On Monday 12th October 2015, MSDUK welcomed four highly enterprising business owners from its network representing FM industry to the first ‘Pitch Perfect’ event, hosted by Citi at its conference centre in London. How was this event different from the usual ‘Meet the buyer’ event?
Well, for the first time, these four ethnic minority business owners had an exclusive opportunity to meet four prospective clients and pitch their business and for once, they had an opportunity to meet budget holders, category heads and Tier 1 suppliers, all together as a captive audience for 20 minutes! And over the course of the day, they got this opportunity to pitch to four different client panels!
For any small business that wants to do business with a large global firm, there are many loops they have to jump through before even getting a chance to bid for work. How to get a foot inside the door, who should they talk to, who are the decision makers, what’s the corporate culture, how to navigate its supply chain and how to find ‘the hook’ to be successful? All these challenges need to be overcome before the business gets a sight of the opportunity to bid!
The ‘pitch perfect’ event provided the opportunity to run ‘mini pitch panels’ where suppliers were briefed several weeks in advance, matched up with a corporate mentor with pitch experience and then invited along to the event where they spent an intense 20 minutes pitching their businesses to senior decision makers, budget holders and sourcing buyers, all in one room and in a safe environment which encouraged learning and development. The four participating EMBs – Britek Technologies, Braywhite & Co, Microfresh and TRS Ltd were given a chance to:
- Participate in 20 minute pitch and dialogue sessions with 3 – 4 panellists comprised of Head of FM/Real Estate functions, key budget holder, sourcing buyer and Tier 1 suppliers.
- Receive a further 10 minutes of ‘on the spot’ buyer reflection on their team’s performance both in terms of impact/performance and how the offer was structured.
- Be accompanied by mentors throughout their pitch sessions and use session breaks to refresh and incorporate open and honest feedback in readiness for their next pitch session.
- Begin building a relationship with Corporates over the course of this exclusive Pitch Perfect event.
The event was opened by Dr Jane Ellis, the newly appointed Chair of the MSDUK Board and Head of Enterprise Supply Chain at Citi and was attended by KPMG, AIG, Citi, Johnson & Johnson and Sodexo. The event saw extremely productive discussion and engagement between suppliers and individual panels and post event feedback suggests some genuine opportunities for the attending businesses. What was also quite unique about the event was access to a mentor for each business which was quite useful in improving their pitch as they moved from one session to another. The mentoring was provided by Virgin Trains, Merck Sharpe & Dohme Limited, ES-P and Arivu. Our suppliers were able to come away from the day having already received a huge return on investing their time.
Everyone participating agreed that this was an extremely efficient and productive process of genuine engagement between end users/ budget holders and small business owners. MSDUK will be putting together a white paper and a ‘pitch perfect’ tool kit to assist other corporate firms within the network to deliver similar events.