As the new year begins, so too does the pitching season. The annual marketing shuffle comes around at the start of every year. Just as everyone is deciding to shake up their career and jump ship.
Whilst the circle of life continues, there is one thing you can do to give your agency the winning edge this year. Get pitch ready.
By preparing in advance you increase your odds of success and avoid the inevitable spike in workload. Get the following 7 things right, and you’ll be off to a flying start.
1. Get your creds right.
A creds deck tells clients what you do, how you do it and how you can help them. It should give them confidence in your business and let them know how they can engage you. Start by developing a clear presentation that outlines:
- the problem you solve,
- how you solve it,
- provide proof you can do what you say, and
- outline the process for getting started.
Having a good creds deck gives you something to present whenever a new business opportunity comes up. It also develops your way of talking about the business and gives you something interesting to say at family BBQs.
You can find some more tips for building pitch winning presentations here.
2. Build case studies for everything.
Getting case studies from your team can be a painful experience. This is often made harder by lack of a template, only using the best examples, and leaving the burden of writing case studies to more junior team members.
There are a few fixes that can help you generate more and better case studies:
- Include case studies as a requirement in commercial agreements.
- Realise that you don’t always need outstanding work, often just proof of capabilities.
- Expect a case study from every client once per quarter, including testimonials.
- Provide teams with a template and only require key pieces of information.
- Encourage teams to use results from quarterly and annual business reviews.
- Have an experienced team member and copywriter complete the finished version.
There are two important things to recognise here:
Much of the work you do every day is good. These case studies can act as crucial evidence that you get the basics right in a pitch.
You can’t expect the team to re-invent the wheel every time. Without a standardised process, you will get low quality or mixed results.
3. Think about awards now.
Every year around September you look at the awards entries in front of you and scratch your head figuring out what to shoehorn into an entry.
Do yourself a favour. Look at last years award-winning entries now and think about what you can do that would meet the criteria and snag you a victory. Do it now, thank us later.
4. Develop standard slides.
Establishing your “essential” slides for presentations will save you valuable hours when pitching. There are a few you should create ahead of time to get you into a winning position:
- The problem narrative (explanation of the problem you solve)
- Process slides
- Product / service explanations
- Process diagrams
- Section dividers & structure slides
- Tables and bullet points
If you have a well-designed template, you’ll likely have the key structural and information design slides. If not, you might want to read through the following guide to designing beautiful presentations:
5. Standardise your pricing
How many times have you come to the final stages of your pitch only to realise you haven’t worked out pricing? The result is often a half-hearted approach that doesn’t take into account the suggestions you’ve included in your pitch.
The solution is to establish a clear pricing model ahead of time. By entering these into a spreadsheet it’s possible to turn a checklist into a dynamic pricing table. This provides consistency between clients and reduces the risk of getting it wrong.
6. Develop your products.
Many people wouldn’t consider product development to be part of the pitching process. Those people are wrong.
Where you go into a pitch without anything unique to show for your business you blend in with the crowd and can appear unsophisticated.
But having well developed products doesn’t have to be complicated. By establishing and optimising a clear process you’re already ahead of those who scramble through every project. Once you have a process, you need to articulate it in a clear and simple way that shows your expertise.
Whilst there is more to product development than simply articulating process, this is a great starting point if you’re not sure where to begin. To find out how you can develop unique products for your business, get in touch here.
7. Find outsource partners.
At some point this year, anyone who works in an agency will wonder how on earth they’re going to manage all the extra work they’ve just landed.
If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to juggle workloads for 3 months without losing any staff or clients whilst you scour the earth. For many though, it makes sense to work with freelancers or agency partners to take on the extra load whilst you expand. This removes a great deal of risk from the growth process.
You can start by building a list of freelance contacts now and test them on some minor projects to establish a list of trusted partners. Alternatively, you can work with a service like Pitch. At Pitch we white-label digital marketing services, offering access to experienced professionals in Australia, giving you breathing space to build up your own team.
The start of the year can often be quiet as clients slowly return to work. It’s a great opportunity to use the calm before the storm and get ready to smash your goals in the year ahead. Businesses that get pitch ready now can put themselves in a great position to grow in the year ahead.
To find out more about Pitch and the support services we offer for marketing businesses, get in touch.