Leadership may come from the top, but it has to be a skill of everyone on a pitch-winning team

So, you’re pitching. You’ve analysed your chances of winning, you know you want it, you’ve jumped expertly through the required hoops and you’ve made it onto the final pitch list. Congratulations! Now, for that final, crucial hurdle: winning… Pitch-winning teams have at least one thing in common: leadership. This doesn’t mean one person making all the decisions or taking all the responsibility. It means a team of people who understand their roles, lead their individual teams, take responsibility for their decisions and have the discipline and drive it takes to win. Pitch teams that demonstrate strong leadership skills exude it in all their behaviour as individuals and as a team, both internally and externally. They commit fully to the pitch – everything else comes second. They are brave and confident in their work and ability, unafraid to push for better. They are strong communicators, motivate and empower their juniors and support their peers. They are decisive and take responsibility for those decisions. They do not give up. They go above and beyond in delivering, both for their team and for the client. These skills are applied at every stage of the pitch, from the first client contact to the post-pitch…

Client Relationships – The Most Valuable Asset of All

Every day we build relationship equity with our clients. For the Client Team it’s the most important part of their job. If we build equity, we build value. If we build value, we can get a return on it. Typically that return is the form of additional business. Winning new business from existing clients is always going to be more profitable growth than winning new business from new clients. Moreover you’re 5x more likely to win from your existing clients. Even so, there are many reasons why Client Teams often fail to realise these relatively ‘easy-win’ revenue opportunities.   One common reason is that we can all be a bit “English” about New Business, thinking that selling is a dirty word and we don’t want to rock the boat – head down and just deliver the project.  It is actually both professional and expected in some cases, to ask a client for more business. One thing you can be sure of is that if you’re not asking for it, then another agency will be. In our experience, Client Teams already have a good working knowledge of where more business can be extracted from their clients. However, if this isn’t written…

New Business – is it really everyone’s business?

jfdi has met with several agencies recently that share a similar problem: they have one individual tasked with generating new business opportunities. Regardless of the size or stature of the agency, this is some responsibility, especially given the current market. Whilst pitching takes a huge amount of effort and time from everyone (not to mention the cost), an opportunity to win a new client also inspires and motivates teams, builds relationships and, if the agency wins, improves morale, confidence and in turn, future success. This is a big ask from just one or two individuals. Another trend we’ve noticed is agencies handing the task of new business to a senior client service employee who understands client related issues. If this same client service person has little or no recent new business experience, then their task just got even more difficult. Effective new business isn’t rocket science. If anything it’s an art. But it does require a lot of effort. An agency definitely needs someone to lead New Business, to have an eye on the long game, to be the first port of call for potential clients and generally keep the marketing wheels in motion. But the responsibility for generating real…

How to Create Pitch-Winning Stories

“I know nothing in the world that has as much power as a word.  Sometimes I write one, and I look at it, until it begins to shine.”  Emily Dickinson Stories can help us to connect to others at a deep, almost primeval level through the power of their emotional energy.  And stories are the narrative architecture formed by words. Words captivate and influence our emotions; they have stirred nations to triumph and instil hope.  Used carelessly, they cause disappointment or worse still, wreak havoc.  Every relationship we build starts with an interaction, with words.  For us in new business, as in all spheres of our professional life, honing our communications skills, mindful of the extraordinary power of words, is an invaluable talent to nurture.  By being imaginative and playful with words and thus stories, we build our credibility, trust and powers of persuasion.  Facts alone are dry, uninteresting and easily forgettable, but stories we remember. How to create a pitch-winning story. Simply put, a story is about the transformation of a character, the hero, as he or she is tested through the unfolding of a series of challenges and struggles in the endeavour to achieve a particular goal.  The…

How to be a pitch-winning leader

How to be a pitch-winning leader The holy trinityPerfect timing. I’ve recently emerged from a roller coaster pitch ride, ready to impart a snapshot of my learning. As a seasoned pitch veteran, what my experience has taught me is this: there is a holy trinity of successful pitch skills, namely leadership, talent and process. Along the way, I’ve found that some things remain the same, yet each client, brand and agency team presents a series of unique and exciting challenges. The holy trinity is, however, a constant. ProcessWhat remains the same? To a large degree, this is the process itself. We’re talking about nailing the schedule of events, the all-important ‘to-do’ list. It ranges from knowing and analysing the brief well enough to recite it in your sleep, to timetabling deadlines for all the deliverables- and sticking to them. For some, this is a learning curve, but once you’ve successfully navigated the curve, next time up, the journey should be smoother. TalentTalent – intellectual and creative, is embedded in an agency’s DNA. The fine art of pitching demands that this collective talent is applied to what is often a business issue not encountered before, and that insights are gleaned rapidly…

Pitch Perfect

Pitch PerfectHow to be a pitch-winning leader The holy trinityPerfect timing. I’ve recently emerged from a roller coaster pitch ride, ready to impart a snapshot of my learning. As a seasoned pitch veteran, what my experience has taught me is this: there is a holy trinity of successful pitch skills, namely leadership, talent and process. Along the way, I’ve found that some things remain the same, yet each client, brand and agency team presents a series of unique and exciting challenges. The holy trinity is, however, a constant. ProcessWhat remains the same? To a large degree, this is the process itself. We’re talking about nailing the schedule of events, the all-important ‘to-do’ list. It ranges from knowing and analysing the brief well enough to recite it in your sleep, to timetabling deadlines for all the deliverables- and sticking to them. For some, this is a learning curve, but once you’ve successfully navigated the curve, next time up, the journey should be smoother. TalentTalent – intellectual and creative, is embedded in an agency’s DNA. The fine art of pitching demands that this collective talent is applied to what is often a business issue not encountered before, and that insights are gleaned…

Pitch Perfection

The holy trinity Perfect timing. I’ve recently emerged from a roller coaster pitch ride, ready to impart a snapshot of my learning. As a seasoned pitch veteran, what my experience has taught me is this: there is a holy trinity of successful pitch skills, namely leadership, talent and process. Along the way, I’ve found that some things remain the same, yet each client, brand and agency team presents a series of unique and exciting challenges. The holy trinity is, however, a constant. Process What remains the same? To a large degree, this is the process itself. We’re talking about nailing the schedule of events, the all-important ‘to-do’ list. It ranges from knowing and analysing the brief well enough to recite it in your sleep, to timetabling deadlines for all the deliverables- and sticking to them. For some, this is a learning curve, but once you’ve successfully navigated the curve, next time up, the journey should be smoother. Talent Talent – intellectual and creative, is embedded in an agency’s DNA. The fine art of pitching demands that this collective talent is applied to what is often a business issue not encountered before, and that insights are gleaned rapidly which then inform…