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4A’s Guidance | Agency Opportunity Screening Criteria 


Agencies can dramatically increase new business performance by learning to be more selective in the pursuit of client opportunities. The 4A’s new business committee has developed guidance “4A’s Opportunity Screening Criteria” that advises that just as clients screen out agencies to find the best fit, so should agencies screen clients. Learning how to discern a good opportunity from a bad opportunity early in the process can save your agency a great deal of time and money.

4A's new business committee recommends that all agencies develop and adhere to criteria for screening new business prospect opportunities. 

Most best-in-class agencies have screening guidelines that they use when qualifying an opportunity. The guidelines vary by agency, and each opportunity requires a case by case assessment, but having documented criteria and management buy-in to your agency’s screening criteria inculcates a process of formally assessing the merits of potential participation and maintaining adherence to your criteria.

Some agencies identify ideal client criteria that complement the agency’s core strengths. Other agencies evolve processes for gathering detailed and specific information about the opportunity. Regardless of the process your agency undertakes, it is helpful to screen carefully before committing agency resources.

Members of the 4A’s new business committee recommend that you develop criteria for screening new business opportunities because:

  • New business activities are important and costly financially and emotionally
  • Focused efforts are more likely to be successful
  • There are more types of reviews (AOR, project, digital, PR, global, etc.) than ever before.
  • Not all business is worth having. 

To help you get started the committee’s “4A’s Opportunity Screening Criteria” guidance includes examples of criteria that are being used by leading agencies.

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