B2B Principles of Partnership (PoP)
Great client/agency relationships are more than just transactional. They are true partnerships where each supports the other to achieve its goals.
For clients, the longer an agency knows your business, market and customers, the better it can make sure its output drives your marketing ambitions.
And for agencies, building long-term relationships with clients leads to better understanding, better work and better efficiencies.
So it’s in everyone’s interest to have a shared understanding of what the foundation of great client/agency relationships are built on.
That’s what these B2B Principles of Partnership are for.
It’s a framework for both parties, where each one knows the commitment the other is making to building a team pulling in the same direction.
It is a clear statement — that any client or agency adopting these principles is inherently committed to a shared, team approach to marketing. That it will work as a true partner, with the other not merely a resource to flog or a cash cow to milk.
We want these principles to become an industry-wide code; a badge of integrity, honesty and transparency, that helps clients and agencies pick partners that share their relationship values.
We want it to become a shorthand for ethical, open and caring conduct around the key issues facing agencies and clients alike.
And for those companies that sign up to it, we want them to shout loudly about it, accelerating take-up across the whole of B2B marketing.
We’ve divided the principles into four key areas that can often become sources of friction for relationships — pitching, onboarding, communication and behaviour. In each area, you’ll find the commitment that each party is signing up to make to the other.
Let agencies clearly know why a pitch is being held, and give a written brief including background of the business, challenges, expected deliverables, outcomes and KPIs.
Be transparent about the number of agencies taking part in the pitch and say if the incumbent is included.
Identify all stakeholders as well as the ultimate decision maker(s) in the pitch process.
Provide an internally-approved-budget for the brief’s scope of work. If there is no approved budget, we will provide an estimate of the budget prior to any pitch work (and make clear that it’s not fully approved). If the pitch is for a position on a roster without a live brief, we will give an indication of spend over a set period.
Provide a clearly outlined pitch process with timings for each stage. Where relevant include pre-pitch chemistry meetings and insight gathering, tissue sessions, final presentations and decision-making and feedback deadlines.
Whenever possible, we’ll share the decision-making-criteria prior to the pitch, and give face-to-face/phone feedback to all agencies who took part once a decision has been made.
Provide names, titles and experience of the team who would run the account or project in the event of a win and have at least two of these at the pitch presentation (or if not explain why upfront). Clearly identify the lead contact and their role.
Provide concepts and ideas that fit within the budget provided. If pitching additional ideas beyond the scope of the budget, make clear the indicative level of costs involved.
Give an overview of capabilities, sector specialisms and agency resource structure (in-house vs outsourced).
Provide a list of current clients and disclose any non-competes/conflicts with the client prior to agreeing to take part in the pitch process.
Retain all IP and copyright for any strategic or creative concepts presented as part of the pitch process.
Provide details of agency process and SLA’s as part of the pitch response.
Provide agency financials for review where relevant and within the boundaries of client confidentiality.
Communicating team structure, roles and responsibilities. Where in-house creative resource/teams exist we will provide what is in and out of scope of work.
As an Agency, , we commit to a team onboarding session with a new client that will include:
Our commitment to each other
We value the importance of partnership and treat each other with respect, honesty and professionalism. We will respect each other’s boundaries and support each other to deliver great work.
Now let’s build relationships that PoP
The Code of Conduct is an industry-wide collaboration (both agency and clients) and free resource. Please share as you need, to build better working relationships.