#PRPitchPerfect: 6 tips for cracking the agency pitch process
It’s that time of the year when many businesses are starting to wind down for Christmas. Not so for most PR agencies, where up and down the land teams are frantically preparing for their second or third pitch of the week.
With 16 years in-agency experience, I’ve worked on more pitches than I can count.
Time and again I’m struck by how the management of the pitch process itself is often the bit that made the difference between winning and losing.
Shoulda, woulda, coulda
Any agency who has ever received the feedback “we didn’t feel the team gelled in the room” or that old chestnut “you came a close second”, will have kicked themselves looking back at how they could have better prepared.
Too often great ideas are let down by a chaotic and stressful pitch process that reveals itself in poor attention to detail, silly mistakes and unprepared team members who feel stressed, anxious or even resentful
We’re kidding ourselves if we think this doesn’t come across in the room.
Preparation is key
A smooth pitch process is critical in giving your ideas their best chance of hitting home. It also helps in reducing stress and anxiety in the team, enabling them to deliver their best work and ideas.
Here’s some tips to improve the process:
Get started straight away: time is wasted early on in the process, leading to a last-minute panic.
Support the writer: the bulk of the presentation or proposal writing is normally left to one person, and they often feel unsupported.
Prepare your junior team: these are the guys who can make your pitch fly, they bring energy, fresh perspectives and organisation. Help them to shine!
Rehearse: yes, winging it works for some. But more often than not, this approach leads to a pitch performance that doesn’t quite hit the mark.
Assign roles: everybody working on the pitch needs to be clear on their roles and responsibilities, and anyone in the pitch room needs to have a reason to be there.
On-the-day checks: your client’s biggest competitor just launched a huge campaign and you don’t have an opinion on it?
I will be exploring each of these elements in more depth in my #PRPitchPerfect blog series.
Spending time on these details takes resource and organisation, yes. But pitch teams that are fully prepared are far better placed to communicate their ideas clearly and engage their prospects on the day.
It also does so much for team morale. Sadly, a chaotic pitch is often the final straw which leads stressed out employees to start looking elsewhere.
Share your views
How do you prepare for a pitch? Do you end up in the same last minute panic every time? I’d love to hear your #PRPitchPerfect experiences and tips here or on Twitter.