September 25, 2018

Pitching And Efficient B2B Agency Selection

Freestyle founder Alan Cooper reveals useful insights for B2B businesses when choosing a new agency partner at pitch stage.

Pitching is a complex journey, especially for B2B agencies. It can also be a rather lengthy, intricate, and costly process. Agencies can burn through tens of thousands of pounds on a pitch with no certain outcome.

In a presentation at the December Figaro Digital B2B Marketing Spotlight, our founder, Alan Cooper opened the lid on the best and worst practices “before, during and after the pitch.”

Pitching for B2B versus B2C clients is different; there’s more complexity, less readily available information and often caution when engaging with the agency early in the process. Agencies that understand B2B well will dig further into the client’s brief to identify the deeper challenges and likely solutions.

With that in mind, we’ve extracted the best pieces of advice for client-side marketers, to help make the pitch stage a more successful one, for both parties.

“[Forty-eight per cent] of agencies say that “lack of face-to-face time” with the client is one of the biggest challenges of the pitch process.” C&IT

Agency Pitch Takeaways:

1. Make sure the project is agreed and signed off. If you’re using the pitch as a business case, make sure the agency is aware.

2. Answer agencies’ questions. They often need to find out more details about the challenges you face.

3. Schedule face-to-face time with the agencies.

4. B2B pitching typically takes longer than B2C due to the complexity of the sector. For one of the world’s leading adhesive manufacturer, it took about nine months and resulted in an award-winning web ecosystem for one of the most important international adhesive companies.

5. Be more generous with your agency assumptions. There is less information available on B2Bs than there is on B2Cs.

6. Don’t bring the main decision maker late in the pitch.

7. B2B decisions are harder and often protracted.

8. We’re not afraid of “multiple stages” projects. Tell us what the format is up front and how you want to engage with us.

9. Provide as much information about your customers and audiences as possible. And be prepared to talk about them like B2Cs.

10. Embrace the fact that we need to drill into your products and services, more than we would with a household B2C brand.

11. B2B relationships often last longer than B2C ones. Look for agencies with long-standing relationships and stable staff.

12. If your audiences are highly complex, look for agencies that can demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of B2B customer experiences.

“If you don’t know the agency, they shouldn’t be in the room.” Citroen

Alan spoke at our B2B Spotlight: Digital Marketing Spotlight last year, you can watch his presentation here.