SWISS Pavilion, CES 2019: Interview with coach Vincent Bieri (Nexthink)

From January 6-12, 13 Vaud startups will fly to Las Vegas and pitch at CES 2019' SWISS Pavilion. We organized a Sales Pitch Training with Vincent Bieri (co-founder of Nexthink) to prepare the startups. How will they deliver their perfect pitch to make impact?

Hello Vincent. As a sales coach, what do you think is very important for Swiss startups to know, before they hit Las Vegas?

The most important thing is to understand the value of the opportunity that is being offered. Young entrepreneurs do not always realize that such an event can change their future, boost their partnership activities, accelerate their sales or help them find great people to join their team. You need to know that before understanding it on site. And realize that you are not ready, that you should have prepared better and differently: too late once there!

My advice to participants is to spend time understanding why they go to CES and what opportunities the event might open up: hence, prepare a plan which will maximize their time at CES and give them a chance to make it a success, rather than the simple “let’s do there what we usually do” plan:

- A demo that rocks (great impact scenarios, even if only prototype)
- Pitch/message (30 sec, 5 and 15min)
- Client intelligence: what should we always ask potential clients in order to document our leads database?
- After CES: how will we follow up? What data do we need? What should we offer them on site to secure a follow up (i.e. book a date at their office, a call with a reference client, etc.)?
- On-site meetings with key targets (clients, partners, new hire candidates) booked in advance
- Things you will do at the event booth but anything outside that can contribute to secure a meeting or discover what you would not do otherwise, such as meetings at breakfast and dinner, leisure activities, competitive intelligence to gather at other booths/pitches/sessions
- Who do we need in our team to involve preparing all this, and to be on site to do it. And who will follow up.

Why is it important for them to especially prepare their pitch, before CES?

We are all always very good at explaining our product and innovation. But not great at explaining why someone needs it. Clients and partners buy what you enable them to achieve or the life/business changing situation that you create for them. Explaining clearly and with a high impact that problem, for whom, and that uniqueness (not in tech invention but in the way for clients to tackle the problem), is key.

Also, entrepreneurs tend to believe that information drives action. Rather, information drives analysis! Emotions drives actions. Learning how to put emotions into a pitch/messages is key. In short:

- Solidify the "why" (why my idea, why me, why now) of the pitch and value proposition. In other words, get out of your shoes and step into the ones of your audience
- Add emotions and remove overwhelming information (by sharing great stories)

As a coach, what results would you like to see at CES i.e. with regards to convincing the US public?

One global goal would be that Switzerland, via the Swiss startups, entrepreneurs and innovations present at CES, gets recognized as a country with high potential to change the world. Each startup should realize that such events can make them realize a jump, not a step. They might meet a Fortune 500 client whom they will sign in 2019, investors, partners, or this amazing future employee who will make such a difference in the company…

You have trained many startups at the Sales Pitch Clinic workshops: can you share your experience in working closely with Swiss entrepreneurs (as you are one yourself, too)?

The companies and entrepreneurs who participated to the pitch training and the one I am coaching via other programs are all different but share a few things in common. Different: they all do different tech, markets, have different background, setup, team, funding, stages. Same: first they all have passion, ambitions, are smart. They also share the fact that they all capture interest out in the market but suffer to materialize that interest into concrete and repeatable business outcomes. I hence teach them to focus, position the problem they solve and create impact via emotions to trigger actions from their audience.


Vincent Bieri is Nexthink's co-founder. In November 2018, he gave the CES 2019 participating Vaud startups a Sale Pitch training in collaboration with Innovaud.

Presence Switzerland and Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE) are the organizers of CES 2019 SWISS Pavilion aiming to present some of the latest Swiss technologies to the US market. Over 1,100 startups that used CES as a platform to showcase their products have been funded. Innovaud is a partner of this event to support the participating Vaud startups.