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Lenny's Podcast: Product | Growth | Career
A step-by-step guide to crafting a sales pitch that wins | April Dunford (author of Obviously Awesome and Sales Pitch)
A step-by-step guide to crafting a sales pitch that wins | April Dunford (author of Obviously Awesome and Sales Pitch)

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April Dunford is a speaker, mentor, podcaster, best-selling author, and beloved returning guest to the show. Last year, she joined me on the pod to discuss product positioning and differentiated value. Today, April offers invaluable insights from her latest book, Sales Pitch: How to Craft a Story to Stand Out and Win. We go deep on the art of effective pitching and selling, and April shares the specific framework she’s used to successfully pitch products at companies like Google, IBM, Postman, and Epic Games. Together we discuss:
• Tactical advice on pitch creation and testing
• Real-life examples of companies transforming their narratives into successful sales strategies
• How to combat customer inaction
• How to become your prospect’s guide in their buying journey
• The importance of differentiated value
• Marketing’s role in the process
• Why you should avoid FOMO as a sales strategy
• Tips for handling objections

Listen now on Apple, Spotify, Overcast, and YouTube.

Find the transcript and references at: ⁠https://www.lennyspodcast.com/a-step-by-step-guide-to-crafting-a-sales-pitch-that-wins-april-dunford-author-of-obviously-awesom/⁠

Where to find April Dunford:

• Website: https://www.aprildunford.com/

• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aprildunford/

• Newsletter: https://aprildunford.substack.com/

Where to find Lenny:

• Newsletter: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com

• X: https://twitter.com/lennysan

• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lennyrachitsky/

In this episode, we cover:

(00:00) April’s background

(03:46) Fixing poor positioning with storytelling at Help Scout

(12:22) Pitch components: setup and differentiated value

(14:13) Wrapping up the sales pitch

(15:56) Handling objections effectively

(19:13) Understanding buyer’s mindset and market perception

(25:46) Avoiding FOMO as a sales strategy

(29:28) Lenny’s stressful experience buying community forum software for Airbnb

(31:04) Empowering champions within client businesses

(34:36) Who this framework is useful for

(36:38) Advice on working cross-functionally

(38:59) Differentiated value defined with examples

(44:16) Selling with calm confidence

(46:19) Qualifying leads

(48:31) April’s thoughts on category creation

(53:05) Geoffrey Moore’s “bowling pin strategy”

(55:21) Conclusion of the setup phase: sharing the perfect world

(57:11) The follow-through: differentiated value with proof and objection refutation

(1:00:21) Why sales pitches fail

(1:01:30) Best practices for pitch testing

(1:05:32) General timeline for positioning and pitch creation

(1:06:50) Marketing’s role in the process

(1:08:38) The impact of developing a killer sales pitch

(1:10:39) Andy Raskin’s positioning framework

(1:15:50) Lightning round


• April Dunford on product positioning, segmentation, and optimizing your sales process: https://www.lennyspodcast.com/april-dunford-on-product-positioning-segmentation-and-optimizing-your-sales-process/

• A Quickstart Guide to Positioning: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/positioning

Obviously Awesome: How to Nail Product Positioning So Customers Get It, Buy It, Love It: https://www.amazon.com/Obviously-Awesome-Product-Positioning-Customers/dp/1999023005

Sales Pitch: How to Craft a Story to Stand Out and Win: https://www.amazon.com/Sales-Pitch-Craft-Story-Stand-ebook/dp/B0CHY6BNDN

• Help Scout: https://www.helpscout.com/

• Mastering Jobs Theory with Bob Moesta: https://www.positioning.show/mastering-jobs-theory-with-bob-moesta/

• The ultimate guide to JTBD | Bob Moesta (co-creator of the framework): https://www.lennyspodcast.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-jtbd-bob-moesta-co-creator-of-the-framework/

• Salesforce: https://www.salesforce.com/

• Salesforce Completes Acquisition of Sales-Enablement Company LevelJump: https://www.salesforce.com/news/stories/leveljump-and-salesforce/

• How to become a category pirate | Christopher Lochhead (author of Play Bigger, Niche Down, Category Pirates, more): https://www.lennyspodcast.com/how-to-become-a-category-pirate-christopher-lochhead-author-of-play-bigger-niche-down-category/

• Siebel: https://docs.oracle.com/en/applications/siebel/index.html

• Qualtrics: https://www.qualtrics.com/

• Bowling Pin in Product Development: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/bowling-pin-product-development-ashok-das/

Inside the Tornado: Strategies for Developing, Leveraging, and Surviving Hypergrowth Markets: https://www.amazon.com/Inside-Tornado-Strategies-Developing-Hypergrowth/dp/B000AAN4VM

• The power of strategic narrative | Andy Raskin: https://www.lennyspodcast.com/the-power-of-strategic-narrative-andy-raskin/

• La Product Conf: https://www.laproductconf.com/

• Thiga: https://www.thiga.co/

The JOLT Effect: How High Performers Overcome Customer Indecision: https://www.amazon.com/JOLT-Effect-Performers-Overcome-Indecision/dp/0593538102

The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation: https://www.amazon.com/Challenger-Sale-Control-Customer-Conversation/dp/1591844355

The Challenger Customer: Selling to the Hidden Influencer Who Can Multiply Your Results: https://www.amazon.com/Challenger-Customer-Selling-Influencer-Multiply/dp/1591848156

Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind: https://www.amazon.com/Positioning-Battle-Your-Mind-Anniversary/dp/0071359168

Parasite on Amazon Prime: https://www.amazon.com/Parasite-English-Subtitled-Kang-Song/dp/B07YM14FRG

Snowpiercer on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/title/70270364

• Lamy AL-star fountain pen: https://www.amazon.com/Lamy-Al-Star-Fountain-Graphite-L26F/dp/B000R309UQ

• Muji gel pens: https://www.amazon.com/Muji-Point-Black-0-38mm-Japan/dp/B01N8QNC59

Production and marketing by https://penname.co/. For inquiries about sponsoring the podcast, email podcast@lennyrachitsky.com.

Lenny may be an investor in the companies discussed.

Lenny's Newsletter

Lenny's Podcast: Product | Growth | Career

Interviews with world-class product leaders and growth experts to uncover concrete, actionable, and tactical advice to help you build, launch, and grow your own product.