When pitching agency marketing services, should you get into technical details or keep it simple?
The dangers of being too technical:
- You confuse the prospect.
- You obscure the value proposition.
- You arouse suspicion with "smoke and mirrors" verbiage.
The dangers of being too simple:
- The prospect questions your expertise.
- You fail to differentiate yourself.
- You arouse suspicion with "too good to be true" verbiage.
The better you know the prospect, the easier it is to determine how technical the pitch should be. Some prospects have no interest at all in hearing about the technical details of an SEO or PPC campaign; others want to talk about nothing else. Some prospects are well informed about the ins and outs of Internet marketing; others admit they know very little.
Perhaps the most challenging type of prospect is the one who thinks he/she is up to speed on technical details but isn't. The problem here is if you avoid technical details, the prospect will dismiss you, but if you get into the technical details, you'll provoke an argument you can't win.
I don't have any ideas about how to overcome this last situation — do you? Fortunately, the type of prospect who erroneously considers himself an expert is somewhat rare, at least in our experience at Straight North. Generally speaking, the easiest way to determine how technical to make a pitch — ask the prospect.
- How technical do you want the discussion to be?
- Do you want to get into the weeds or just have us "bottom line" it for you?
- Are there any technical issues in particular you want us to cover?
Usually simple questions like these will save you a lot of time and angst preparing your presentation. Not only that, you'll probably score big points with the prospect by being considerate enough to ask.
The key to effective presentations in this regard is flexibility. Some agencies and some sales people just can't get off one track or the other; either they're always putting too much technical discussion in or leaving too much out.
Far better is to be flexible and adapt your presentation to the circumstances of the individual case. This requires preparation, maybe even to the extent of having two (or more) pitches formatted and ready to go for technical and nontechnical presentations. The benefit, of course, is threefold: more types of clients your pitch will appeal to, more effective pitching in every case, and more new clients.