Pitch imperfect: Rethinking the pitch process

The classic pitch process can be challenging for agencies and marketers alike. Dropbox Paper can help team build the perfect pitch – and present it with ease.

It’s well-known that a pitch for new business is perhaps the most demanding period any agency can go through. Time spent communicating with the prospective client, researching their business, and developing a rigorous, buyable response, often takes the most senior resources in an agency away from paid for or retainer work.

But for in-house marketers too, sending a Request For Proposal (RFP) out to interested agencies, shortlisting respondents, and liaising with them up until the final drumroll is increasingly proving an ineffectual method that’s equally time-consuming.

So, is there a better way to facilitate the traditional agency pitch process? Several models have grown in popularity in recent years.

The two-day turnaround is an exciting pitch model, which truncates the typically weeks-long process into a 48-hour period. Once shortlisted, agencies are briefed and given 48 hours to come back and present their response. The strengths of this model is that it gives marketers a more realistic snapshot of their prospective agency’s ability – most projects after all have much shorter lead times than the length of a traditional pitch process. Responses are rawer, perhaps a little less polished, but that’s OK – thinking quick and lowering each other’s guards is the winning ingredient here.

Taking advantage of these more modern pitch processes requires a rethink of how colleagues collaborate quickly and more efficiently.

Addressing one half of the equation, agencies and marketers can consider reducing the size of teams responsible for the pitch. There’s a natural tendency to get excited about new business and for pitch teams to swell as a result. However, limiting pitch teams to 2-4 people keeps them nimble, avoids crossed wires, provides just enough voices to guide one another and not enough to bamboozle – which all in all, speeds up the ability to respond.

If the first half of an overhaul is about talent, the second is about reassessing the tools which allow teams to turn around and assess a pitch faster. Cloud-based collaboration tools such as Dropbox Paper offer team members a nimbler alternative to the clunky collaboration afforded by server-based files.

Each time member can contribute and comment in real-time, speeding up the pace at which doodles make it to the final deck – or foregoing it entirely. Dropbox Paper includes a presentation mode which makes the team’s thinking much more presentable and reduces the time needed to be spend creating presentation decks. Paired with video calling services, cloud-based storage, survey tools and prototyping software, tools like these can dramatically speed up the pace of a pitch.