I love being a part of the agency pitch process. As a client, you get to develop a brief or RFP and then see how different agencies interpret that and offer up their expertise in how to accomplish the goal. It’s always interesting, and sometimes frustrating, to see what type of work gets presented back. As an agency member, you get to be part of gathering the best resources within the entire company, and coming up with creative solutions to the client’s request. Pitch day is as exciting and focused as being on a field for a big game.
One of the changes I think that could be interesting for both agency and client during the pitch process is to change the pitch presentation meeting to just one person from the agency.
If you’ve been a part of enough you know that clients usually request, and agencies are all too happy to bring in an entire room full of people from different parts of the agency to give the client an opportunity to meet “the team” and to make their pitch appear even bigger.
What if only one person showed up from the agency to give the pitch?
First of all, most of the time the people they bring are usually the higher level folks anyway that may only have very small amounts to do with your overall engagement, no matter how much they say their “on the team.” Secondly, by having too many people in the room, it can just cause the pitch session to become disjointed (unless they’ve practiced very in-depth) and to have so many voices weighing in on answers or presenting material that the client is often left more with the impression of “well, someone is on it” vs. “I know exactly who to call no matter what.”
Imagine the meeting with just one agency person, the right person who will be dedicated and responsible for all of the parts of the relationship. This sets up the tone for the agency even that there is one ultimate client owner, which helps with the fact that most agencies you work with today are a temporary conglomeration of smaller agencies within a holding company where everyone wants to be closer to the client.
How would the person from the agency be different? Would s/he be more dedicated and more involved overall because it was only her/him who pitched the business and is the one ultimately responsible? Would you be able to get more work done because as an agency you weren’t pulling out 8-15 of your best people every time there was a pitch to go give? Would you be able to lower overhead and streamline your operation to get work done better/faster and offer it at a better rate for the client. Would your potential clients like the approach because you’ve stood out vs. every other group? How could you use the power of one person to look a potential client in the eye and use it as a selling proposition?
Seems like the short term strategy of bringing a whole room full of people for the pitch could be replaced by some things to better develop your long term reputation and track record once you’re awarded the business.
Seems like something to at least consider on one of your next briefs or pitches.