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The Mad Clientist

The 3 Rules of the 80 Percenters

By January 29, 2014April 16th, 2020No Comments

The typical firm wins just 1 out of 3 RFPs or pitches they participate in; a less than inspiring 31%.

When it comes to RFP and pitch win rates, the playing field is divided. On the low end of the scale is a group of firms with win rates hovering around 12%; on the other end is a select group of firms boasting win rates of 80%. 

What do the 80 percenters know—and do—that the 12 percenters overlook?

Pitching and the RFP process are an inevitable part of business development, but the key lies in approach.

The 12 percenters are proud of the number of proposals they issue and their quick, efficient responses. These firms rarely meet an RFP they don’t like and chalk up success rates to ‘you win some; you lose some.’

The 80 percenters avoid RFPs like the plague. Instead of spending valuable time and resources on a numbers game, these firms strategically develop their leads with clients.

Their approach to pitches and RFPs is calculated and direct.

The 3 Rules of the 80 Percenters:

  1. Help your clients write the RFP
    Existing clients are the best source of new work and the 80 percenters use this to their advantage. Through in-depth discussions and annual meetings with clients, these firms help clients identify their most-pressing needs. This approach virtually ensures the 80 percenters end up on the short list for consideration—and gives the firms a leg up in knowing exactly what their client is looking to achieve.
  2. Let the rainmakers shine 
    No matter who brings in a lead, the 80 percenters rely on their top rainmakers to lead the pitch team. Business development is a learned skill and one not everyone masters. With large dollars up for grabs, the 80 percenters put egos aside and don’t risk the opportunity at hand.
  3. Don’t pitch during the pitch
    Put the flashy PowerPoint presentation away. Clients have done their homework on you, so there’s no need to regale them with your breadth of offerings or the number of offices you have. If it’s not about how they’re going to solve the client’s specific issue at hand, then the 80 percenters leave it out of the pitch. They come armed with tailored strategies and recommendations.


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