How Do You Evaluate a Q&A Session As Part of a Pitch?

Hello and welcome back to another agency search quick tip from AAR Partners.  AAR Partners is an agency search consultancy managing agency reviews for marketers since 1980.

This week we had a question from a marketer at a C-Store company: “We’re including a Q&A session for semi-finalists before narrowing to finalists. I would appreciate your opinion on how to properly evaluate the agency Q&A sessions?”  Over the years, I’ve been asked this question by many clients… after spending hours on Q&A calls, what is the best method for evaluating these discussions? Let’s start right there – it is a discussion and not a rapid fire of question after question for your brand team to answer in robotic form. Evaluating these Q&A sessions falls into two buckets:
  1. depth of questions
  2. depth of discussion
Depth of Questions:
  • Were the questions insightful?
  • Do the questions show a sense of perspective?
  • Do they start to show some sense of business, brand and consumer understanding?
  • Do the questions challenge you?
  • Do they even make you feel a little uncomfortable?
But the questions on paper are just one part of the evaluation. How well did the agency team bring those questions to life as a team discussion?
  • Was the discussion lively and energetic?
  • Was there some structure and rigor without being rigid?
  • Did they just read one pre-written question after another or did some questions lead to other questions based on the real-time discussion?
  • Did the team show strong thinking on the spot?
  • Was it a give and take conversation or did it feel like a one-sided discussion?
Of course, your brand team should also feel a sense of engagement and natural flow during the Q&A session. Or did it feel flat and forced? The agency’s team internal camaraderie is just as important as your cultural alignment with the agency. And finally, was the brand team able to define the other party as a team and an agency after your Q&A session? There you have it.  If you have a burning question about your agency search, AskAAR by posting your question on Twitter or LinkedIn but be sure to hashtag it with #AskAAR.  And I’m right here ready to answer your questions. Good luck with your agency search and if you need any guidance, think of AAR Partners!  We’ve been managing agency review since 1980 and if we can help you too, we’d be delighted.