When I talk with agencies about RSW/US new business development/lead gen services, RFPs do enter the conversation, but I always throw out this caveat: our agency new business strategy does not include chasing RFPs for our agency clients.
Does that mean we ignore them?
No, because we know there are some clients and some sectors where RFPs make sense, and where agencies find success.
But for all the reasons we know-the incumbent’s waiting in the wings, it’s typically a cattle call and the man hours and money add up quickly, our goal isn’t to chase RFPs.
And if part of your agency new business strategy is chasing RFPs, and you’re chasing your “agency tail,” think about this recent stat:
An RFP on average takes one person more than 22 hours – half a business week.
This is taken from a recent study by DigiDay and programmatic direct software provider AdSlot, studying the transactional costs of RFPs.
(A caveat here-their study was focused on digital media planning RFPs, so take that into account. )
But certainly from our experience at RSW/US, we’ve spoken to principles spanning multiple agency types who’ve spent well over that amount of time on an RFP, so regardless of the type of agency or RFP, suffice to say they can take an exorbitant amount of time and money away from your agency.
Here’s how they broke out the 22+ plus hours for reference:
• 5.3 hours on preplanning
• 4.2 hours on campaign planning
• 4.0 hours on flighting
• 5.3 hours on maintenance
• 3.3 hours post-campaign
If part of your agency strategy is hunting for RFPs and it’s not bringing you success, take the above breakout and create your own based on the last RFP you didn’t win.
Then think about how you could have applied that time and money towards creating new business content, updating your case studies or reaching out to that prospect you let go cold last month.
Do RFP’s have their place? Yes.
Are they the best path for your agency?