5 steps to preparing and delivering the perfect pitch for a new Digital Agency
It’s now that time of year when Marketing professionals are typically starting to consider how to get the best out of their Marketing budget for the upcoming new year. Maybe you think it’s time to outsource some activities to a Digital Agency, or maybe you are not convinced by the results you are getting and want to change service providers?
Either way, you’ll need to present your arguments to the Senior Leadership Team.
We know from our own experiences from our corporate days how nerve-racking this can be!
“Will they think I’m suggesting outsourcing because I’m not coping?”
“What if I don’t get consensus from the table?”
“What if my budget criteria isn’t fixed yet?”
This article is a guide to preparing and delivering a great pitch for a new Digital Agency.
Know and understand your stakeholders
When you are a Director or Head of Department, you are the subject matter expert in the room. It’s therefore down to you to think about how to explain what you want to happen in a language and format that they will relate to.
- Identify who needs to be involved in the decision to change
- Consider how much knowledge they have on the subject of Digital Marketing
- Find out what they feel about Digital Marketing
- Consider what excites and motivates them
- Think about their learning style – are they visual thinkers, do they like to sit back and listen, or do they prefer a hands on, workshop style of approach?
- Understand the levels of sign-off (who is the ultimate decision-maker)
You don’t have to blurt out your thoughts and plans at this stage – you are seeking out casual conversations that give you the opportunity to lobby a little, whilst listening and understanding where they are coming from on the subject of Digital Marketing.
Proper preparation prevents p*** poor performance
When you are preparing your pitch to your peers and your boss(es), it’s best to keep things simple so that you don’t get side-tracked down a rabbit hole that chews up your floor-time.
- What are the company’s marketing objectives? (Leads, Brand recognition, Reputation…?)
- What’s the business problem to be solved / opportunity to be realised?
- So what? How does this impact the business?
- How can a Digital Marketing Agency solve this? (Save time, money …?)
- What are the stakeholder motivations? (Risk profile, Ego, Financial success, Transparency…?)
- Are your stakeholders’ motivations aligned?
Business decisions are generally made on strong financial arguments. So, to help achieve alignment, make sure that the potential Return on Investment is clear, along with the roadmap to delivering it.
Avoid jargon. Be careful not to patronise your audience either. Focus on the key issues, the opportunity to improve, the options available, and how your preferred solutions resolve the problem or realise the opportunity. And don’t forget to state the outcome that you are looking to achieve. (you’d be amazed how often people forget to ask for what they want at the end of a presentation!)
Prepare your presentation based on your observations about learning styles, particularly of the key decision-maker. Make your main points on the slides of your presentation, and bring colour and business relevance to those headlines in your speech. Keep the detail for when answering specific questions raised, or for a handout after you’ve finished speaking. As an example, at WSI Digital Advisors, we usually write what we want to say, and then design our slides to either introduce or illustrate the key points we want to be heard.
Remember, you want your stakeholders to want to hire a Digital Agency, not to be left wondering if Tik-Tok is a good platform for the business!
Answering the “Why?”
Not everyone in the room will have felt your pain, or will be seeing the opportunity you can see, so a key question to answer is “Why do a need a (or need to change our) Digital Agency?”
When you are the Marketing subject matter expert, it often feels patently obvious why you need agency support. You may want to tap into their broader experience of best practise. You may be looking to buy in a certain skillset you are missing within your team. You may see an opportunity to manage costs more effectively.
The bad news is, “I want to outsource because my team are struggling” just won’t cut it.
The key points to get across are …
- The value in taking on specialists in a particular marketing activity. An agency will have experts in each of Websites, SEO, Paid Search, Content Marketing and Email marketing as well as building Digital Strategy – their experts will have a much deeper knowledge of their specialist channel than a small generalist in house marketing team can hope to have. Agency experts will have worked with multiple teams across a number of industries so really understand the art of the possible.
- The value of investing cost in an external team of experts. Business leaders often think that hiring in house is always cheaper, so many are surprised at the quality and range of services you can secure for less than the typical cost of an intern. If you are comparing the costs of hiring in house vs using specialist agency resources part time, don’t forget to include pensions, benefits, recruiter costs, software licenses and training costs as well as salary.
You may think it’s hard to argue the case for outsourcing or changing agency because your budget has been cut in light of difficult trading. Not so! Be bold – companies who spend wisely on marketing during recession pull back more quickly when times get better.
Answering the naysayers
There is bound to be someone in the room who will raise objections, so how do you handle them?
Objections to be prepared for normally boil down to ….
? What will it cost?
? What are the risks involved?
? How long does it take to get results?
? How much extra admin is involved for us?
? The last digital agency was a disaster, how will this one be different?
? How can they understand us if they aren’t in house?
Take time to predict the objections (and whether there will be a follow up objection), for example…
Objection – How do we know they’ll deliver if we’re not managing them day to day?
Objection – How can we be sure we’ll get ROI by outsourcing?
Response – We could run a pilot for 6 months and review the results at the end of the trial period?
Choosing your Digital Agency
There are plenty to choose from, so how do you choose the digital agency that is right for your business?
- Process – do they have an established process, or do they seem to be making it up as they go along?
- Experience – do they have experience in a cross section of industries? New thinking often comes from experiences in other sectors applied to new industries.
- Channels – are you looking for a point solution, or an agency who can help you see the bigger picture?
- Results – do their case studies and testimonials meet your expectations?
- Culture – do they fit with your company culture?
Why WSI Digital Advisors?
We have both held senior roles in businesses before crossing over the divide into Digital Marketing. So, we understand how it works in the Boardroom, and are ready to step in and advise / support during the times our clients need it. We are not simply service providers.
Our experience comes from hands on operations in digital, as well as from the broad cross-section of customers that we service today. Also, of course, we love showing off our testimonials and awards on our site and social media!
If this article has resonated with you, why not contact us for a no commitment chat.