Why are incumbent comms and marketing professionals so reluctant to be sold to? As someone who has sat on both sides of the board table, and who has been pitched to as often as I have pitched out, I can see things from both sides.
Insiders are often stressed and under pressure. They work in environments subject to constant change, and in cultures where they are always being asked to do more for less. Under those stressful and uncertain conditions, it's easy to stick rather than twist, and to return to the tried and tested, the safe pair of hands, and the familiar faces.
The only problem is, this means professionals can inadvertently create the conditions for stagnancy and diminished returns. By staying with one agency, you remove the conditions that produce the best work- the competitive element that means agencies are striving to produce the best work for the best price while maintaining great relations with clients and understanding the business they are serving to the fullest extent.
I’ve often heard closed lists referred to by insiders and procurement department’s as ‘less work for them’. And, yes, that is absolutely true. A closed list means you can dispatch calls more quickly, close down conversations, and avoid meetings you feel you don’t have time for.
A lot of these calls and meetings are bad dates. You have a kiss a few frogs. But, every now and then you meet a collaborator who is a game changer for you, you hear a new idea that could revolutionise how you are working with your business, or you start a relationship with a supplier that is altogether more satisfying and challenging than the one you had before.
So, take the risk. Put yourself out there. Take the sales call, and make time for the meeting. If nothing else, it means your current supplier will act less complacently and will stop taking you for granted.