The other day Adweek had a revealing story that offers tips on how to win the gigantic Microsoft business. The story features context pulled straight from Microsoft’s RFP. And while there’s a terrific little nugget or two in there that would help someone win, because the RFP details a few of the brand’s challenges…I suggest that’s only 25% of the winning formula. Today’s post explores the other important bits.
Looking to win ANY ad agency new business pitch, regardless of size? Consider developing strategies that leverage thinking across four areas: the problem; the personalities; the process; and your product.
The Problem: the brand’s challenges
What’s the client’s pickle? What is the problem the prospect is trying to solve? Trying to get new customers? Make existing customers buy more? Is the brand relevant? Is their advertising working? And why not?
Typically, this is the area everyone talks about. This is the prospect’s brief. And your agency will be evaluated on how it solves the problem. But don’t kid yourself. There’s a whole heckuva lot more going on that influences who will win the business…
The Personalities: decision-maker bias
Your prospective clients are human beings making a weighty decision. It impacts their careers. What kinds of people are they? Are they Type A folks? More shiny? Are they relationship-driven? The personalities and culture of the company can drive your new business pitch content and context.
The Process: how the decision is being made
Here, I’m talking about the pitch process. What are the rules of this particular game? How are you being evaluated? Who’s in the pitch, how did they got there, and what are the deliverables (and when do they happen)? Gaining a slight advantage by presenting first or last in a given round, for instance, is an example of leveraging the process to increase your odds of winning.
The Product: your people and your capabilities
Like any professional service, your people are the main driver of client and agency success. But in new business, it’s more than that, which is why this “P” isn’t labeled “People.” Let’s make sure we include other elements of your agency’s offering: positioning, structure, ownership structure, past experience, services/capabilities, access, relationships, location, size, etc. It is another common area that’s easy to discuss and can very quickly eliminate a ton of agencies. Think of this last P as “checkmarks” in the prospect’s mind. Like a giant database. Any one of these can make a difference in winning and losing a new business pitch.
So, next time you’re in a pitch, think about the 4Ps listed above as you work with your team to develop a winning game plan.