In the lean organization – which describes most agencies and professional services firms – pitch teams are made up of top performers. And those performers have full-time jobs outside of the pitch team.
It’s reality. But it might be a big reason why your win rate isn’t what you want it to be.
This article in HBR offers perspective. It says:
[Leaders] create an environment that undermines focus. The products of knowledge work are creativity, ideas, decisions, information, and communication. All of these require extended periods of sustained focus. However, many offices have a culture in which all communication, regardless of the subject or source, carries the same level of presumed urgency and is expected to produce an immediate response.
Too often we ask our best people to work on new business pitches that have very short timelines. That’s creating urgency. At the same time, they have to provide excellent service and thinking to their current clients. That’s also urgent. Equally so, it will seem.
When we can’t satisfy every simultaneous urgent need, we’re forced to make choices. The right choice has to be, most often, to meet the objectives of our current clients. The new business pitch has to be lower priority. And that means the pitch gets less attention. It’ll showed up in the quality of the solution or the quality of the pitch. Either one makes it harder to win.
Successful pitching requires enough bench strength to turn these pitch or current client urgencies over to others without taking away focus from either.
Or, choose to pitch less. Pitching requires you to meet deadlines and provide deliverables you don’t control. You have other more proactive – and more controllable – activities that can grow your revenue. Putting emphasis on those will allow you to get more productivity from your strongest people, even when they are required to provide excellence for your current clients.
You’ll pitch less, win more, and grow business.
- Bob Wiesner