Looking for a new B2B marketing agency? You’re not alone. Fifty-nine percent of B2B marketing decision-makers are planning to increase outsourced services this year. And B2B organizations already spend more than 12% of their marketing program budgets on agency fees. In fact, agency fees are the largest percentage of B2B marketing program budgets. When B2B organizations get nervous about how much their agencies cost, they conduct agency reviews and start pressuring their existing agencies to lower their fees for the same level of services. And that often leads to RFIs, RFPs, and very costly — and dysfunctional — agency pitches.

The Broken Pitch Process Is Costly For Agencies And B2B Organizations

If you think it costs agencies a lot to run a pitch, you’re right. Forrester estimates that agencies collectively spend about as much on pitching new business as the entire annual revenues of one of the three largest agency holding companies. But pitches are expensive for B2B organizations, too, because the pitch process is broken.

Procurement-driven reviews disqualify good B2B marketing agencies with cost-only thinking. Marketers fail to prepare strategically for pitch processes, which results in poor choices. And all the chemistry meetings, pitch briefs, tissue sessions, final presentations, and fee negotiations take productivity offline and drown stakeholders in waves of information overload and analysis paralysis while trying to surface evidence of a good match in a sea of sameness.

Don’t Be Penny-Wise And Pound-Foolish With B2B Agency Reviews — Ditch The Pitch

The solution to the costly carousel of B2B marketing agency pitches is not only a new pitch model; it’s an entirely new approach. B2B organizations and agencies must ditch the pitch and replace the entire process with a partnership lifecycle approach. My colleague Jay Pattisall and I recently completed a research project and report detailing the broken agency selection process and the steps in the new approach. The approach helps organizations making agency decisions to prepare for and select agency partnerships in back-to-back three-week sprints and to manage agencies through onboarding, running marketing programs, and periodic assessments for the years to come.

The report, called Ditch The Pitch, is available to Forrester clients with B2C marketing and select B2B marketing access. Forrester clients can learn more about the report and Forrester’s recommendations for agency selection and management, including forming hybrid in-house and external agency relationships, by scheduling a guidance session.