Some do it, some don’t, but every Agency should.
It can be sensitive to manage and communicate, it can be painful, but post pitch feedback is the medicine that can help an Agency heal following the emotional pain of discovering that you have lost a pitch. In short, it can make you better.
And isn’t that what we all want, to improve our performance both as individuals and as a team? After all, pitching presents us with a unique opportunity to showcase just what we’ve got – our thinking, our powers of persuasion, our creativity, our ability to connect at a deep emotional and intellectual level with the client. Pitching allows us to grow professionally, and demonstrate that we can win. Win a lot – and certainly far more often than we lose. If we don’t have the driving ambition to win, well maybe we’re in the wrong job.
Pitching devours resource, time and money, so when we lose, we need to recoup some of that loss if not in financial terms, in some other less immediately tangible way. That way has to be by applying the lessons we’ve learnt from our losing experience when we next enter the fray. This is why post pitch feedback is such a valuable and vital tool, although many agencies have no formal protocol in place for gathering feedback and insights from the client.
If the aim is to pitch and learn, a virtuous circle of improvement, you need to embed feedback into your pitch process. The more insights you glean, the easier it will be to identify themes and causes.
A few top line tips on how to go about it:
– Commit to doing it every time whether you win or lose. Ok, it’s easier when you’re dizzy with success, and there is much to learn from a winning performance. But when we land painfully in the aftermath of failure, I suspect we may learn rather more
– Create a consistent approach
– Secure feedback on the entire pitch experience from both the prospects and your own team
– Create a set of high gain questions
– Use an experienced, impartial person to conduct the feedback – you will get so much more value from it
– Write up the debrief and communicate the findings to the team. Most importantly, learn from it and act on it