I got an email the other day or a comment on a blog that I had written called Why Agencies Shouldn’t Respond to Client RFP’s. It came from an agency owner with a smart idea.
When he receives an RFP from a client he sends them his agency’s RFP questionnaire. He couldn’t share it but I have drafted my version.
Many agencies get frustrated by responding to client RFP’s whose only intention is to satisfy some procurement requirement for a regular review of their vendors by clients going through the motions to walk the corporate life.
In the New Normal Agencies no longer go out and buy a new prom dress when they receive an RFP today.
Now I believe that some client RFP’s are very legitimate. I have sent out a number on behalf of clients when I am doing a search. I think if you get one from a review consultant it generally means the client has some skin in the game and realize they need outside expertise because they aren’t up to date on the changing agency landscape. Or their frantic work lives don’t allow enough time to add the time burden of conducting their own search.
Many clients have kids that need baths and soccer lessons and books to read and tuck to put away with kisses.
I recently got a letter from a destination agency in Texas. He was talking about how they liked smaller clients with potential and his assessment of his win percentage was that it was much better when a consultant was involved.
Now if you get contacted by a search consultant who wants to get compensated for including your agency you should move on. There is no doubt that they are a Shylock and I am glad I was awake in grade 10 in Canada when we studied the Merchant of Venice.
My new agency friend shared with the intriguing client questionnaire ide said that that strategy had paid off with a higher win percentage and weeding out prospects who think that agencies are a free public service.
I started to think about what questions I would ask.
Why are you doing this review?
Is this review mandated by your procurement department as a regular review of vendors?
Do you consider your agency a vendor or a partner?
Will you incumbent agency be participating in the review?
What has been their revenue for the past three years? Can you document that if we sign an NDA?
Will you be requiring the agency to prepare spec creative for the presentation? If yes will you be compensating us? If not can you provide an equivalent amount of product or services from your firm for free that matches the time we will spend on this pitch and document with time sheets?
How much authority do you have within your company? Can you select the agency? Can you pull the trigger?
What are the names and titles and e mail addresses of the people that will be involved in the review? Are they involved on a day to day basis with the advertising and marketing process or are they included for internal political reasons?
Will the selection of the agency be made by a Committee or the Marketing Department?
Do you provide written briefings for you agencies and direction on projects?
Has the history of your company on evaluating creative been I will know when I see it or a focused direction working off an agreed to strategy?
What is your budget? Not how much do you spend but how much do you pay your agency? Can your CFO provide that documentation to our agency’s CFO?
Does your company have a documented business or marketing plan or is your company just tactical and responding to changing market conditions?
Will your company’s CEO meet with our CEO twice a year?
What kind of timelines do you give your agencies to execute projects?
Do you believe in a retainer or project approach to compensation? If you embrace only a project approach what level of revenue can you promise the agency so they can staff accordingly?
And my last question. Why should I respond to this RFP?
When our agency receives your response we will consider responding within 48 hours.
Have a good day.
Now you have your own fun.
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