The secret of effective pitches

Recently, Okomo had the honor of being one of three keynote speakers at the Red Bull event near Frankfurt. The event focused on helping entrepreneurs communicate their ideas, pitching them in an effective and inspiring way – whether in front of their own family, clients or investors.

Kasimir, co-founder and responsible for Customer Success at Okomo, presented the pitch that helped Okomo become the most innovative start-up in Switzerland, in 2019. Kasimir showed to the audience what elements we were looking for in our pitch.

How did Okomo structure its pitch?

We have used the following structure:

  1. Problem
  2. Solution
  3. Application Fields
  4. Proof of Concept
  5. Business Model & Growth
  6. Future Development & Inspiration
  7. Credibility: Team & Competencies
  8. Call to Action

Problem – Which challenge will you be solving for the customer?

Never start a pitch at your solution, but engage the listener at the problem. That’s why we like to start with a statistic. The nice thing about statistics is that they are neutral and, as they say, ‘numbers don’t lie’. In addition we divide in which situations the problem is noticeable and to whom it applies (target group). Aim of this part: The listener should be able to feel the problem as personal, so assign it to him/her.

Example at Okomo: The average conversion rate of an online shop is between 1-4% – i.e. only 1-4% of all website visitors become buyers. If you compare the conversion rate in the offline world, namely that of a physical shop, the conversion rate there is between 20-40%, which is many times higher than that of an online shop. Why can physical shops achieve such a higher conversion rate comparing to online shops?

Conversion rate in physical business vs. online business

Solution – how do you help your customer to solve this problem?

After your audience can understand the problem, lead them to the solution. Keep in mind: here you tell in which way the problem can be solved without mentioning your product or service. Only after you have convinced the audience which is the right approach to the problem you will lead them to your product. Then the moment is to present your solution in a few well-packaged sentences.

Example at Okomo: A big factor why the conversion rate in online shops is so much lower than in physical shops is due to a missing core component in the shopping experience. Something that is becoming less and less important in today’s digital world is human interaction. The falling human contact is a consequence of the digital world we live in today. Companies have noticed that by enabling more human interaction in their digital channels with live chat, video calls and screen transmission, they are re-establishing a more personal relationship with their customers, giving them the experience similar to the one in a phisical store. According to Gartner, in 2018, 100 of the 500 largest global companies introduced video calls in their customer interactions. (**note: so far only the solution has been mentioned without our service).

What Okomo looks like on a website and on LinkedIn

To help them do this, Okomo has developed all-in-one customer communications software that enables sales and service teams to help their customers via live chat, video calls, on-screen broadcast and appointment scheduling across all of their online channels.

Applications – in which situations can your product or service help?

Here you tell your audience in which areas your solution can help. Often you only think of one application, but by giving different examples where and how to use your solution, you allow your audience to understand the versatility of your product/service.

Example at Okomo: Companies can interact with Okomo not only through their website, but also via social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, etc. or via their newsletter and email signature. This allows companies to personally support their customers during the entire sales process, from lead acquisition to sales consulting and after-sales services.

Proof-of-Concept – in which industries does your product or service already work?

Here you tell your audience which of your customers are already using and using your solution. This can be strengthened by quotes from your customers. Voice-of-the-Customer is a strong lever because the statements come from an external person who is already using your solution.

Example at Okomo:

Quote from a customer

Business Model & Growth – what have you already achieved and how do you plan to grow?

This is primarily important in discussions with investors, partners and development associations. This helps the listener to understand how your figures (customers, revenues, regions) have already developed and where your projections stand.

Example at Okomo:

  • 1st Year (2018): Software developed and tested on the market by first beta testers
  • 2nd Year (2019): Sales started and we achieved first sales in the DACH market
  • 3rd Year (2020): Internationalisation through entry into new markets
  • 4th Year (2020+): Focus on further feature developments for the software

Future Development & Inspiration – In which direction does the journey continue?

DREAM BIG! – as the Americans always say so beautifully. Here you show your listener how your solution develops and how you want to accomplish your vision. Where do you see your company someday? How will your company affect society one day? In the DACH sector we tend to be a little more conservative. Here the Americans are much stronger: they are big dreamers; we as Europeans can learn something from them. Above all, this is also relevant for investors and partners where you can show them that the ‘today’ of your solution is only the beginning of the journey.

Example at Okomo: Okomo’s goal is to empower people in their personal online customer interactions. Live chat, video call, screen sharing and making appointments are just the beginning. Among other things, we evaluate features in areas such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Assistances (VA). For example, imagine you can spontaneously invite your technician home to look over your shoulder with your AR glasses during the next power outage and help solve problems – without having him/her to come to you.

Personal digital customer care with Virtual Reality

Credibility: Team & competencies – what skills, experience and network does the team have?

“What’s your unfair advantage?” was the question that an earlier investor asked us. In the beginning we didn’t know what was meant with this question. Only later did we understand that the investor wanted to understand what skills, experience and network the team had. This is important because he wanted to know if we were the right people to build a SaaS company in Switzerland (then DACH > then worldwide). With this question, he wanted to understand how easy it is to copy our product if a competitor wants to do the same thing as us.

So think for yourself: What ‘unfair advantages’ does your team have?

Example at Okomo: The founding team comes from the technology sector and got to know each other at Microsoft. We gained many years of experience in different areas such as technical development, sales and marketing. There is also a strong network in Switzerland to access SMEs, Okomo’s target group.

Call to Action – what should the audience do next?

“So what?” After you have brought your listener (or audience) through your pitch, you want to give them a clear next step along the way. The goal is to connect your listener with your idea. Here are a few Call-to-Action examples that fit almost every company:

  • Follow us on Instagram/Facebook/Tik Tok/etc. to be always up to date
  • Here’s a coupon that gives you 10% discount on your next purchase
  • Under www.your-Webseite.com you can register for a free test period
  • I offer a 30-minute free consultation which you can book at www.your-webseite.com

There’s no such thing as One Size Fits All in pitching, because every listener can only be connected to your solution in an individual way (or sometimes not at all). It is always important to first think about ‘Who am I sharing my pitch with?’ and ‘How can I offer them added value?’ Whether it’s your family or friends, whether it’s a potential investor, whether it’s a customer or partner, whether it’s an audience that wants to be inspired, or someone who’s just curious. See the above structural elements as building blocks to create your own pitch and most importantly: design it the way you feel most comfortable with.

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