s values. 

7. Fearlessly overcome common sales objections

As you’re perfecting your sales pitch, be sure to include thorough research that solves their problem, and addresses potential objections that may arise.

The most common sales objections fall into four buckets: budget, authority, need, and time (also known as BANT). You may not need to have a detailed response to all of these, but be prepared to discuss each. The key here is to show you understand their concern, and offer possible ways to overcome those hurdles, together.

For instance, if a competing product is brought up during your pitch, highlight the features that differentiate your product, connecting it back to them. Or, if they don’t have budget secured, turn the conversation towards investing back into their team, and how much money your product can save them in the future.

Over time, you’ll hone your objection-response based on the feedback you receive in sales meetings. In the meantime, leverage customer and product research and use that knowledge in handling objections without fear.

8. Listen to understand, not just to reply

According to the latest State of Sales Report, sellers say active listening is one of their top tactics to build good relationships with prospects. Listen to the tone, speed, and volume of their voices to give clues about how they’re feeling. Use “tell me about” statements to prompt them to share their experiences.

If you’re on a script, don’t be overzealous or overconfident — instead, go into the pitch with an open mind and let the buyer do most of the talking. If you can’t narrow down your buyer’s pain points, you won’t be able to figure out the best way to help them.

Periodically check in with the buyer during your pitch, taking the time to hear their views and respond with thoughtful follow-up questions. This is a critical step to really understanding their business needs and ultimately closing the deal. If you’re responding by asking the right questions, you can adjust your pitch to sound more attractive to the buyer. If you have your ears open, it will feel less like a business presentation and more like a healthy conversation about their business needs.

9. Outline options for next steps

While listening to your buyer is critical, don’t just pack up after your pitch. Be ready to share what’s next for the customer. Every sales pitch should end with a call to action. Even if the customer isn’t ready to complete the sale, be sure to keep the prospect on the journey and move forward with a follow-up meeting or next steps.

Pro tip: Never wait for the customer to make the call to action. Failing to be proactive could result in the meeting or relationship ending before you have a chance to continue the conversation and seal the deal.

The perfect sales pitch does exist 

With these tips, you’re ready for the perfect sales pitch. Be confident because you’ve put real thought and effort into your pitch; you know your product, you know your buyer, you’re listening to their needs, you’re solving the real problem, and you’re ready for any objection. Game on!

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Tiffani Bova Customer Innovation Evangelist

Tiffani is the Global Customer Growth and Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce. Over the past two decades, she has led large revenue-producing divisions at businesses ranging from start-ups to the Fortune 500. She spent ten years at Gartner, the world’s leading IT research and advisory firm as a distinguished analyst and research fellow. In her first book, Growth IQ, she outlines the 10 paths to growth that every company needs to understand in order to grow with confidence.

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