The objective of your marketing activity should be to get that all important initial face to face meeting. This could be a presentation, a beauty parade, a pitch or even a chat over a coffee. Either way, always think long and hard about your personnel and who is the best person or people to go. You are quite possibly fulfilling the role of a casting director with the aim of your chosen people bonding with their audience as quickly as possible. People buy people and it’s your job to cast the appropriate staff member(s) that will get on with the potential client.
In most organisations there are the natural performers; the people who can give that upfront magic performance that could tip the balance in your favour and make the right impression. These people are the people who play a vital role in the branding of your organisation. Some of your team may not be as strong as others when it comes to bonding and these people are equally as valuable behind the scenes in different ways.
The individual(s) you select must be enthusiastic, representative and above all, confident. If you select a team, it is also vital that the team gels with each other. Never pick a couple who have had a personal relationship in the past and who have recently broken up as I did once when working for my agency in London!
I would never advocate outnumbering the prospect except if he/she is alone where you could go as two people as a safety measure in case the chemistry isn’t great with just you. Two people also allows two evaluations afterwards, but it has the right two people. At BMC I sometimes go with my creative director to who gives a different angle on things.
All in all it’s about making sure that all the blood, sweat and tears you put in to get the first meeting doesn’t go to waste. On most occasions, you won’t be the only organisation the prospect is talking to so you have to do your research and arrive with the right people and preferably something of value. For example, I always do some R&D about the prospect so I know as much as I can about their website, their people, their sector and some of their competitors. Yes, I suppose this R&D could be deemed as free spec work (something BMC doesn’t do), but this isn’t creative or design. This is getting to know the person and organisation you are meeting. The prospect has done their research and then made contact with you so should you.