The right agency can revolutionise the way you work, but finding one that understands the inner workings of your business is tricky. A lot rides on this decision, so you need an RFP that makes the best prospective agencies take notice. But where do you start?
If you’re going to use RFPs, you’ve got to make sure they are clear, concise, and easy to respond to. A vague and time-consuming one will be as much of a waste of time for you as for the agencies.
Most agencies are selective about which RFPs they’re going to respond to.
On average, the average RFP win rate is 44%. Every RFP involves an average of 9 people to complete and takes about 6 to 20 days from start to completion. In fact, stressed teams spend 13 hours longer on RFPs.
With such daunting statistics, it’s natural to feel hesitant about getting started with an RFP. But how can you create one that will attract the right partner for your needs?
Here are ten things you want to get right in your pitch:
- What’s Your Story?
Give the agencies a backstory. Tell them about your business, including its history, sales performance, unique selling proposition (USP), key competitors, business objectives, and brand values.
Paint a vivid picture of your business, highlighting its unique strengths and aspirations.
- The Right Audience
Define your ideal customer as precisely as possible, including their demographics, psychographics, and behavioural data. Identify and consider the needs and interests of all other audiences who may be impacted by your brand, including trade partners, employees, shareholders, investors, government agencies, and the media.
- How Much Does It Cost?
Be specific about how you want vendors to respond to your budget. Do you need them to list every expense as a line item, or can they group costs? Should they include additional items that they think could enhance the project?
Providing a targeted budget helps you build trust with potential partners, avoids wasting time on solutions and gets you the best possible value for your money.
If your marketing budget is still under wraps, don’t keep your agencies in the dark. If you can’t share a budget, at least provide a not-to-exceed figure. Otherwise, you may be inundated with proposals that vary wildly in cost.
- Agency Portfolio
Talk about your current agency roster and how long you’ve worked with each agency. What are their specific roles in your marketing mix? Be constructive and provide specific feedback on what went wrong with your previous agencies so that the new agency can avoid making the same mistakes.
- Craft A Win-Win Pitch
What do you want to see on the day of the pitch?
Think about the key elements that you and your team need to assess in order to make a decision. This could include:
- The team that would work on the business
- A deep understanding of your brand and your market/audience
- A creative solution
- A communications plan
- A fair and reasonable remuneration proposal
If the pitch includes creative ideas, how polished do you want them to be? Tell applicants exactly what you want to see in their proposals and how you want them to submit them. Set clear expectations. Let applicants know which response formats are (and aren’t) okay.
- Brand Identity
Explicitly state what will set applicants apart. Add clear instructions for any mandatory brand identity requirements. Do you want an agency with experience in your specific industry or do you prefer a local agency? Is it important to you to hire a woman-owned company or a team with certain experiences?
Score the agencies based on the following factors:
- Chemistry: How well do you and your team click with the agency?
- Work style: Do their ways of working align with yours?
- Responsiveness: How quickly do they respond to your inquiries?
- Adaptability: Are they flexible enough to meet your changing needs?
- Sector experience: Do they have a proven track record in your industry?
- Your Project Goals
Challenge the agencies to think outside the box. Don’t tell the agencies what to do, tell them what you want to achieve.
When writing an RFP, it’s easy to get sidetracked by the specific solution you think you need. But it's important to remember that the agencies are the experts. Their job is to come up with the best solution to your problem.
Here are some examples:
- Instead of asking for a new website, ask for a way to increase your online leads.
- Instead of asking for a new marketing campaign, ask for a way to increase brand awareness.
- Primary Point-Of-Contact
Let the agencies know who they’ll be pitching to. Introduce your key personnel and share each person’s role in the decision-making process.
If any of your key personnel are available to talk to the agencies in advance of the pitch, be sure to provide contact information. This will give the agencies an opportunity to learn more about your business and your project, and to develop a deeper understanding of your needs.
By introducing your key personnel to the agencies, you'll set the stage for a successful pitch process.
- Open or Controlled Access?
Should agencies have open access to you and your team during the pitch, or should their access be controlled? If you choose open access, you need to designate a primary contact point to manage their communications and requests.
Controlled access can give you more control over the pitch process. For example, you can allocate a specific amount of time for Q&A, or you can schedule one-on-one meetings with each agency. This can be helpful if you have a lot of agencies pitching to you, or if you have concerns about confidentiality.
- Set A Clear Timeline
Be clear and realistic about your expectations for timing. Let the agencies know when you need new campaigns or activities to be ready, and give them enough time to deliver.
Provide details about the pitch date, time, and venue. Tell them who to contact to book their slot.
The more information you can provide, the better. This will help the agencies to prepare for the pitch and to ensure that they meet your expectations.
Attract top talent and inspiring ideas with a well-written RFP. Be clear, transparent, and communicative to build a foundation for a successful collaboration.
Need a fresh perspective? Let’s talk.
At 360 OM, we specialise in helping businesses take their marketing efforts to the next level. Our team stays on top of industry trends, uses data-informed optimisations to maximise your ROI, and provides full transparency through comprehensive reports.