At the start of 2022, after another full year of running RFPs and pitching new business remotely (in most cases), we wanted to share our five general observations of 2021 and our hopes for 2022.
- Practice might make “too perfect”: Often during pitches, the potential client provides feedback, gives additional color to a challenge the agency addressed or asks a question and more often than not, agencies do not use the opportunity for a dialogue. We’ve observed most agencies thank the client for the info and move on to presenting content on slides. In 2022, we hope that agencies take the opportunity for authentic candor with their potential client and use those moments to build true chemistry. Our hope is that the agencies get out of the story they want to tell and get into the conversation with their (potential) client.
- Talk about the (potential) client: For agencies that do not advance or win the pitch, the feedback we get from our clients is that they feel like the RFP response or pitch deck was generic and not actually about them. In 2022, we hope that agencies take the time to insert the client more into the thinking, keep the focus on the client and their actual challenge and take the time to personalize the presentation that lets the client know that the response is truly about and for them.
- Try to avoid the “upfront ramble”: In pitches, we notice that most agencies spend more time than necessary on the few upfront “creds” slides. We know that nerves are often high in pitches and we know that the team is excited about the potential partnership, but time is often spent (dare we say wasted) on lengthy intros, client logo slides and services offered. In 2022, we hope agencies get a bit more concise in the “about you” language and shift the conversation to why they are excited to work with the client and how they can help them.
- Be authentically you: While every agency has access to the same vendors, tools, technologies, data sets, etc. (in theory), what makes an agency special is the thinking and the team. We are surprised by how many agencies do not focus on their people when asked what makes them special. In 2022, we hope to see more agencies highlight their team and focus on their talent. In this spirit, we also encourage them to be themselves in pitches and bring their own personality and be conversational.
- Be thoughtful and thorough: We completely understand that lots of information is requested during the RFP process. Many times, agencies are delinquent in providing materials or miss important details all together. In 2022, we hope that agencies take a step back from the laser focus in the RFP and make sure all questions have been answered in a thoughtful way and that all requested materials have been provided.
Life is different than it once was when we were in rooms together. This shift in how we connect does require a shift in how we approach connection (this might be more important than it ever was). We hope that our tips for 2022 continue to evoke change in our industry and work towards our mission to help create better agency/client relationships.