As a PR agency, winning new business is obviously vital and, when it happens, hugely exciting.
The Right Agency has a great client retention rate and some of our clients have been with us since we started in 2010. We’ve also been very lucky over the years to have received referrals which sometimes means avoiding a competitive pitch process, but not always….
Competitive pitches are a necessary evil, but they can be an entirely frustrating, stressful and expensive experience, especially for smaller agencies.
So, while we know we can’t win them all, we thought we’d outline a few frustrations and suggestions that could help potential clients out there get the best out the pitch process and end up with a PR agency that truly fits their needs.
• An obvious one to start with – but make your brief as comprehensive as possible. And be honest about the elements that are really important to you. We really want to get it right, but we’re not mind readers.
• Research the agencies you are going to approach to make sure they do what you need and just select a few of the most relevant ones. Writing a pitch response is a time consuming and therefore expensive process and there is nothing more soul destroying than to know you are one of a cast of hundreds trying to grab the potential client’s attention.
• Meet us!!! Being asked to submit creds as a way of being filtered for a shortlist is depressing. Firstly, words on a page are just that. Give us a chance to elaborate about the agency, the experience and the individuals, even if it is a quick coffee meeting.
Secondly, the relationship between client and agency is crucial – so while you might meet us and decide you’d rather work with Donald Trump, we’d like to think you will like us. Finding that common ground and again being able to bring ideas and experience to life in person benefits everyone.
• Be open minded. We are a specialist B2B agency that works in some pretty niche sectors. But the chances are we might not have worked in YOUR niche sector. That doesn’t mean we can’t. The principals are the same and, because we work hard, we know we can achieve results in any sector given the opportunity. What you are buying is our PR experience not our chemical engineering experience – so don’t rule us out because we can’t recite the periodic table.
• Nobody likes talking about money, but sometimes you have to. Tell us what your real budget it. Don’t provide a sliding scale if the reality is that it’s only the lower figure that will be signed off. Agencies can still deliver creativity on a lower budget, but it really is important that we know what that budget is.
• Don’t sell yourselves to us, that’s our job. Instead, be honest about some of your shortcomings and challenges. Let us know what you think your competitors are better at. It’s all information that will help inform the right communication strategy for you.
• Set realistic objectives for the PR activity. Don’t get me wrong, we are good – really good – but if you come to us as an SME asking us to overtake Apple’s earnings within the first six months of the PR activity, we probably can’t help you.
So, there you are. We know we are not perfect but our message for any business looking for a new B2B agency we’d encourage you to be prepared to spend some time and energy giving us the best chance to be the answer to your PR prayers.