Request for Proposal RFP, Request for Tender RTF, Request for information RFI, Expressions of Interest EOI, WHY? HOW? WHAT?

The rise in influence of procurement in the marketing category has seen a fundamental change in the way the pitch process is increasingly run.

The pitch is now the RFT.

Credentials are now a RFI.

The financials are a RFP.

The big mistake many agencies make is running head on into the process without really understanding the details of the process or the consequence of participating.

Obviously being invited to pitch holds the possibility of winning new business. But just as easily it can be a drain on the agency resources, involve excessive irreclaimable costs and even if successful may not add to the agency bottom-line.

When you get the invitation to participate in a pitch / RFI / RFT / RFI, it is worthwhile asking a few questions before you decide.

Again, think of it like dating. Would you go out on every date you were asked?

We were managing a pitch and the client wanted a particular agency included in the process. When I called the agency, the Managing Director said they did not pitch unless they could meet with the Managing Director or CEO of the client company and that there were no more than 3 agencies in the process.

I went back to the client and told him, and instead of putting them out of the process, it made the agency more desirable.

So before you say YES to the next invitation to go on a date, here are a few questions worth asking before you decide if you want to go.

1. Will it be an open tender or a closed tender, and if it is a closed tender how many companies will be participating? An open tender or too many participants simply reduces your chances of success and indicates that the process could potentially be a fishing exercise.

2. What is the process and how long is the process planned to take? If there is no clear process and there is no clear timeline then there is likely no real thought or planning behind the process and in most cases this leads to protracted and poor managed processes.

3. What will be the requirements of the agency and will fees be paid and if so how much and to whom and when? If the process is particularly onerous on the agency or the client wants to own the intellectual property produced by the agency during the process, then fees should be paid, and at least you’ll know what investment will be required if you decide to participate.

4. Who will be involved in the process from the client side? Is the CEO or senior management involved? Is it being managed by procurement or a consultant? Who in marketing will be involved? After all, this gives you an idea of what level of involvement and importance the process is seen within the organization.

5. What is the value of the business in the first year? This is often an awkward question, but nevertheless an important one as it allows you to balance the potential cost of the pitch with the upside of success.

Perhaps if more agencies asked these questions up-front and were better informed before deciding to participate in pitches, there may be less complaining about the process. After all, if you go into the process fully informed there is no excuse when it doesn’t go your way.

If you are a Managing Director or CEO or a creative, media, digital or marketing services provider and want to be consideration for pitches or tenders managed by TrinityP3 in Asia Pacific, click here to register your details confidentially and free.