Both clients and agencies need to be brave when managing a pitch process. Clients need to say no if agencies try and squeeze last minute onto pitch lists –a well planned pitch does not need last minute additions.
Agencies need to be brave and firm with clients and push back if there is little clarity in or the brief is poor or if timescale are too tight or indeed too protracted.
Clients should feel confident that it’s OK to eliminate agencies along the way if they really don’t have a chance – it’s not an imperative to finish with three or four agencies, when you are sure it will be one of two. It’s fine to consider cutting down the pitch list to two after say, the tissue session if it feels like the right decision.
Clients need to be able to say no to an agency and not feel bad about it. If the incumbent agency is not in with an equal fighting chance then it’s perfectly acceptable not to invite them to re-pitch, you will end up saving them a lot of time and money.
Also, there may be alternative ways of pitching that could be more efficient and effective for the task in hand, seeking expert advice from a specialist who could advise on other options.
Remember always be principled and always challenge bad practice.