by Harry Meadows
A thirty-second elevator pitch has outsized importance compared to the amount of time it takes to deliver. A bad pitch can auto-sort you into the endless array of nice-to-haves, so it must generate enough urgency that your prospects will start to see you as essential. But beyond simply a traditional opportunity to build awareness of your brand, they represent a critical inflection point at the top of your sales funnel, engaging your good prospects and qualifying out the bad.
The strategic stories used by essential brands follow a consistent structure. Download Woden’s guide on how this approach works, and how to put it to work in any company.
For a company seeking a more efficient sales funnel, a tight, compelling, and urgent elevator pitch is among the best investments it can make. Here’s how to build one prospects actually want to hear.
Start Longer — and Bigger
“I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead” — Mark Twain
Defining your company’s strategic narrative is the first step to a great elevator pitch. Craft a longer narrative that defines your organization’s purpose, and lay out how that addresses your prospects’ pain points and how your business will guide them to a stronger future.
The brand story you craft will likely be too long for a pitch, and lack urgency — but it’s the foundation you need: the structure and message of your elevator pitch area distillation of that story. People are hard-wired to respond emotionally to stories, and to remember the ideas they transmit, so a story-aligned elevator pitch is more likely to hit home than one packed with features and benefits. If you identify pain points people care about while developing your strategic narrative and align your purpose with solving them, you’re on the path to be seen as essential.
Develop urgency with pain points
You must speak directly to your prospect’s pain points to generate a sense of urgency. These pain points come in all shapes and sizes: a specific type of business inefficiency, a lack of security that creates economic risk, or a big, unavoidable change in the world that everyone needs to adapt to.
Binary Defense opens their elevator pitch with a question:
“Do you see your MDR provider as a vendor or a partner?”
This forces the prospect to consider their current MDR vendor, and raises the customer’s major pain point: the transactional client-vendor relationship. A clear pain point helps qualify prospects. Injecting urgency creates a higher-stakes conversation earlier on in the funnel. But that is what your funnel is supposed to do: qualify out the people who don’t respond to your story, and create deeper conversations with those who do.
An elevator pitch must prove to the audience that you can credibly address their pain points. This can be done via social proof (such a notable or volume of customers), external validation (such as a piece of technology), or — and most effectively — by building trust directly with the prospect. This can be done by offering knowledge that’s usable by the prospect, or affirming a value shared by the prospect and the company.
Binary Defense is built on the belief that “the right partner is the best defense.” It asserts its credibility in this area by subverting expectations — its elevator pitch continues by pointing out some of the things a vendor can do well:
“Do you think of your MDR provider as a vendor or a partner? The difference is more than semantics. A good vendor will provide you with alerts, monitor your endpoints, and be responsive to your needs.”
Get them to see potential
The final step is to make a succinct case to your prospect for why they should continue the conversation with you. You can touch briefly on what makes your product or service great, but the real goal is to get them to envision a world in which, with your help, they’ve overcome their pain points. Specificity is crucial.
In Binary Defense’s case, the prospect has uncertainty that comes from a vendor who doesn’t take a proactive, consultative approach. Prospects know that lack of attention leads to a poor security posture, so their pitch concludes by connecting their purpose back to the pain point:
“Do you think of your MDR provider as a vendor or a partner? The difference is more than semantics. A good vendor will provide you with alerts, monitor your endpoints, and be responsive to your needs.
But what if they knew your environment so well that they could anticipate attacks and act as an extension of your team? Binary Defense knows that the right partner is the best defense. In the face of the uncertainty all business leaders face, we give you answers — not alerts — and a partner who provides consultative guidance to mature your security posture.”
It’s easy for a prospect to imagine the risk they face with their current partner, and there is a clear, specific benefit (answers and guidance) to partnership. That invites a more detailed conversation with the prospect.
Used effectively, the right pitch — or combination of pitches — will add efficiency to your funnel and build out your playbook for converting prospects to the next step. Your 30-second pitch doesn’t need to explain what makes your product great, or even the ways you’re different from your competitors. It just needs to generate enough urgency and intrigue to get them to agree to the next conversation, where you’ll offer a deeper articulation of what makes you essential.
Harry Meadows is the StoryAccelerator Lead at Woden. Want to stay connected? Read our extensive guide on how to craft your organization’s narrative, or send us an email at email@example.com to start the journey to uncover what makes you essential.