The four essential stages of the pitch process

In any pitch process for marketing services providers, whether it be for a full-service agency scope of work or a specific media, creative, digital, data-driven, technology, social or PR agency scope of work, there are four essential stages.

Often, marketers or procurement teams are prepared for one, two or three of these. However, rarely do they prepare for all four.

  1. The list
  2. The chemistry & capabilities
  3. The remuneration
  4. The contract

No one pitch is the same. However, the above four stages should all be a part of any robust pitch process. Avoiding one can lead to a sub-optimal outcome.

Here are tips for each step:

The list

Determining who you should invite to tender or pitch starts with having a very clear brief of what you want and need and just as importantly, what you don’t want or need. It is too easy for the whole process to go off the rails as the objectives of the review get lost in the process.

A new agency pitch requirement may have come from the breakdown of an existing relationship. So, it’s important to have clarity on your marketing agency services scope of work requirements. Both now and into the mid-term.

Developing the actual pitch list is difficult, with so little detailed information publicly available. Look to word of mouth from colleagues and peers, then trade press and directories. But be careful of recommendations from other suppliers as these can be tainted by self-interest.

TrinityP3 has supplier search and selection briefing templates and an extensive database of marketing services suppliers across all marketing communications categories. Our consultants also regularly visit agencies to identify the true agency culture and skillsets and update the agency database register accordingly with notes to assist any specific search brief.

The Chemistry & Capabilities

If you are buying a relationship, allow as much time as possible for a relationship to develop. Working with the suppliers and meeting regularly is an ideal way to see your alignment.

The biggest mistake here is not planning the process to ensure all stakeholders are available and that the timeline plan can be delivered. Delays, postponements, and restarts are bad processes and can damage professional reputations.

It’s also critical to get under the hood of the service provider’s specific skillset. Identifying not only their depth of expertise but also their breadth and identifying what’s insourced versus outsourced by the agency. One creative agency scope of work example that we worked on recently was too heavily focussed on senior resources when a greater mix of mid-level and junior was required for the type of work.

There are plenty of other case studies of agencies attempting to blind clients in pitches with bells and whistles and industry sparkle, only to fall short when specific skill sets are pressure-tested.

Caveat emptor is the mantra. This is why TrinityP3 has established and tested processes and methodologies for planning and managing the chemistry and capability process to ensure due diligence and governance.

The remuneration (fees)

Most good remuneration models are based on the marketing agency’s scope of work to be delivered, yet many go into the pitch process with no clear and detailed scope of work expectation. Therefore, the resulting remuneration model is either flawed or expensive.

A clear scope of work volumes and complexity, resource plans, and existing arrangements beyond the bottom-line cost are all essential in establishing a cost-effective, transparent, and sustainable remuneration.

TrinityP3 has remuneration methodologies, including defining the scope of work, resource plans and cost benchmarks for all markets and all marketing communications activities.

The contract

The one that is most often overlooked unless managed by procurement. A detailed, comprehensive, and functional contract that clearly outlines roles, responsibilities, expectations, and terms is essential to avoid misunderstandings and poor performance down the track.

TrinityP3 recommends you use legal advisers for all commercial contracts. However, it can also provide industry knowledge input to make these contract agreements more practical.

In conclusion

Be well-prepared for each step of the pitch process.

Pitching is not just about finding a new agency partner. It’s about finding the best-fit agency partner for your requirements and the next growth stage.

Whether it be for a creative agency’s scope of work, media planning or buying, or another requirement, we’re here to help you navigate through the myriad of service providers in the market. Read more on our agency search and selection process here.

If you’d like to pick our brains on some of the latest pitch processes and bespoke ways of approaching pitching that we’ve successfully employed to assist clients recently, contact us today. We’d love to hear from you.