Agency leaders make tougher demands before pitching claims research

PR and comms agency leaders are prepared to be tough when asking prospects to confirm the budget before pitching for business according to the latest PR and Comms Agency Growth Tracker run by research firm The Pulse Business.

Which one of these, if any, has improved the way you pitch for new business?

Key findings

  • 38% said confirming a clear budget with prospects ahead of the pitch process has improved the way they handle new business.
  • 31% said choosing to work with businesses/people they genuinely like and believe in is their go-to qualifier.
  • The results indicate that agencies should be empowering themselves and see off any potential beauty parade.

Agencies demand respect

One senior agency director shared: “We took the opportunity during the pandemic to review our client roster. We let go of several clients that were difficult and/or unreasonable to work with and we immediately improved team morale and ultimately profitability. We now apply a much more rigorous process when considering taking on new clients. If there is a brief or values or mismatch, we simply walk away.”

Another managing director stated their approach was to follow a rigorous process that roots out the prospects who are time wasters. 25% of the respondents had the same view. This managing director said in no uncertain terms: “Time wasters are not people who won’t buy - they are people who won’t buy from your agency. Knowing when you win, and more importantly when you don’t, is the most important step to ensuring you give maximum effort to the opportunities you can win by eliminating the ones you are going to lose.”

Finally, this international PR agency director expressed their frustration: “Many new prospects ask for grandiose objectives and lots of PR activities but at the end of the day, it turns out they barely have the budget for a minimal PR campaign; however they want/ask for a whole retainer (one year of activities!).”

Pitches get more perfect

The results of this Pulse were encouraging in terms of capturing a step change in the industry. PR and comms agencies are looking for reassurances from prospects that they are respectable businesses to partner with before embarking on a lengthy pitch process. Working with people you like and believe in shouldn’t just be aspirational. It should be de facto."

Methodology

The PR and Comms Agency Growth Tracker spoke to c200 PR and comms agency CEOS based in the UK.

Written by Imogen Osborne, founder of The Pulse Business

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