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Mr. Mark Schnurman

Follow-Up Thoughts on Bringing Junior Staff to Pitches

After some spirited blogging on the topic of bringing day-to-day staff to pitches, there are three points that bubble up to the surface.
First – While it may seem obvious, bring people to pitches that present well. Everyone agrees that poor-presenting junior staff should not go to pitches, but agencies would be well served to make their senior staff clear the same high-bar that they set for the junior staff. Do not expect prospective clients to be able to see through poor communication skills to see the genius that is your poor-presenting VP.
Second – The bar is lower for junior staff.  When a VP gets up at a pitch and does a great job, the VP does not exceed the prospective client's expectations. Prospects expect to be wowed by VP-level staff. When a junior person gets up and does a great job, they exceed the prospect's expectations.  In addition, the prospect now thinks that every junior level person is as smart as the one that just presented. Make their part easy (perhaps the industry overview) but give them a chance to shine.
Third - If they (junior staff) attend, they talk. While it may be tempting to bring a junior person to the pitch but not give him or her a speaking part, think about the message that this sends to the prospective client. The only message that the prospect can take away from this is that while you are happy to bill the prospect 100% for this person, you do not trust the junior person enough to talk at the presentation. Not the message you want to send to a client. While we are on the topic, make sure to give the junior person a part that is five-or-so minutes long. Most presenters get better after the initial nervousness. If the part is too short, the client will only get to see them at their most nervous.
I am not suggesting loading up pitch teams with junior staff, but it may be smart to bring one or two people that will working with the client on a daily basis. They will need some coaching and plenty of time to prepare (no changing their part at the last minute), but the energy that they bring to the pitch may very well help you win.

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5 minutes

Good point on the "five-or-so minutes long" part. I've noticed once or twice that if the part is too short, it just feels like there's no commitment to the presenter. Like you didn't trust them with real material. Doesn't play well.
Posted by Jeffrey Warman (Monday, September 14, 2009 5:03 PM)

Junior Staff

If the junior staff member is a rising star and you can feel their energy - take them. Otherwise, I agree, client sees them as an unnecessary expense.
Posted by Sid Peimer (Wednesday, December 22, 2010 9:35 AM)

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