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Are you Pitch Perfect?

Are you Pitch Perfect?

For every creative, digital and marketing agency, pitching for a new contract of work can be a tough challenge, or a rewarding, team building, confidence boost.

A pitch win can elevate your business, attracting clients and staff who want to work with you, and whatever the outcome, there’s no denying the rollercoaster ride that a pitch proposal can take you on.

From the initial invitation and the decision to consider whether to ‘go for it’, the process can sometimes be long, time consuming and expensive. Inevitably, the odds can be stacked against you and the rewards unknown, but when the outcome is in your favour, the reward is complete elation and justification that the products and services your business offers, are the right solution for your new client.

What makes the perfect pitch process?

Over the years, we have tried and tested a number of methods and processes to find the best way to successfully win a pitch, and although we like to think we have a good track record when it comes to success, the one thing that we have learnt is that there is no set format and no single process, output or delivery that guarantees success.

There can be a tendency to exceed expectations, sometimes submitting only what has been asked for, just doesn’t feel enough. There’s also the realism that budget and cost will always play a huge part, so whatever creative and strategic submission you put forward, the cost of delivery and output can sometimes be the deciding factor. Asking the right questions at an early stage about client expectations, scoring methods and budget spend can often give good clues as to the direction to take for any submission.

Although not every pitch is the same, we have found throughout our 23 years, a series of reoccurring myths which present themselves time and time again. We’re bringing you raw insight on bridging the gap between our the reality of the pitch process and the incorrect perceptions that we regularly hear.

Dispelling the pitch process myths.

1. Pitching is something only creative agencies do? False
In most competitive pitch scenarios, we find ourselves up against specialist data insight companies, PR companies and VR companies, for example. This makes for an interesting experience as there are clear strengths presented from each type of organisation. It’s quite often a case of ‘may the best service win’. It’s often better to be humble as we are and be accepting of the fact that there may often be a need to share elements of a project out amongst a few different specialties.

2. There’s always a good statistical chance of winning? False
Over the years we’ve been fortunate to have been invited to pitch for a wide range of clients, large and small, and we very rarely refuse to get involved and submit our approach and ideas. The phrase ‘in it to win it’, is a bit of a motto for us, if we’ve been chosen as part of a select few we are happy to accept and take up the challenge. However, to maintain a positive mindset is often the best approach as the statistical chance of winning can often be as low as 10%, based on 10 agencies taking part.

3. Pitching doesn’t always have to include creative? True
Having been part of hundreds of pitch processes since our inception, we have seen all sorts of requirements, briefs, budgets and questions when it comes to expectations. We feel it’s a common misconception to believe the creative will always be the selling point for the prospective client. Quite often we see methodologies, strategies and approaches weighted higher in terms of the marking then creative itself. Sometimes the awesome creative solutions get the wow factor and sometimes its showing how we think which seals the deal, there is generally no ‘one size fits all’ approach.

4. The pitch process doesn’t take very long? True and False
No two pitch processes are ever the same and we are finding an increasing differential with the level of requirements dependant on the positioning of the pitch title. Tenders and frameworks generally are the longest processes, which can take between 6 and 12 months to formally complete (that’s a lot of time!) where as requests for competitive pitches and/or proposals can take anywhere from a week to two months end to end.

5. Pitch presentations are always the same format? False
There are always multiple components to any pitch scenario.. in some instances there’s a strategic proposal first, and then creative delivery, sometimes creative concepts are not essential but optional. Costings, timings and a plan for delivery always form part of the overall presentation, as well as a brief introduction to showcase who we are, what we do and our experience specifically in the sector we’re pitching to. Leaving a lasting impression can be tricky if there’s a Q&A session at the end, often the answers to any questions can be as crucial to the pitch as the pitch itself!

6. A pitch win is always a cause for celebration? True!
The one part of the pitch process that we can categorically say is absolutely true is the need to celebrate upon being awarded the win! Does this mean drinks all round? Sometimes, of course, but most of the time, it’s a real opportunity to bring the team together, thank everyone for their contribution and hugely bolster morale. When we can see our process, ideas, thinking and innovation really make a difference to the point where we are chosen, it’s the best feeling in the world!

And… we’re pleased to announce that in the last week we have won two pitches!

We would like to say a big THANK YOU to all the team involved and also to welcome onboard our two new client relationships. Thanks for choosing us, we’re over the moon and can’t wait to get started working together with you to show you what we can do!

If you have a business problem, need or requirement, whether large or small, and would like to see how we can help you, give us a call or drop us an email, we’d love to chat.