Timing is everything in sales. And perhaps one of the most important times for salespeople to pitch a product or service is immediately after a company makes an initial public offering (IPO). An IPO turns a private organization into a public entity and provides the perfect window of opportunity to cash in on a big sale.

Benefits of pitching to a public company

When a business offers an IPO, it is introducing its first group of shares into the stock market, opening investment opportunities to the general public. IPOs usually lead to a significant influx of cash. In extreme cases, public companies can raise so much revenue that they buy other businesses.

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Facebook had its IPO during 2012 and raised $16 billion. By February 2014, it purchased WhatsApp for a whopping $19 billion to expand its service offerings. Through IPOs, companies aren’t just more likely to buy products and services, they have the means to acquire ownership of entire companies.

While the example of Facebook is not necessarily the norm, the takeaway is still the same. Companies that offer an IPO are more likely to have significant buying power as a result of going public, making them a prime prospect for buying your product or service. Tracking companies that have announced their intention to go public is important to give you and/or your company a chance to prepare your sales pitch.

How to track IPOs

When it comes to future IPOs, you can determine if a company is about to go public after they file an SEC Form S-1. You can also monitor stock exchange websites. NASDAQ and the New York Stock Exchange offer sections that list the most recent IPOs. You can create a Google alert for whenever an IPO is mentioned in the news and follow the companies you are interested in pitching to.

As a salesperson, you should also stay on top of the latest news. Before companies release their IPO, there is usually buzz throughout the industry and predictions by experts on who will actually go public soon. Stay on top of these trends and industry happenings to better estimate when an IPO will occur.

Crunchbase Pro allows you to perform in-depth research on the IPO status of companies of interest.

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How to pitch to a public company

When it comes to making your sales pitch to a public company, there are some key differences to be aware of compared to pitching to a private company.

  • Be prepared to bypass layers of gatekeepers. At large public companies, it is likely that receptionists or lower level managers are in place to filter out unwanted solicitors to decision-makers. Make sure you have an adaptable script that can be used for each layer of personnel.
  • Tailor your pitch to each person you meet. You’ll encounter managers from various departments. While your core pitch should remain the same, ensure that you are addressing individual departmental concerns as necessary.
  • Be persistent. Given the slow pace of most large companies, be sure to stay top of mind. Leaving relevant materials behind such as product pamphlets and one-sheeters can help prospects remember your pitch. Follow up with the decision-makers and offer to set up a demo or additional meetings.

Pitching to a public company tends to require a sales team to jump through more hoops. From getting access to decision-makers with buying power to receiving a response after the pitch, public companies will likely demand more attention and effort. However, if your sale is successful, the result will be well worth the effort.

How Crunchbase Pro can help

With IPOs being an enormous influencer for companies to buy your product or service, it’s paramount that you stay up to date on when a business goes public. Crunchbase Pro can set up alerts for IPOs so that you’ll be one of the first people to be notified and arrange a meeting for your sales pitch – beating out potential competition.

Crunchbase Pro also offers various alerts for trigger events or buy signals as well as customizable filters to help you generate new sales leads.

  • Originally published November 28, 2018, updated June 27, 2024