RFP & Pitches – What You Need To Know
In simple terms, a Pitch is a when an agency competes with others in the same field to win the business of a company or organisation in the form of a contract. Agencies are either privately invited to participate in the process or the contract is openly advertised for other companies to submit their proposals.
A Request for Proposal (RFP) is the process in which an organisation essentially puts a need for a service up for auction by again, either advertising publicly or using an ‘invite only’ process. Vendors are able to bid for the entire campaign or certain divisions by submitting their response to the RFP requirements. RFPs are generally complex projects that involve stakeholders so the requirements can be extensive and take time to respond to, however the rewards are great for any business.
Current RFP landscape
RFPs in the current landscape are considerably more attainable for small agencies than they once were. They have evolved to be more time and cost efficient over the past decade with increasingly automated processes. The act of multi-sourcing is growing in popularity as it facilitates connections with ‘best in practice’ businesses, allowing healthy competition between industry leaders who showcase their expertise in different fields.
The time from proposal to signing off has decreased from 12 months to around 6 months due to general templates that are widely used & recognised. Shortlisting, occasional use of lawyers, and outsourcing buyers are some of the reasons that RFP’s take a considerable amount of time and resources.
RFP or Pitch?
Although primarily the go-to for government agencies to get the lowest possible bid, RFPs can be a great way to shop around for a media or digital agency when your business has a multifaceted campaign to implement. This is because RFP’s require specific, detailed bids in contrast to a stock standard form to fill out on a company’s website. RFP’s provide agencies with all the information they need to deliver a detailed strategic plan.
However, a Pitch is more common in the corporate sector where a company will initiate a pitch process that’s usually a scaled-down version of an RFP. Pitching doesn’t typically involve bidding either, corporate firms usually already have set service prices that will be included in their pitch.
Pitches are usually smaller scale with less money on the table compared to an RFP. That isn’t to say RFPs are more valuable, it just means they require more planning and time than pitches as there is a higher reward.
Both routes are valuable for building a reputation, showcasing your skills as a business and increasing your revenue. The verdict depends on how much time, money and people power you’re able and willing to invest to reap the rewards.