It’s hard enough to build a great mobile app. But pitching the business is its own unique challenge–with time, money and focus all at stake. To help mobile agencies navigate the tricky waters of new business and polish their sales skills, we’ve compiled five proven tactics that win more pitches, faster.

1. Understand the client’s goals

It seems reasonable to think that all clients want to build a world-class, revenue-generating mobile app. But that isn’t always the case. Some apps are built to drive brand loyalty or support a thriving web-based business. Others are meant to serve as minimum viable products. Still others are built purely for vanity. The only way to know for sure is to ask your client about their goals at the very outset, and tailor your message to the things they care about most.  Beware of clients who don’t have a clear sense of their needs–they will likely make pitching a nightmare and shift expectations once app development is underway.

2. Identify the decision maker

Mobile agencies often mistake the decision maker as their first point of contact, the CTO or a single person. The reality is that this varies with each company, so start by asking, “Are you in charge of hiring a mobile app agency?” and then check if the person controls the app budget. Once you’ve identified the individual, ask about people who will influence the decision. For example, the CTO might have the final say, but the VP of marketing will be heavily involved in the vetting process. Because each party has slightly different needs, it’s important to address them individually in order to get buy-in.

3. Speak the language of the business

One of clients’ biggest frustrations are mobile agencies who don’t understand their business. This problem is most salient when referencing their customers and revenue model. For the former, make sure to call customers by a category-specific term like “readers,” “subscribers” or “guests,” rather than the generic “users.” For the latter, avoid using terms like “making money” and instead refer to revenue as “in-app purchases,” “monthly subscriptions,” or “average order size.” In both cases, use the particular words of the business, as it will underscore your interest in the project and position your mobile agency as a savvy partner.

4. Use partners to fill knowledge gaps

It’s often beneficial to join forces with other, complementary firms during the pitch process. The combined knowledge facilitates proposal writing and establishes deeper expertise at multiple points of the mobile value chain–not just development. As a mobile agency, consider pitch partners like analytics, marketing and engagement platforms which complement design and development and play an integral role in post-launch app success. At Carnival, we built our Agency Partner Program to give agencies access to the latest thinking in mobile marketing automation, and help them use this knowledge to secure new clients.

5. Turn losses into future wins

Each mobile agency struggles with different steps of the pitch process. Some fail after the first few meetings, while others get pushback during the contract stage. Understanding the reason behind the client’s decision is critical to maximizing future success. As you dig deeper into the root cause, you’ll find that a lack of interest in your agency really means a dull presentation, missing capabilities, slow turnaround time or misaligned pricing (too high or too low)–many of which you can quickly address. By pushing your clients to elaborate on their objections, you can turn a loss today into a win on your next pitch.


Pitching for new mobile app business is not easy, so it’s imperative to focus on key areas of value. In our experience, these include understanding client goals, zeroing in on the decision maker, speaking the language of the business and partnering with complementary vendors. We also recommend pushing clients on the reasons behind their objections, so you can learn from your mistakes and turn them into future wins.

What tactics have helped your mobile agency to win new business? Share your answer in the comments section.

To learn more about Carnival’s Agency Partner Program, get in touch.

2 thoughts on “5 tactics for winning a mobile app pitch

  1. This is great recommends ! It’s wonderful. Thanks for sharing. What business tasks mobile applications help to solve? I shall share more information:

  2. I want to get some more ideas on this topic. Can you please explain me what social activities can we do for pre-app marketing? Can you suggest me which platform is best for mobile taxi application? Looking for your answer. Please let me know as soon as possible. Thanks

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