Upfront recently ran a seminar on 'How to make your agency more attractive to Procurement' presented by Tina Fegent.
There has been much industry debate about the involvement of Procurement in marketing services, but the fact remains that they are here, and here to stay.
As a business development agency we have had to adapt our approach to certain brands where Procurement have a strong influence on the new business process. We felt that the most value would be to provide some insights to help bridge the gap between agencies and Procurement.
These are some of the fantastic tips and insights that Tina provided. Tina is uniquely place to offer consultancy here, having worked client side heading up Procurement teams for the likes of O2, GSK and Orange, and importantly also having worked agency side for Grey and Lowe London.
Top 10 hints in dealing with Procurement
1) Accept & respect their role
They are human after all and are just doing their job as you are.
2) Appoint an opposite number to be their point of contact
Have one person in your agency that is aware of all the client procurement activity and can share learning’s across all the accounts
3) Be transparent in your dealings with them
They are by nature and by training suspicious, don’t make it worse by giving them lump sums of fees with no commercial framework as to how you have calculated the fee
4) Push back if you are feeling bullied
If you feel that you are being treated unfairly and perhaps unethically, then talk to your Marketing client about it
5) Always try to get Purchasing & Marketing at the same meetings
Especially on the first meeting, it is important to see the interaction between them both
6) Educate them on what you do
Ask them to sit with a you for the day. They will really appreciate how hard all agencies work for their clients and aid their learning as to the breadth and depth of work that you may do for the marketing client.
7) Ask their help to improve processes between the client & you
Improving efficiencies is a time and money benefit to both sides. Who wants 20 rounds of amendments?
8) Talk measurement & effectiveness with them
Encourage the client to invest in measuring the ROI of their marketing campaign.
9) Provide regular financial reconciliations on fees and costs
You must have a regular review meeting with client procurement to review the commercial framework
10) Invest in Relationship Management tools
Whether you have a client satisfaction survey yourself or use a third party like Aprais or Relationship Audits and Management. 360 degree feedback is vital
Top 10 hints in replying to a tender
1) Always follow the instructions in the tender
Meet the deadlines and give them what they have asked for
2) Answer all the questions in the correct sequence
For example questions 1 to 5 are set up in the way that they should be answered – 1 to 5. It annoys Procurement when agencies don't follow the instructions.
3) Make your reply interesting & readable
If the client has to read through 8 documents of 50 pages each, you want yours to stand out. Use bullet points and pictures
4) Don’t provide flippant answers
Agencies must strike the balance of being keen for the contract but not over familiar.
5) Sell yourself but not too egotistically!
Marketing like the Creative Awards and Procurement like the IPA Effectiveness Awards – ensure you cover both off
6) Always always prof red the docment
Yes this is a deliberate typo but it is surprising how many agencies don’t do this and use the find and replace tool and don’t check it!
7) Be proactive & provide extra information as an appendix
You should not get penalised for that.
8) Ask questions through the tender process
You may be getting scored on it. It is great to be able to validate your thinking on the commercials with the procurement client
9) Provide alternative choices on the fee
We work in a creative world and often the fee proposals are all the same. Let’s go for real risk and reward
10) Be honest, open & transparent
This is important from the very start of the relationship.
Top 5 tips on how to negotiate
1) Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
Don’t spend 1 hour before the meeting agreeing your strategy. Plan for it.
2) Know your objectives, arguments & concessions
What can you give away, what do you really want?
3) Be proactive
Invest options – use ‘if’ – using ‘if’ allows you to different avenues that may lead to a more profitably outcome
4) Give yourself some alternatives
What is your minimum and what is your maximum fee that you want – have it worked out – have the choices and know the options
5) Reach a fair agreement for both sides
Everyone wants to work on accounts where the work works and the agency makes a profit. It is about being fair and equal on both sides.