“The CEO “has” to be there. The director of strategy, too. The head account person, of course. The creative director and the team that did the work being presented (for ad agencies.) The media director, as well. The digital specialist (to show that the agency is part of the modern world). And finally, the team of people that will work on the account (because the client asked for that).Pretty soon that adds up to a lot of people . . . and a formula for failure.
An effective new business presentation needs to be executed like a Broadway play. And putting together a good play with so many people in just a few days is nearly impossible.
Plus, with so many “players” on the stage (and everyone has to have a speaking part or it’s really weird), it makes the presentation far longer than it needs to be . . . and pushes it over the allotted time.
The best Broadway plays have only 2-4 main characters and so should all new business presentations.
And who should be on the pitch team . . . the rule is: only the best actors go on stage. Titles aren’t relevant. Neither is the “team that will work on the business” (yes, a “switch” may have to be done later. And that won't be easy. But, it’s a problem only the winner has.)”
In my opinion, Rob is spot on… with the exception of the final sentence (which I’ll get to in a minute). Our experience as an agency, has led us to believe that ultimately it’s truly all about who are the “A list” players from your agency who can present with a flair, be articulate and come across as incredibly smart and knowledgeable about the prospect’s issues. Those players also have to be the best at creating chemistry with prospects. These are “the actors” (as Rob wrote) who need to lead the most important new business presentations taking place across your agency.I also agree that too many cooks in this kitchen (meaning within a new business presentation) can create an awkward environment where as many as half of them have almost no role and just come across as seeming clueless or shy by the prospects. It also dilutes the presentation if the parts are split between six or seven people versus having the best presenters take on large roles, where they can really shine.
To Rob’s point about not needing the team to be in the room….our agency has wrestled with this issue. Unless the prospect asks, we don’t include the entire team who would work on the business in the presentation. That just isn’t necessary and often hurts the pitch. But, most prospects want to (at a minimum) understand who their day to day account lead will be. By leaving that person out of the meeting, you’re often asking for trouble because the question will come up. I don’t think we’ve found the perfect solution. But, what we’ve tried to do is always have that person in the meeting….even if he/she isn’t a great presenter. If that’s the case, we’ll make sure that a limited, but important, role is given to that account lead in the presentation so that it doesn’t hurt our efforts, but ensures that the prospects do see we have a bright, energetic executive that they will be dealing with.My guess is that most agencies have yet to find the silver bullet way of presenting. Would love to hear anyone’s experiences or views on this topic.