What is an elevator pitch anyway?
An “elevator pitch” describes your company and what you do in about the time you have to talk to someone on an elevator – 30 seconds to 2 minutes max. Elevator pitches are critical for conveying very simply who you are as a company to someone who has never heard about you and doesn’t have time to research.
No one, and I mean no one, wants to sit and listen to you drone on about details that don’t affect them and take too long to describe. Nor do you want to under represent your company by being so succinct that you are leaving out too much critical brand information. The balance has to be just right.
Aren’t elevator pitches just for sales reps?
You would be shocked at how many marketers I meet who do not know how to write an elevator pitch and have never thought to give one. I sit beside myself as year after year professional B2B marketers stumble over explaining what value they’re company produces in less than 3 paragraphs. What the hell are they paying you for?!
So for my own sanity, I thought I would break down how to write a proper elevator pitch. These steps can be used and reused for any market, industry or company you need to support.
How to write an elevator pitch
An elevator pitch has 3 sections:
That’s it. Each section lasts 1-2 sentences max.
What is going on in the world that is being meaningfully impacted by your technology, product or service? This should have several flavors, depending on the markets you serve. You should have a standard “what” and a custom “what”, which is dictated by the industry or audience your speaking to.
A “standard what” might be, “Managing projects is becoming easier and more collaborative every day from around the world.”
A “custom what” might be, “Marketers are managing projects more easily and with more collaboration every day from around the world.”
As you can see one is fairly generic. One is specific to the market they’re reaching, in this case marketers who do project management. Note, this is not the part where you name your company.
How explains how the above statement is able to happen. This is also not the part where you mention the name of your company.
A how statement might sound like, “It’s cloud-based project management software that allows spread out organizations to collaborate so easily, eliminating the need for so many meetings and status updates.”
If you’re thinking this looks a lot like a value prop statement, it is. The how allows you to back into your value prop without introducing your brand too soon.
Now tell them who you are.
“Smartsheet is one of the largest cloud-based project management platforms in the world, supporting over XXX marketing departments and agencies.”
Put it together.
“Marketers are managing projects more easily and with more collaboration every day from around the world. It’s cloud-based project management software that allows spread out organizations to collaborate so easily, eliminating the need for so many meetings and status updates. Smartsheet is one of the largest cloud-based project management platforms in the world, supporting over XXX marketing departments and agencies.”
Please note, Smartsheet has not contacted me in anyway to use them as an example. I’m just a fan.
How I Use It
At a recent healthcare conference we wanted a refreshed elevator pitch to teach to everyone working the booth. Everyone was required to learn it, which meant it had to be easy to remember. Here’s what we came up with:
- What: “Healthcare is revolutionizing patient care with everything from accessing online medical records to meeting patients virtually.”
- How: “But its bandwidth that’s enabling all this technology”
- Who: “Zayo is one of the world’s largest bandwidth providers, supporting hundreds of hospital systems and healthcare organizations.”
Now you try.