Keeping a team motivated during a pitch

I'm not going to lie to you... the IPA New Business Speed Mentoring event we held on 12th October at Cheil felt like the longest and hardest job interview of my life. Hopefully I got through to the second round...

So many brilliant thought provoking questions were asked of the mentors so we thought it would be helpful to divvy up a selection, providing Networker with a smorgasbord of observations, fuelled by the mentees (and hopefully answers to a relative level of comprehension by the mentors...)

One question which kept coming up was our point of view on how to keep a team motivated during a pitch. Here's the rub... 

- New business is often an after-hours, 5-9 job

- It's never often as big a priority to a pitch team as it is to you

- There's a constant consternation between managing your day job as well as life in general (you know…the actual important stuff)'s my top 3 pointers from personal experience. I hope they're useful and would love to hear your feedback:

1) Work out what motivates people in the first place.

New business is often a brilliant opportunity for ambitious agency folk to get access/face time with senior staff. It may be a route to broaden experience. It might even be an opportunity to move off a piece of business or change department. We're all individuals and so are our motivations to understand the individual needs and keep this in mind throughout the pitch.

2) Get up close and personal.

You're asking a lot of people, so show you care. Often the smallest thing (offering to go and get lunch, pick up some dry cleaning, covering workload) can mean the most. Clients buy a high performing team far more than they buy a killer end-line or a well designed slide. Consider the softer side to your pitch...the side which shows you like one another and that you're as passionate about your team as you are about your clients business.

3) Articulate the transformational affect of a pitch win.

We'd be foolish to think that money isn't the main reason the client (and we) are pitching. But it's not the be all and end all of a pitch. Winning a new piece of business can have a transformational affect on your environment, the mix of skill set, your geography or ability to pitch for additional clients. Highlighting the wider affect a new business win could have is often far more motivating than a few more beers at the company Christmas do.


Nick Tate is Co-Chair, IPA New Business and Marketing Group

Last updated 21 January 2022