First, explore the way the super fund’s investment decisions are made. That means scrutinising the roles, responsibilities and knowledge of the people regulated by the governance structure.

Next, hold a brief, focused workshop session, inviting the people in your team who best know the panel members. Include in your scope the fund’s trustees and management, along with internal investment, compliance and legal teams and consultants.

In your discussions, identify each stakeholder, their level of influence and their role in the decision-making process. Next to each, log their ‘hot buttons’. These are the topics or features that concern or motivate them most.

Finally, rank them in order of importance and collect the most important findings together.


Are you compatible?

Bringing the fruits of your homework together provides a lucid picture of the super fund’s needs and priorities. At this stage, you’re equipped to ask a brave question: should we pitch at all?

Just as the beef farmer probably should not waste good money wooing a militant vegetarian, being honest about your compatibility with the targeted super fund makes good sense.

Pitching something that you know will fail is a dangerous, wasteful exercise. You’ll burn valuable time and effort that could be directed more productively to compatible prospects. And you could harm your brand in the eyes of the fund if they sense you’re wasting their time.


The payoff

The benefits of this approach go way beyond simply winning the business. In fact, you’ll win even if you lose:

• understanding a super fund’s real needs helps you develop very specific market intelligence;

• gaining the fund’s perspective means you can tailor future approaches and products; and

• with a better understanding of the marketplace, your position is strengthened when pitching to other funds.


It’s not about you

Someone who talks only about themselves isn’t enjoyable company. At best they’re boring. At worst, downright offensive. If this happens on a first date, it doesn’t augur well for the future. After all, your date is already in love: with themselves.

In a pitching situation, of course, you’re expected to do most or all of the talking. So, when your pitch is all about them, you tell them, in effect: “You’re important. We think we know what you need, and we want to share it with you.”


Pick your ‘win themes’

Gather the fruits of your previous research: your summary of the super fund’s needs and a list of stakeholder ‘hot buttons’. You’ll find that many of these will naturally match features of your offer. You now have the basic ingredients for your ‘win themes’: hot button + benefit + feature = win theme.

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